Hot Yoga - Bikrams Twenty Six

Even though the world population has shifted from mainly rural to mainly urban in the last decade, there are still lots of folks like me who live in the sticks. Doing things like taking a yoga class becomes a different thing in our case from driving to the neighborhood gym. Since I live 40 miles from the nearest town large enough for yoga studios, when I decided to take a class, I was more interested in the schedule than I was the type of yoga. I couldn't afford to be picky if I preferred not to wait around for a couple hours after getting off work. So I looked in the phone book, and didn't pay attention to anything but the schedule. There it was: M-W-F at 4:00. Perfect. I don't know what rock I'd been living under, but the word "Bikram" writ large across the ad in the yellow pages didn't trigger the term 'hot yoga' in my mind, and that left me in for a big surprise.

I showed up with a comfy pair of sweatpants and a long- sleeved t-shirt. As the woman at the desk was giving me a little orientation information - explaining that the room was heated to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit - I realized that my concept of yoga clothes weren't going to work here. Apparently, I wasn't the first to make this error. Susie told me they had loaners. Now, it's been a while since the last time I wore hot-pants, so when she handed me the little scrap of shorts, I thought, "No way." She said, "Trust me, you'll fit right in."

Susie continued, giving a few more orientation tips, which started to seem like a set of warnings. "Our first-time students are encouraged to rest whenever you feel you should - kind of take it gradually. The instructors just ask that you do your best to stay in the room for the entire time." What? Were we still talking yoga here? I'd seen pictures. Sure, I might not be able to balance on one leg while holding the other one over my head at my first try, but come on. How hard could it be to stretch as far as I could go and stop there? Why would I get desperate to leave the room?

Her next suggestion: "OK, I see you brought a bottle of water. That's good, but you'll be tempted to drink a lot, and I recommend you just drink sips - not too much at a time." Hmm. What was I getting into here? It sounded like I was facing some kind of ordeal - not what I had in mind at all since I was thinking of yoga as a peaceful, low- impact way just to stretch and keep my aging body flexible and strong.

Once I was dressed in the little bit of shorts, I opened the door to the yoga studio and was met with a rush of hot, stultifying air. Oh goody. I walked to an open space, spread my mat, lay on my back, and understood exactly what she meant by asking me to at least stay in the room. I was already dripping sweat, and we hadn't even begun the class.

Ninety minutes and twice through the 26 poses later, I was indeed still in the room. In the non-competitive, supportive atmosphere I had been completely guided to go to my edge, but not so far that I would be turned off by struggle. In fact, I was exhilarated. I lay on my back at the end, eyes closed in the peaceful, very hot room, and knew I'd be back for more.

Carina Snowden is a contributing author to Apex Yoga News the leading resource for yoga information. Visit Carina's archive of articles at http://www.apexyoga.com/

In The News:

The 11 don'ts of yoga  Times of India
The best Jade yoga mat  New York Daily News
Benefits Of Yoga: Mental Health  Ocean Drive Magazine
Do yoga and sleep tight  The New Indian Express

A World of Infinite Opportunities

Many people feel that there is a limited amount of... Read More

What is Self Mastery? ? Part 3

The next large component of self-mastery is mental health, and... Read More

Yoga and Weight Training ? Never the Twain Shall Meet?

Yoga has become part of Western fitness training techniques. However,... Read More

Yoga and Pregnancy

Every woman wants to have a healthy baby. Yogic practices,... Read More

Paths of Yoga I

With dozens of Hollywood celebrities following in their Guru's lotus... Read More

Stress - How To Manage Effectively

Stress is very common in all walks of life and... Read More

Pain and Sorrow

Patanjali in his Yogasutra describes that people are afflicted with... Read More

Yoga Mats ? Are They All Created Equal?

Yoga mats are a basic part of every practice. What... Read More

Yoga for Every BODY

We all want to feel loved, open, free and peaceful.... Read More

Confessions of a Yoga Teacher

The following are questions that Yoga teachers still need to... Read More

Yoga in the Office

Spending eight or more hours a day in an office... Read More

Ayurveda and Yoga, Ancient Sister Sciences

Ayurveda and yoga are sister sciences that have been united... Read More

This is Not Your Grandma?s Rocking Chair

Senior Yoga / Chair YogaIs it possible that grandparents are... Read More

Using Yoga to Manage ADD

Exercise is a powerful tool for ADD management. Medical professionals... Read More

Mind and Thoughts

Yoga is controlling of thoughts arising in the mind. When... Read More

What is Self Mastery? - Part 2

To continue with our overview of the physical component of... Read More

How to Find the Right Yoga Teacher?

I am often asked by beginners about how to evaluate... Read More

Maybe Bikram is Right?

For some reason, I had the time to sit down... Read More

Christian Yoga?

There is an interesting article in the September 5th issue... Read More

Discover How Yoga Will Help You Reach Your Goals ? Part 2

At this point, let's break down the major components of... Read More

Yoga for Fun and Profit

Stress levels around the world are on the rise. In... Read More

Yogic Way of Controlling of Thoughts

As described in my earlier article... thoughts in the mind... Read More

How to Use Yoga DVDs and Videos to Round Out Your Practice

I absolutely love using yoga DVDs and yoga videos during... Read More

Yoga and True Self

The great sage Patanjali in his work Yogasutra codified all... Read More

Nine Things You Should Know About Yoga for Children

Here are some guidelines and realistic expectations for parents, who... Read More