November 19, 2012

Hot Yoga - Day 2

What a difference a day makes! On Saturday, I ventured out to my local Bikram Yoga studio again; this time armed with a water bottle full of Gatorade (watered down with ice) and another with water. I made sure to hydrate all day and 30 prior to class start drinking the electrolyte-based sports drink.  This time, I was going to treat this 90 minute sweat-fest as one would treat a marathon. You don't just drink water, you drink salted water.

I felt so amazing during and after this class I couldn't believe the difference. I welcomed the heat and left without a headache or dizzyness or nausea. I sucked at most of the poses and looked like an elephant on the floor (in comparison to all the pretzel-like bodies contorting and shifting effotlessly) but whatever. I'm going again tonite and plan on doing three classes this week. I realize it isn't very yoga-like of me, but I'm going to make that Bikram's Yoga my bitch!

I have to say, I'm very curious about the training these instructors get. Like Zumba or Jazzercise, Bikrams is very scripted and concise. I understand the importance of this and respect it, but wonder why the instructor fails to provide safety and health tips regarding hydration. I'm not appreciating the messages to stretch beyond one's flexibility (it's very hard to listen to) and there are no cues to drink water after the first invitation to do so. In addition, when the class is over, there is no offering of safety and health tips (like, be sure to continue to drink water or better still an electrolyte-based drink). I feel for those who begin this class without the knowledge or body awareness neccessary to navigate safely. It is no wonder Bikram's gets such a bad wrap....and it would only take a few changes (while keeping to the scripted 26 pose less-plan). I just don't get it. I wonder when a bad experience will be taken to court? Or has it already?

So if I may, I would like to leave you with a few suggestions (as a kinesiologist and fitness leader) for those who are attending for the first time (or second)....

1. Get yourself a sports drink and drink a little before and during the class
2. Bring two water bottles; one for the class and one for after (preferable with electrolytes)
3. Do not overstretch or feel you must do what the instructor tells you. if she/he is professional, they will provide you with instructions for your first class (my first instructor did this, my second did not).
4. Whatever you do...DO NOT succumb to the group mentality and do it because everyone else is. If you need to lie down, lie down. This class is all about you and no one else. Even if you just lie on the mat for the entire 90 minutes, it is a start.
5. I would suggest taking a day's break between classes to rehydrate, rest your muscles, and get your head around the next class. It may be that you end up doing it every day (as the yoga instructor's all suggest), but to start....start slow.

I'm starting to see that perhaps hot yoga has recieved a bad rap from the rehab and post-rehab professionals simply because the beginner does not begin appropriately. If the instructors could only offer a bit more coaching to the newbie, the injury rate may not be as high as it is (I can't find this injury rate on-line, but the reports I get from physios suggest it is high).

Tonite is my third....I hope to feel as alive and invigorated as my last visit. If not....I'm forced to consider pool running (not that there's anything wrong with that).


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