So I tried my first ever Bikram class yesterday – after taking a brave pill! I like trying new activities but I find running in hot weather to be generally pretty miserable (as shown by me whinging around 5 miles with my friend on Friday, oops) and was a bit daunted by the prospect of 90 minutes in extreme (for me) heat.
A friend had given me a free pass for a month at the Funky Door studio – my nearest is the one on Polk Street. I’m so glad she did, my instructor Ryan was amazing and super welcoming. I’d read Bikram horror stories of newbies being shouted at for drinking water when they’re not supposed to and so on, but Ryan said I could drink whenever I wanted, sit out a pose if I was feeling a bit light-headed and told me that it was totally normal to feel a bit weird during your first few classes while you adjust.
It’s a set sequence of moves, all of which are repeated twice. I liked that everything was repeated twice as you can figure things out a bit as you go along, and I tried every move (sitting a couple of the repeats out). I felt pretty good through the class, just missed a couple of repeat poses about a third of the way through when I was feeling the heat a bit. After a little sit-down I was ready to go again, and one of the nice things about this class was that quite a few people sat out the odd pose. It didn’t feel like there was any pressure to do everything perfectly.
Things I found helpful for surviving my first class:
- Get there nice and early. The studio says to do this and it was good to acclimatize to the heat a bit before launching into the moves.
- Wear something small and wicking! I wore Lululemon running shorts (my favourite Speed Shorts), a sports bra and a thin tank top (which I ended up taking off halfway through). Lots of the girls were just in sports bras and hot pants. One middle-aged, tattooed guy was in Speedos. Fortunately I wasn’t behind him 😉
- Don’t eat too soon before – consensus seems to be at least 2 hours. I’d had a big breakfast then snacked later in the morning so I felt good by my 3pm class. And drink lots of water before too!
- My studio gave me an Emergen-C sachet as part of their welcome package; I’d also shoved a box of Nuun tablets in my gym bag before class. I drank the Emergen-C during class breaks and had a Nuun tab afterwards.
- Don’t expect to be amazing 🙂