As my post from a year ago says I started Bikram's yoga not knowing what to expect. I didn't know I was going to fall in love with that hot room and the series of 26 poses, but I did. I am so happy that I started the yoga. I don't technically do "Bikram's" anymore. The studio that did the real version was smelly and the carpet gave me a rash on my hands. Carpet in a hot exercise room is disgusting. Almost as bad as carpet in bathrooms (seriously people?)
So when my groupon had expired and after surgery was healed and I was released to exercise I did some research and found only one other Hot Yoga place in Beaverton. Bonus- they have hardwood flooring and a 10 classes for 10$ deal. You cannot beat that! So I went. They do a shorter version of Bikrams that isn't as intense and isn't so drill sergeant like. Also you don't have to do all poses twice. I know that Bikram says to do them all twice first to learn the pose then second to really get the benefit, but some of them are just too much for me to have to do twice. The best part about this place was that not each teacher does the series the same so there is always a variety. You get to do all 26 poses, and you get the benefits as far as I can tell.
What I have noticed in myself with this year of consistent hot yoga isn't what one would expect. I would have hoped to drop the pounds, afterall I am sweating like a pig for 75 minutes, why wouldn't I? I haven't weighed myself but I am pretty sure I haven't lost any weight yet. I have however gained strength.
I am talking physical and mental, which is part of being a "yogi'. I can feel the reflective part of me growing. I have stopped caring about things out of my control. I know that all I truly can control is my own actions and how I respond to the world around me. If I create a scene because something doesn't make sense I am only harming myself. If I take that deep breath, think things through and look at a situation with fresh perspective I will most likely make better decissions. This is what I have learned. I have learned that most all problems can be fixed and that I can handle anything. Because if I can stand and exercise in 105 degrees and not die - anything is possible, right?
There are subtle physical signs that the yoga is working. I feel stronger in the core. I know I can hold myself up in other forms of yoga now, when I couldn't before. My arms seem to be more muscular now as well. One of the best things is receiving compliments from instructors stating that I have a strong practice. I am constantly changing and growing and the hot yoga has helped me tremendously.
I bought a 6 month unlimited package and took full advantage. When that package ran out I figured I would be done with it and move on to something else. However one week passed and my low back pain was excruciating. I could hardly walk and no stretches I could think of would alleviate the pain I was feeling. I also began having symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Which makes sense, I do sit at a desk all day typing away! So I went back to yoga Monday night. I left the hot room walking on sunshine. It was like my low back wasn't there anymore. I could walk!
You never notice how certain poses help different parts of the body. There are the obvious ones like chiar pose, works your glutes but we also work our arms in that one and so much more. So in standing bow pose you think its about the kick, but its about the back bend, the kick, the twist those two create and the pull on the arm holding that leg up. I could feel the wrist and fingers tingling as I held my leg back. I knew that what I was doing in that moment was more than just exercise it was creating a better body to live in. Its not just about the muscles you can build its about the stretch and the mental capacity it creates to feel that problem area disapate with one simple pose.
I don't know if I will ever be able to stop attending this pseudo Bikram Yoga class. I am hooked for life. I will always know that I can go and get my aches out by doing hot yoga. If I ever stop and start hurting I will have the ability to say to myself that I need to get back into that hot room to solve my problems.