You know how it is… by the 3rd of January every year I’m usually totally convinced that a rep from Guinness World Records will be knocking on my door to congratulate me on number of calories consumed, alcohol units sank and overall weight gained during the preceding December period. “Congratulations- you are ridiculous! Smile for the photo!” Usually this is when I throw myself into an overly expensive gym membership contract, go once or twice, have a horrible time and give up. “There must be something else that I can do that helps my overall feeling of vitality, rejuvenation and involves the odd lie down”, I thought. Well, step on down Hot Bikram Yoga…
What: The concept is a series of 26 postures including two breathing exercises (you do each one twice) that are practiced in a room which is heated to around 40 degrees. The benefits of such activity claim to be enhanced flexibility, successful recovery from injury (due to deep stretching), and the endless flushing of toxins due to increased perspiration. Most classes are 90 minutes but there are shorter 60 minute classes if you’re pushed for time or want to ease yourself in gently.
Where: There are studios in Balham, Fulham and London Bridge so there is choice and flexibility (no pun intended) if you want to head to a studio closer to home or work. The deal clincher though is a beginners offer they have running at the moment where for £35 you get an unlimited 20 day pass and you can go to as many classes as you like for a 20 day period. Classes run all day, 7 days a week- early morning to late at night so you’ll always find a time that suits you. Sign-me-up!
Verdict: The heat actually wasn’t as bad as I’d expected- it’s not completely unlike a session in DC10 in mid August if that’s your thing. Lots of vests, sweaty backs, a similar feeling of euphoric satisfaction and excitement over making friends for life in the toilets afterwards. Don’t expect an instructor to carry out the poses for you to copy though- they talk you through the class and you copy the people in the room who have clearly been doing it for years. Everyone is made to feel really welcome, whatever shape, size or experience. You do begin to sweat (oh how you sweat) in every single crevice after pretty much the first breathing exercise, and it continues from there. The instructor will help with your technique and help you find the best position for maximum stretch. I survived the whole 90 minutes and had a good crack at every posture, which I was pleased with as I’ve always considered myself about as flexible as an ironing board. I walked home feeling cleaner, like I’d had a work out (which was impressive as I’d spent a lovely amount of time lying down) and a strong feeling that I wanted to go back. Definitely don’t go home and eat a jacket potato the size of China though, you’ll be KO’d for the rest of the day.
Oh, there are also showers and hair dryers etc in the changing rooms- a great convenience, and helps you to slot something like this into your day. All in all- an activity I can’t recommend highly enough for anyone looking to re-focus their mind in the new year, test their body and stretch away those glasses (bottles) of prosecco and mince pies x986352578.
Head to http://hotbikramyoga.co.uk/ for more info.