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Adventures in Yoga Classes

Saturday morning I woke up early and got myself to the Bikram Yoga class. I found the studio to be convenient, close enough to my place, and the staff cheerful and helpful. The workout? I can only describe it in one word: Brutal. (Not that this is a bad thing. It just is.)

Why brutal, may you ask?

Well, the routine in itself is strenous and challenging, which is fine and what I am looking for. You can also adapt it to your own level of expertise (none, in my case), which is fine too. What makes it really brutal is the fact that you are doing all of this in a 105 degree room with a high degree of humidity.

And you do all that for a span of 90 minutes.

In their website, they tell you that you should dress as if you were going to the beach, and to bring a large towel. And they were not kidding! Everyone was dressed in sports bras and shorts, and the guys wore no shirts. Boy, was I was happy that I had acquired some Underarmor Dry Fit shorts and sports bra the night before! The reason for all of this is that you are going to sweat. Really sweat. And this is true even for someone like me who, due to very low blood pressure, rarely does.

Good gravy! By minute 30 I was drenched. By minute 80 I was about to pass out (I was informed that this was not unusual for a first timer). By minute 90, I was crying uncle.

Did I like it? Well, as grueling as the workout is, you walk out of there feeling like a million bucks. This is probably because at that point you are only too happy to get out of the heat and the dark and walk into the sunlight.

You are also overwhelmed by the compelling desire to cover yourself in woad, moon everyone around, and start running around in your underwear yelling "Freedom!"

The other two plusses is that the heat and humidity will do wonders for your skin and that it is probably the best Pennsic training that you'll ever get. That is, except for the small problem that unless you do this 2-3 times per week, it will never get easier and you will make no progress. Or so I was told by the fine folks at the studio.

So here is the quandary, if my practicing yoga of any brand is for me only a means of incorporating an element of flexibility to my workout routine as opposed to becoming a yoga master (or mistress), is there any point in starting this from scratch every single week? I am not sure.

This is especially true since I slept most of the afternoon, and next day I was so tired that it wasn't even funny. (Plus I caught some kind of bug that made me feel queasy all day. It's got nothing to do with the yoga class, but it certainly didn't help.)

I think that Bickram Yoga is a fabulous fitness tool, but I am not sure that it is for me. For one thing, I don't have 90 minutes to spare during the week for this, so I am not sure how it would fit in my fitness plans. Instead, I will try other types of yoga classes that are available on weekends, and see which one works better for me.

I hear that the Gold's Gym in Ballston has some available on weekends, and those would be free with my membership, which is a plus.

Stay tuned for the next chapter of "As the Belfebe Turns."

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Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
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kellfire
Mar. 16th, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC)
@ noon?
belfebe
Mar. 16th, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC)
Probably earlier if they have one.
kellfire
Mar. 16th, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
That's the only yoga, they do have a 9:45 pilates class, or Clarendon has an 8am Yoga class
belfebe
Mar. 16th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC)
Oky doky. Let's do the Noon one at Ballston then. I noticed that it is based on Vinyasa, and that it is 90 minutes too. :-D
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chargirlgenius
Mar. 16th, 2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
I'd stick with another type of yoga. From what I've read, the additional flexibility gained with Bikram yoga doesn't necessarily translate into increased flexibility the rest of the time. In other words, regular yoga will do just as much for your general flexibility. It's also much easier to do a bit at home in 15 minutes some evening, if you want to just practice a bit the rest of the week.

Edited at 2009-03-16 06:16 pm (UTC)
belfebe
Mar. 16th, 2009 07:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I think that's what I am going to do. This one will not do it for me. :-p
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belfebe
Mar. 16th, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC)
I drank a 20 oz bottle of water during the class, and another immediately after. I kept drinking water all day, but I was so fatigued it wasn't funny. I probably didn't have it worse because I drink a lot of water, but I don't think that this is for me.
jaine_parr
Mar. 16th, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
Gatoraid. It's not just for waterbearers. Or, try mixing in a small serving of juice with your large bottle of water. Tomato juice, orange juice, a squeeze of lemon. They will all help to get your minerals replenished with your fluids.
belfebe
Mar. 16th, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)
That is a good idea. Didn't think of that.
hazebrouck
Mar. 16th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC)
I don't do gatorade because high fructose corn syrup does not strike me as a healthy thing to do. I use those packets of 'EmergenC' for heat/electrolyte replacement. I have one a day at pennsic.
sskipstress
Mar. 16th, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC)
Heat and humidity do help warm up the muscles, but you can accomplish the same thing with a hot shower or a quick light work out before a regular class and skip the Bikram.

As for increasing flexibility, the more often you stretch gently, the faster you'll increase your range of motion (my latest physical therapist recommended 5 times a day for my exercises not that I have that kind of time, but I can feel a difference from doing the exercises more often). But that doesn't mean you have to take a class 3 times a week to practice 3 times a week. Use the class to learn the poses and the breathing, then practice some of it on your own between classes. I find classes much more relaxing than home practice (the instructor keeps track of time for me and I can lose myself in the yoga) but for flexibility, practicing at home works, too.
belfebe
Mar. 16th, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
That's the general idea. Courtney has given me some flexibility exercises to do every day. And the yoga class was supposed to be a once a week reinforcement.
laughing_fox
Mar. 16th, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC)
I'd recommend Pilates - incorporates yoga and flexibility training, without the dehydration. And it works out all the kinks & tension in your muscles from other types of workouts.
belfebe
Mar. 16th, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
I may try that at one point too.
lisette_1528
Mar. 16th, 2009 11:52 pm (UTC)
At some point in the not-so-distant-past (when I was in better shape - really trying to get back to that), I really enjoyed the pilates much more than the yoga. YMMV, but the yoga just didn't seem to stretch and relax and tone like the pilates did. I know that they have different core purposes; I just enjoyed the challenge of pilates more. :)
belfebe
Mar. 17th, 2009 02:46 pm (UTC)
Pilates is a lot of fun too. I may be trying that back later.
anotheranon
Mar. 17th, 2009 12:34 am (UTC)
I have heard of this, under the name "hot yoga". It actually sounds like one of those things I'd like to do but don't have time for. 3 days a week? I already FENCE 3 days a week - gotta do laundry sometime!
belfebe
Mar. 17th, 2009 02:46 pm (UTC)
For real.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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