Yoga is fantastic for cyclists. I used to go 3 times a week before I broke my hand (now thankfully fully recovered) to stretch out my tight cyclists hamstrings. I’m not naturally flexible so going from never being able to touch my toes to putting both hands flat on the floor was a complete revelation!
After nearly a year off and a bit too much excess at Christmas I decided it was time to get back into it. My friends Heleana and Emma had been raving on at me about Bikram Yoga, 26 Hatha positions in a sweltering 100 Degree Fahrenheit basement near Old Street station so I decided to take advantage of their fantastic newcomer deal of 30 days of unlimited classes for £29.
The website says, “The Bikram Method is practiced in a heated room to ease muscles and joints, prevent injury and aid the healing of existing injuries, as well as promoting detoxification through sweating…” and sweat I did, no really, I don’t think anything could have prepared me for quite how cardiovascular and sweaty this form of yoga is.
As I arrived for my first class at 10AM on a Monday morning the lady behind the desk looked at me with kindly concern and said, “Your main aim is just to get through the class. Ok. If you start to feel funny don’t leave. Just sit it out.” Slightly bemused I laid down my matt and towel in a room full of more beautiful, slender and flexible people than I’ve seen at any gym and began my 90 minutes of Bikram. The thing I love most about Yoga is that it isn’t competitive but people do wear very little in this class and the sheer number of men in nothing but their baggy underpants means that you may catch a glimpse of one or two things you wish you hadn’t!
The positions taught were fairly straight forward but I was pleased to have had a solid foundation in yoga or else I think it may have been easy to get left behind in such a big class (it really is popular). However, despite the class size the yogi did reposition me and other students throughout the lesson.
On leaving I felt pretty good but the next day – ouch! Everything hurt… for four days. By Friday I finally felt ready to try again. To say I didn’t prepare well is an understatement which I severely suffered for. I decided to be ‘brave’ and get up at 6AM for the 6.45AM class. With only 5 hours sleep (I was working late the night before) and no food inside me, what had been a challenging new experience on Monday instead felt like being tortured in one of hells fiery caverns. I honestly came pretty close to fainting 3 times.
Perseverance and better planning is definitely in order for the next couple of weeks.
For more information on Bikram Yoga in London Click Here