Can Yoga help you feel more body confident?
So for about 10 years I have always been a Pilates lover on and off. I did Pilates all the way through my pregnancy and absolutely loved it. If I am being totally honest, I always thought that yoga wasn’t as hard work and was really just about doing some stretches and controlling your breathing. So when my mum invited me a few years ago to try Bikram (Hot Room) Yoga, I was a little sceptical because of my love of Pilates. For those that don’t know, Hot room yoga consists of practicing in a room that is around 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Bikram Yoga seems to be the most popular type of Hot room yoga, it lasts 90 mins and compromises of 26 postures.
I guess since having Oliver last April, I have changed quite a lot. I seem to be more open minded to try new things, especially if they are related to building stamina, toning up and meeting new people. I’ve been on my post baby shred and tone up mission since last October and starting something to work alongside that was just what I was looking for. So at the beginning of this month I decided to give Bikram a go with my friend Tracie and I have to say I was petrified. I mean a few years ago I was super fit and slim, and yes now I am back to my pre baby weight but my fitness levels are a work in progress.
We went along on a Saturday morning and I swear I was actually sweating before the class had started due to my nerves. My mind was telling me I wasn’t going to be fit enough but also because I suffer with low blood pressure I was worried I was going to faint. Once I entered the room, I was pleasantly surprised, the heat was lovely, just like being on holiday. As you walk in, everyone is laying down on their backs with their palms up to the floor, meditating or just taking some time out and this started to calm me down. This was right up my street, I mean I get some Headspace every morning. I could do this for 90 mins!
Then the class started, as you go from laying on the floor to standing, the heat hits you and I started to question if I was going to be able to do it. We started the warm up which I found incredibly hard, but through the 90 mins I had both energy highs and lows, some postures I could do and enjoyed whilst others were extremely challenging. I was dripping with sweat, I mean probably the most I have ever sweated, but that is fine because everyone else is. The smell of the room is not pleasant, imagine 20+ peoples sweat all in one humid hot room, but somehow this seemed part of the challenge. As I looked around the room, what struck me was there were all different ages, shapes, sizes and abilities around you. There are more men in the class than any other yoga or pilates class I have done, which is refreshing to see. All the staff at my local studio (Bikram Yoga Norwich) were really supportive and provide you with adjustments and modifications if you are finding the postures too challenging, and if for any reason you feel light headed or need to take a breather, you just sit on the floor and concentrate on staying in the room.
To start with I found it hard that you can’t have your phone in the room, especially when I am on my phone constantly for work but more importantly that I can’t be contacted by whoever is looking after Oliver. However, once you start the class you forget about all this, it is really liberating to have just 90 mins to yourself, where no one needs you other than you.
What I didn’t realise until experiencing Bikram is that it is not just about enhancing your flexibility, endurance and stamina but also your emotional and mental strength. You have to concentrate in order to practice in the hot room as well as stay focused to not fall out of postures whilst learning to be kind to yourself and know it is ok if you do fall. These skills are totally transferable for anyone running a business and even beneficial to any parent, which let’s face it is one of the toughest jobs there can be.
After the class I felt pretty disgusting, I was sticky, sweaty and salty. Thankfully there are showers at the studio and a shower never felt so good. I thought I would be exhausted after the class, but I felt stronger physically and mentally, this buzz of energy becomes really addictive. I have been going to Bikram just twice a week alongside following the F15programme which compromises of a nutrition, supplementation and home exercise plan.
If you are reading this local to me in Norwich, Norfolk; I can highly recommend Bikram Yoga Norwich. The staff are all friendly, helpful, supportive and reassuring. They have free parking if you arrive early enough, and all the facilities you need on site, all they need for me is a Creche so I can go more often. If you are not local to me, see if you have a Bikram Yoga Studio close to you.
So what are the drawbacks? Firstly, it is a time investment; I need 45 mins each way to get to the class and 2 hours including shower time for the class, so I have to dedicate half a day to it. Childcare is something to consider, although there are classes 7 days a week running mostly at 10am and 6pm with a few later day time and evening ones across the week. It is also a financial investment, your first session at Bikram Yoga Norwich is free which gives you a chance to try before you buy, and then you are given the opportunity to pay £25 for unlimited sessions over two weeks as a trial period. After that you can pay up front for block lessons which works out about £9 per 90 minute session.
In my opinion both the time and financial investment are worth it for me. I literally feel incredible after each session and Bikram over delivers on value compared to going to the gym or any other fitness class. I would love to go more but I have to be realistic with my time with being a mum and running my business. I’d personally much rather invest into my mind and body, than spending money going out for dinner, drinks or even lunches and coffees. I am so pleased that I was finally opened minded to try Bikram, I have found my new hobby and made new friends along the way. So if you are like me wanting to achieve your goals in time for summer, to feel confident to get into that bikini, then in my opinion hot room yoga will help you to achieve your goals and with the chance to try it for free you really have nothing to lose and everything to gain.