They are ushered into a small room, allocated a restricted area to stand in and told to strip off to their underwear. The temperature in the room is 40 degrees, there are no open windows and it quickly becomes humid and malodorous. Then they are told to contort their bodies into painful shapes until they are left a shaky, sweating mass.
Some call it torture. I call it relaxing and meditative. Welcome to the (highly addictive) world of Bikram Yoga.
Bikram is a series of 26 postures, designed to elongate your muscles and repair your body from the inside out. It was invented by this complete dude called Bikram Choudhury, who likes to pose in photographs atop a taxidermist’s tiger.
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The first time you do Bikram, the instructor will no doubt tell you that “the only thing to work towards today is just staying in the room”. This can mistakenly lead you to believe that they have low expectations of your physical prowess. They don’t. It is damned hard to convince yourself that you will not pass out/be sick/begin hallucinating while doing “half moon pose”. And you’re only up to the second posture.
What do you mean I haven’t convinced you? What kind of terrible, masochistic Daily Proposition is this, you ask?
I mentioned before that Bikram Yoga is highly addictive. This is because of the feeling you get after class. It’s like your very own “survivors tale”. And it does get easier every time (unless you go in hung over, which is akin to descending into the fiery pit of Hades). Bikram gives your skin the special glow of someone superior to those around them (disclaimer: this will only occur once the ruddy, clammy redness dissipates). OK, so it isn’t for everybody. But if you like a challenge (or just want bragging rights), go try it.
While I suppose you could attempt this at home, there are at least four splendid reasons why this is probably not a good idea.
- Heating your place to the required temperature will send your electricity bill skyrocketing.
- Without professional guidance and supervision, you will most likely perform a posture incorrectly, leading to hours of excruciating back pain.
- Without the shame of comparing your semi-naked body with the semi-n-ked bodies of the Bikram devotees around you, you will give up after five minutes.
- You will not get anywhere closer to enlightenment standing between your dirty dishes and decorative doilies.
The details: There’s Bikram Yoga classes in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane and surrounds. Click here for a list of studios.