Sunday, 6 April 2014
Back to Bikram Yoga: 7 Tips For Beginners
Stop the press. I went to Bikram today - for the first time in 12 years.
I might as well have never been, or even tell you that I've been before - because 12 years is a long time ago, and the only reason I am telling you, if we're going to be completely frank, is to make you think that once upon a time I may have been a bit flexible.
Way back then I was completely hooked on Bikram. But let's fast forward to this morning. Oh man. I've never loved savasana SO MUCH!
I've put together seven tips for beginners, to make it less intimidating. And to brainwash you into coming with me.
1. Wear as little clothing as possible. And make it form fitting - and if possible sweat-wicking. Most people wear hot pants, crop tops. I wore cropped tights, and slim-fitting tank top. Do not wear baggy clothes because I am telling you now, those wet clothes don't feel good swinging on your body and will distract you. And don't wear cotton. Take it from me. Baggy, cottony clothes - not your friend at Bikram.
2. Don't be afraid to sit down - or go into savasana (hellooooo savasana). No one else is focussing on your practice. You do your thing, they do theirs. And you do it at your own pace. Take a break if you feel dizzy, or if you just feel like - holy mackerel, I need to escape this hotbed of a room, and if like me, you have the flexibility of TinMan from the Wizard of Oz.
3. Speaking of which - don't leave the room. The first session is about staying in that ridiculously hot room - and reaping the health benefits. Stay there. Lie down. Kneel. Whatever you need to do. But stay in there. I had fantasies of running out and standing under the water filter - and then driving off into the sunset. But I lay down and looked right at this picture instead.
4. Take a big water bottle. And a big towel. And a little towel. You are going to need them. The water - you need for sipping on during the class. The big towel - it's going to go over your yoga mat and stop you from infesting it further with sweat, and things will be a lot less slippery. The little towel - I like to have it to wipe my hands. And my brow. And from my eyes when the sweat stings them. Am I selling this to you?
5. Don't go in thinking the room smells of roses and unicorn farts. There's one thing that doesn't smell good - communal sweat.
6. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water the day before - not just an hour before. Drink plenty of water afterwards. And whatever you do, don't go hungover. You'll be in a world of pain already. And hungover? Whoa. Not a good combo.
7. Try to stay up the back. In your first class you don't know whether you're Arthur or Martha. Try and stay up the back. Not only will it allow the hard-core yogis to get on with their practice, but I watch what they do to fine-tune my own.
Maybe I will see you there? If I do, don't talk. No one talks in the studio. Except the teacher.