The Bikram Yoga Experiment

Today I tried bikram yoga for the first time. Bikram Yoga Squirrel Hill just opened a new studio and they paired up with lululemon to host a community class. I don’t do yoga. I’m not flexible. I have a bad back. I certainly do not feel as though my body is in any condition where I should subject others to viewing my pathetic attempts at touching my toes while panting and dripping in sweat in an ill-fitting sports bra and shorts. It’s really just not fair. I was not entirely optimistic about this endeavor, but you should do the things you fear and try something new and all that other touchy feely stuff I tell people all the time and believe on good days.

I get there early and am greeted by a warm and friendly Rebecca, who is the co-owner and instructor. She kindly and gently tells me and another newbie to do what is comfortable for us, even if that means stopping to sit, breath and stay in the room. I like things where my success is measured by my ability to simply sit in a room. I am suddenly very cautiously optimistic. I move into the studio which has been open for a week and is beautiful.

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Reception Area

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Studio

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Lounge Area

We settle in and I chat with new friends and old friend before class starts. Rebecca begins the class and I am automatically impressed by the quality of her teaching- commanding but supportive. She offers detailed explanations in a simple way and offers many modifications for people of varying levels. In a class of at least 20 people she has taken the time to learn everyone’s name and as we go through the hour and a half class she offers direct encouragement, alternatives and suggestions. I feel supported, flexible, strong and capable. I feel okay when I lose my balance (assuming I had balance to start with) as she gently reassures us that we can always re-enter a pose. I oddly don’t feel uncomfortably hot and I am sad when, at the end of the class, I run into a friend of The Boy’s who states: “I’m not sure their system is working. It was only 90 degrees and it’s supposed to be closer to 110.” I actually think it’s “only” supposed to be 105, but either way, it’s a pretty significant difference.

I left the class feeling phenomenal- energized and strong but ravenously hungry. I told The Boy that I would eat a small child given the opportunity. I think that as a prospecive child psychologist maybe I shouldn’t publicly admit this. However, I will publically admit that I am a bikram convert. I loved Rebecca’s class. I’ve tried other forms of yoga and while they’re ok, I’ve never felt they were for me. Bikram yoga, in contrast, is something that I plan to try again and am really looking forward to practicing. If you’re in the Pittsburgh area and you’d like to give bikram a try, Bikram Pittsburgh is having a grand opening sale until June 1st on class packages- check them out! (In a worst-case scenario, they are located above a Cold Stone and next to a Belgian waffle shop. You can’t lose!)

Have you tried Bikram yoga?

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