Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Hot sweaty yoga with bikinis and bare chests

I finally got round to trying out hot yoga at the Zurich Bikram yoga studio.  I have signed up for a 10 day trial, which costs 70CHF, and you can go as many times in those 10 days as you like.  After my first lesson my impression so far is positive.

I thought the session was going to be 60 minutes long but it was actually 90 minutes.  I am not sure how working people manage to fit that into their busy schedules, but for me it is fine.  Maybe not all lessons are 90 minutes - I am not sure.

I was introduced to the teacher beforehand, and she told me that I might well feel dizzy and like I need to leave the room, and that the main aim of my first session should be just to stay in the room, even if I couldn't manage all the postures.

A lot of the students went in the room early, but I thought being my first session and all I should only go in the room just before the lesson starts.  The room is heated to over 40 degrees Celsius and the longer you spend in there the more you sweat.

Walking into the room I was surprised how manageable the temperature felt.  Don't get me wrong 40 degrees is hot, and exercising in this temperature is tough, but I had expected much worse.  I sat down on my mat and waited for the teacher to arrive.  There were quite a lot of other students in the class.  Most were female but there were 2 other males.  The girls tended to wear bikinis and the men shorts and bare chests.  I was wearing shorts and a vest, but after an hour or so that came off as I was just too damn hot.  There was only one other newbie in the class, and most looked like they had been doing it some time.

How can you pick out a newbie in a hot yoga class?  Well if I am any example to go by, look for the person gasping for breath and reaching for the water bottle every 10 minutes.  The odd spell of swaying from side to side hinting at a slight spot of dizziness is also a dead giveaway.

There were times when I felt pretty woozy, but I managed the whole session without having to take a break.  Probably within 5 sessions your body starts to get used to the temperature.  That is what I am hoping anyway, because I am using hot yoga to help try to prepare my body for exercising in a hot environment.  If I go to hot yoga 3-5 times a week and then spend a few weeks in Morocco prior to the race I should be fairly well adapted.  I pity any souls who have done absolutely zero heat acclimatisation before the MDS, as doing yoga at 40 degrees was tough but running at that temperature would be much tougher again.

I have a few hours now to relax, eat some food, and then I have my Pilates lesson.  I will take my running kit with me and do a 10km run on the way back from Pilates.  That would make a good training day - hot yoga, Pilates and a 10km run.  Is that too much - hell no!

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