I don’t like to exercise.
Running? Only if I’m trying to catch a bus.
Swimming? Ugh, I hate putting my face in the water.
Lifting weights? Hahaha. Surely you jest.
It’s not that I’m not active, it’s just that my preferred activities include accessories like dancing shoes or an English saddle. Yet, a gym-avoiding person like me has come to love Bikram yoga.
You know, Bikram yoga. Sometimes called Hot Yoga? Ninety minutes in a 105 degree room with 40% humidity? No doubt you heard of it and then dismissed it with an “OMG no way!” notion.
I won’t sugarcoat – it’s intense. Brutal, even. At least once during every class I think I’m going to pass out. But as I do the 26 positions, my often tense muscles (especially the hips…we carry a lot of tension there) finally release and have their own personal party. After class I feel gooey and mellow. The next day my muscles are still relaxed and any dry patches of skin have vanished. After a few sessions, I’m down a few pounds, and my occasional backaches have gone away. All this is why I keep going back.
Want to join me? Try it this winter!
- Consult your doctor before starting Bikram to make sure it’s safe for you.
- Hydrate liberally both before and after, and during class in limited amounts. A sports drink or coconut water is great after class.
- Wear fitted but lightweight clothing. Some people wear a sports bra and shorts, but I prefer pants.
- It’s perfectly acceptable to lie down if you feel dizzy or unwell. While resting, be proud of yourself for just being there and practicing Bikram. Breathe slowly, feel the warmth of the room, and get up when you are ready.
- Concentrate on your own image in the mirror and where you are in your practice. Not to get too New Age-y, but others are on their own path, and the only path you need to be concerned with is your own.
- At most studios you can rent a mat or supply your own. Bring a large towel, two smaller hand towel, and a change of clothes. The big towel goes on your mat, and having a smaller towel is handy if you feel the need to wipe your face or hands during class. If your facility doesn’t have showers, keep the other small towel in your locker, and use it to dry off before putting on a change of clothes (or, I suppose you could go home in your sopping workout clothes, but that’s unpleasant in wintertime).
- When you’re a beginner, don’t schedule too much after your class. You might feel the need for a long nap after your shower!
Where to go:
Om On the Range Yoga Studio
3759 N Ravenswood Ave, Ste 125 (773) 525-9642
Bikram Yoga College of India Chicago
2736-A N Clark St (773) 348-9642
1344 N Milwaukee Ave (773) 395-9150
Bikram Yoga Andersonville
5715 N Clark St (773) 907-0291
Balanced Body Integrated Wellness
2569 W Fullerton Ave (773) 252-9740
Bikram Yoga Naperville
400 S Main St, Naperville (630) 428-9644
105 N Oak Park Ave, Oak Park (708) 613-6055
Bikram Yoga Evanston
1840 Oak Avenue, Evanston (847) 556-2600
About the Author: Jennifer Dunham Luby is a Chicago area native and hostess extraordinaire. When she's not out exploring the social scene, Jen and her husband love to entertain in their Wicker Park home. She writes SecondCitySoiree.com, a blog featuring advice, ideas, and inspiration for home entertaining. Follow her on Twitter @SecndCitySoiree