Have you ever tried Bikram Yoga?
According to Wikipedia, Bikram Yoga, or hot yoga, is an hour and half yoga session that consist of a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. It's ideally practiced in a room heated to 105°F (≈40.6°C) with a humidity of 40%.
Now, I've taken Body Flow at my gym, which is a combo of Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi, and have done pretty well with it. But the idea of doing and hour and a half of traditional yoga in a room as hot as midsummer was quite daunting. Another issue? Price. In my area, hot yoga classes are usually around $20-25 per class; hard to justify when I already pay monthly for my gym membership.
But when my boyfriend told me about Yoga to the People, the opportunity arose.
With studios in Seattle, San Francisco, Berkeley, and multiple locations in NYC, Yoga to the People "is a unique yoga studio with the goal of recapturing what we consider to be the essence of yoga… simply put, yoga made available to everyone."
How do they do that? By making yoga an affordable and attainable practice for people of all budgets and levels. For their hour long Vinyasa classes, it is a suggested donation of $10. Meaning, there is a box at the door where you leave what you can. No questions asked.
Hot yoga is a set price, but it's a mere $8, just a fraction of what other studios charge per class, and you can get an even better price by buying a package deal.
With that sort of deal, I had to ignore my misgivings and go for it. Saturday afternoon found me and the boyfriend in the Williamsburg YTTP studio, mats set and ready to go.
So how was it? HOT. Really hot. I'm pretty sure I sweat more than I ever sweat in my life. And by the end of the hour and a half, it was all I could do not to sprint out of that studio. I was out of breath, fatigued, and pretty sure I was melting. Would I do it again?
Hot yoga is seriously of the the most intense workouts I've ever done. Not because it's cardio filled or chock full of weight lifting, but because you are moving your body deliberately in such a way that you work every single part of it. I've been sore in places I've never been sore before, places I didn't thing could be sore! Like, the muscles in my feet! But at the same time, I feel amazing. I feel strong, cleansed, peaceful.
I think what I loved most about this experience was the studio itself. Yoga to the People is not pretentious. It's not snobby. It's not full of 110lb yogi perfectionists decked out in the latest Lululemon gear looking down at your imperfect poses. It's real people of all shapes and sizes going after the same goals - health, and peace of mind.
If that's not enough to convince you...
Did you know one 90 minute session of Bikram yoga burns anywhere between 900-1300 calories??