I took the plunge on trying a hot yoga class, aka non-franchised Bikram. I was never a huge fan of heat, which is kind of strange if you consider I was born on a subtropical island and grew up in Texas. You’d think I would be used to it. I do have to say that I think my years of ashtanga have made my body handle heat better, but I am still a super sweaty mess.
This was different though. A balmy 105 is way more intense than a warm 80 degrees.
My fears and anxiety before the class included:
- I’d feel nauseous and pass out
- I’d slip and fall in my own puddle of sweat
- I’d overheat and go running out of the room searching for the closest air conditioner
- I’d spend the whole class in savasana to stay below the rising heat
Thankfully, none of my fears came true. I went to a new-to-me studio called Bfree Yoga that offers hot (Bikram and flow classes), yin, ashtanga and even guided meditation. The heat was … well, it was a man’s armpit after doing a lot of yard work. I’m not gonna lie. I could feel the humid hot air even when I was signing in at the front desk. But once I got in the room with my yoga clothes on and not my hoodie jacket, it was manageable.
A lot of students were already in savasana while waiting for class to start. As soon as we got into the first few poses, the sweat started flowing. First, it was little beads dripping from my forehead. Then, I noticed my arms glistening. I suppose these were all signs that my body’s a/c was working. When we finished the standing postures and lied down for our first savasana, I got to see just how much I had been sweating. My mat had lovely smears that mirrored my racerback tank and limbs.
Despite my Ebb and Flow pants’ having see-through potential, I wore them to class anyway (and set up my mat away from the mirrors toward the back). They kept my legs amazingly cool! Thanks go to my friend Monica for that fashion tip.
It was a little weird for me to do savasana multiple times throughout the practice. I’m only used to doing it at the end, so it was like I needed to “wake up” again and again to do more poses. The postures themselves weren’t too different from ones I’d done elsewhere. And it focused a lot more on heat-building breath, which I didn’t quite understand since we were already in a sauna-like room.
The final savasana was nice. Our teacher placed ice cold wet towels over our eyes, which was SOOO soothing after sweating our butts off. I do understand the “high” people talk about when they get done with Bikram. I felt like I sweated out a lot of toxins, like the two cookies I ate earlier in the day. And it was such a relief to step out of the room and feel a cool breeze on my skin. I couldn’t have been more thankful for the cold front that pushed through Austin!
All in all, hot yoga wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be. One thing I would’ve done differently was not chug water at the end of my work day in an attempt to make sure I was well hydrated. When I went to empty my bladder before class, I must’ve “broken the seal” and then throughout class, I needed to go pee again. But at a minimum, I was determined to stay in the room and handle the heat for the full 75 minutes, even if that meant squeezing mula bandha extra tight to make sure I didn’t piss myself.
I don’t think I’ve converted to Bikram though. I enjoy doing vinyasas and connecting postures from one to another. For sure, I couldn’t do this kind of yoga in the summer time! But I’m glad for the experience, and I’m even happier to have another studio that I can play around at. I signed up for their introductory $20 for 10 days of unlimited yoga deal, so I could try a few more classes in the coming days.
Here are some pics of my visit to Bfree. And yay! I can check this off my yoga bucket list.