Stretching Bikram Pose

I decided to take my first Bikram Yoga class over five years ago because a friend of mine had told me what a crazy good workout it was and that I’d probably lose a lot of weight, fast, Naturally, I was curious and wanted to check out a class for myself. I had no idea what to expect other than I would probably sweat a lot. I walked into the studio for my first class wearing head to toe cotton – shorts, tank top and a sports bra underneath. Even though the heat was blistering, it would still take me a good two weeks before I’d get the courage to lose the tank top and just rock the sports bra and shorts in class. Class got quite a bit cooler after I made the wardrobe adjustment.

By the end of my first month of taking classes, I was hooked. It didn’t seem to matter how crappy my day had been before I walked into the studio. I always left the studio after class happier and with noticeable pep in my step. On my way home from class, I’d already be thinking about going to my next class.

Even though I practiced at a popular studio in San Francisco during the peak, after work class times, it never really fazed me on how crowded the classes were. Having someone’s feet in my face during class was inevitable, especially because I refused to move from my favorite spot in the corner, in the back row. The crowding or wet carpet beneath me never bothered me though because somehow I managed to get into a blissful, yoga state of mind shortly after the first round of the breathing exercise.

In college, I took a basic yoga class for one semester to fulfill my PE requirement. I even purchased a Yoga For Dummies DVD featuring a 20-minute Sun Salutation series I’d do on my own from time to time, in the comfort of my own home. The yoga bug didn’t bite me until I started taking Bikram in February of 2010. I haven’t been able to practice consistently over the last five years due to chaotic work/school schedules, limited financial resources and the unavailability of having a studio nearby to practice at, but whenever I do have the chance to practice Bikram consistently, life seems to be so much better. I feel a whole lot happier and healthier.

So what is it about Bikram Yoga that keeps me wanting to come back every day? Being a stress reliever is one reason. I find the more often I go to class, the less stress I have in my life and the stress I do have in my life becomes way more manageable. Another reason that keeps me wanting to come back to class each day is how quickly I can see my body change from the first day I walked into the studio. With a regular practice, I sleep better, my flexibility improves, I sit straighter at my desk during the day, my muscle tones up nicely all over my body and yes, I’ve managed to lose some lbs as well.

All of these physical changes certainly help me feel more confident in my own body, but the real changes take place inside my body. There’s something about a regular practice that helps me align my mind with my heart and gut. By coming to class everyday and gifting myself a full 90 minutes of interrupted “me time”, I’ve learned how to listen to my intuition. If I start class with something on my mind, I always seem to have a solid answer or plan in place by the end of class. Bikram Yoga has made me smarter because it allows me to make really good decisions about anything in my life. People pay good money and spend years in therapy for that sort of thing. Why not save the time and money and just go to Bikram?

When it comes to Bikram Yoga, or any type of yoga for that matter, always remember it’s the practice room, not the perfect room. Your body is going to be different every day in every class. Some days will be really challenging and other days might be a breeze. One thing you can always count on is leaving with a different body than the one you walked into the studio with.

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