Bikram Yoga — The Great Equalizer

Bikram yoga has long been on my radar.  For years I was doing yoga at a studio and loved.  My first instructor, Tao, was an 85-year-old woman who could bend like a pretzel and always took time out to use me as a guinea pig for the class to see.  I was never so flexible and then I stopped going.  I had a hankering to get back to the studio and started doing it again with a young instructor who seemed to focus her poses on strength building.  I always walked out of that class feeling as if I just spent and hour lifting weights.  I was much leaner and stronger and then I stopped going.

When endurance sports and triathlon entered my life I tried to fit yoga in.  It was a great way to relax and get away from the grind of swimming, biking and running. In addition to that it helped me stay grounded with my surroundings and I needed that since I had just moved 1600 miles to Dallas from New York and knew nobody.  Then triathlon started to take more hours and thus I stopped going to yoga.

Now that my first season of 140.6 mile races is over I want to get back to it.  Last week I chose to go to Bikram Yoga (finally!) and was sort of persuaded by Michelle to join her.  Our Twitter conversation went something like this:

  • Me: Hey @ultradrum are you going to yoga tomorrow?
  • Michelle:  Yes.  Are you going?  Does 8:30 or 10:15 work for you?

See what she did there.  She baited the hook with are you going and then dropped the hammer by giving me a time to choose from.  I chose the 8:30a class figuring that I could get a liquid breakfast in and then a decent recovery shake afterwards and have the rest of the day to rest my aching muscles.  I knew it was going to be hot but I was in good shape……I just did an Ironman.

I spent all day Thursday drinking water, water and more water.  I was so nervous about dehydrating in that yoga room.  See, Bikram Yoga is done in a room that is above 100* (our room that day was 111*) and I am a person who sweats.  I was also nervous because of the simple fact that I was coming off of an Ironman and my flexibility was limited but I am also competitive so not pushing my poses never dawned on me.  I figured I would go to this class and do all the poses no matter what.

Finally Friday morning came and I was headed to the studio more nervous than I have ever been, and that is not stretching the truth.  I was scared about what might happen in this class.  This was a great unknown.  This was an opportunity for me to try something new and doing something new is always stressful.  When I walked into the studio my fears dissipated but only because my sweat started pouring down my face.  I was just standing there……oh boy!

Throughout the class I recalled all the poses we were doing.  I was having fun and it was just like riding a bike.  I was not nearly as flexible as I had been with Tao and I was not as strong as I had been in my second go round with yoga but I felt good.  That was until about 45-50 minutes into the class.  The heavy cotton t-shirt I was wearing was a solid grey without a dry spot to be found.  My mat had a pool of sweat in it and the towel I was using looked as if it had just been dropped in the ocean.  There was sweat everywhere and that is when I finally had to stop.

I had to sit down and bow out for a pose or two.  As much as I tried to continue my body, and more specifically my light-headedness, wouldn’t allow me to continue.  I drank water and I drank an electrolyte filled water bottle but I just could not get going.  Finally the floor poses and I figured I could get back to it and I tried but I was only able to do one of the two pose sets.  I was wiped out.  Bikram Yoga had handed me my ass on a platter and yet I LOVED IT.

When class was over I got dressed and went and got a green tea and a recovery shake.  Within a few minutes I felt hydrated and ready to head home but with a new plan of attack for this off-season and upcoming Ironman Texas training cycle.  Bikram Yoga was going to be a part of what I did to get to the finish line in The Woodlands in my already determined goal time.  Yoga will help me get flexible which will help with cadence on the bike and on the run.  Yoga will help me acclimate to the high temps in Texas in May which will help with a strong race.  Yoga will help with clearing my mind and focusing on the goal at hand which will come in handy when I am running the marathon.

Like The Sufferfest…….Bikram Yoga kicked my ass that day so that I can kick the race courses ass tomorrow.

Do You Do Bikram Yoga?  Got Any Tips And Tricks.

What Are You Changing To Your Off-Season Workouts To Make 2013 Better Than 2012?


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  1. Beth says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Bikram. I can’t get enough of it. Am going tonight actually. It’s helped my IT band and I can really feel the strength difference in the left and right side of my body. It’s crazy! If I could get everyone to go to Bikram I would. It’s not boring and every class is different even with the same series of poses. I need a soapbox for Bikram!! lol
    Beth recently posted..Is there sugar in syrup?My Profile

    • CTER says:

      Well repost this and share with your readers. I am going to be a convert for sure. I enjoyed the class even though I felt like death came over me in that first session. That being said when I replenished my fluids I felt great and like I accomplished something. I can’t wait to go back on Friday but again I am nervous about it. Until I get ‘good’ at it I will feel nervous I think.

      My goal is to not have to walk out of the room to puke. Pretty good goal huh?

  2. Good call! I do Ashtanga yoga at home, but I’ve done Bikram classes before and loved them.
    Carolina John recently posted..Turkey, Turkey, TurkeyMy Profile

  3. Jen Roe says:

    i have never taken a “real” yoga class in my life. A yoga-teaching friend helped me test a few moves in the backyard once but my ridiculously un-flexable body has always had me scared to walk into a class. Plus, my formerly “overweight” thinking was, “if I’m not burning calories by jumping around a lot, why bother?

    But, I’ve decided to give it a shot. I am recognizing the need for “cross training” so my new agenda includes trying a variety of other activities including strength training, pilates, and yoga.

    I bought a Groupon for a bunch of yoga classes. While I will probably stick with beginner classes for a good chunk of time, you never know, I might wind up in a Bikram class someday…
    Jen Roe recently posted..State of the union: An update on recent goalsMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      You will enjoy yoga. I find my first class back after the layoff or just starting out to be the hardest because I cannot become one with myself right away. I would say after 3-4 classes that I begin to get used to that practice and finding my inner peace.
      CTER recently posted..Bikram Yoga — The Great EqualizerMy Profile

  4. Jeff Irvin says:

    What was hotter?

    Bikram yoga or that Saturday morning ride in August in Houston?

  5. Natasha says:

    Unfortunately I usually only make time for yoga during my off season, but I love it when I do get it in!
    Natasha recently posted..Ironman AZ Recap Part IIIMy Profile

  6. Christy says:

    I have wanted to try Bikram for years, but I’ve always been too scared. Last year was a season full of injuries for me. I am going to HAVE to get past the fear and give it a try. I need to find a friend to drag me there :)
    Christy recently posted..December GoalsMy Profile

  7. Jessica says:

    Bikram yoga looks boring at first but after session, most people realize the intense workout it gives to the body
    Jessica recently posted..YOGA – WHAT IS IT & HOW DOES IT HELP US?My Profile

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