You've probably read my posts last week about Bikram Yoga. If not, you can check them out here, here and here. Or, to quickly bring you up to speed, last Sunday my friend Gracela and I got one week new student memberships to Bikram Yoga NYC to try Bikram Yoga for a change of pace. In the end, I went 5 times.
Here's a quick recap of each class:
Class 1: Was a bit worried when I saw students in the class prior to ours wringing out their shirts and sweat dripping from them like a faucet! It was extremely hot and I had to rest during a few poses. A bit light headed but I stretched myself (figuratively and literally) and felt refreshed afterwards. It was a tough class, tough teacher. Even regular students said that.
Class 2: 100% humidity outside and an early class time (6:15am) meant I had a miserable class. I was struggling by the end of the warm-up section and couldn't catch my breath about 75 minutes in and had to leave the room. The biggest challenge for new students is often just staying in the room. This time I couldn't do it. I felt a bit deflated afterwards but learned some great lessons.
Class 3: Breakthrough! A later class time, making sure I was hydrated enough, concentrating only on what I was doing at that moment, and 'embracing the sweat' made for a much better class! I had to rest during 1.5 poses, but that's okay. I left feeling refreshed and strong.
Class 4: I woke up feeling a bit of soreness in almost all of my muscles. The heat really allows you to stretch your muscles farther than normal, and I could tell it was really starting to work! I had the same teacher as class 2 and was a bit nervous. I tried adding an electrolyte powder to my water and followed the same pre-class routine as the day prior. I felt stronger and held my poses longer. I hardly had to rest and I felt the 90 minutes went by faster than before. The teacher mentioned I was looking much better and gave me a few tips on specific poses that really helped. Again, left feeling great!
Class 5: Met up with Gracela again for class Saturday morning. My muscles were tight again going in. My legs, arms and back in particular. I used another electrolyte packet in my water. The class was full with several new students. I didn't think the room was particularly hotter than the other days, but I definitely sweated more than any other class. It's kind of gross, but it's good for the body, so again, I kept repeating to myself as I'd wipe of the sweat to get a good grip for a pose "embrace the sweat!" I held two balance poses for the entire time, which was awesome because I've had balance issues on my right foot since my injury and people all around me were falling out of it! And my last class finished on a great note. I felt strong, refreshed, and ready for a great day!
Overall, I am so thankful Gracela suggested we do this! My muscles today are incredibly tight and I had a pretty uninspiring workout this morning (two days post my last Bikram class) but that just means that the workout really worked! I worked muscles in ways that I haven't worked them before, or at least not for a long time, I stretched them farther and pushed myself farther than I thought I could. The sweat sessions were great to workout all the toxins that find a home in my body and, as the instructors explained, the poses are based on scientific research to bring health and ease to those who practice it, so I feel I did my body some good last week. I'd love to take more classes but they are pretty expensive. If I didn't have a gym membership, I'd probably consider this as part of my ongoing fitness routine.
I strongly encourage everyone (yes, you guys can do it too) to try it. But, don't quit after the first class. Give it a few tries!
Quick fitness note for NYCers: The Shape Up NYC program starts again May 17th! To help combat obesity in NYC, the city, in a new partnership with Equinox Fitness Clubs, is expanding the program this year by focusing on low income areas, providing FREE fitness classes in city parks, community centers, and other locations (I took a yoga class along the Hudson River last year!). In all, there will be 222 class in 42 locations (all 5 boroughs) reaching over 7,000 people each week! Classes begin May 17th, and you can search for ones near you HERE. There are classes for everyone and every interest! I think this is a great idea and can't wait to check out a few! Also, if you're interested in volunteering as an instructor, they are still looking for more.
What are your health and/or fitness goals for the week?
Workout Stats -
3x10 ea: overhead tricep extension, tricep kickbacks, bent side arm raise, tricep dips
5min arm bike
foam roller and stretching