Bikram Yoga & Exercise

I started Bikram Yoga, the original hot yoga, last week, and went for another session a couple of days ago. My husband got me going together with him so that we can develop muscle flexibility. Particularly for me, I’m so inflexible that I can’t even touch my toes when I bend down. Yeah, I think I’m almost as stiff as a corpse.

Anyway this yoga is literally ‘hot’ because the temperature in the studio is set at 40 degree! After 10 minutes of stretching postures, I was already sweating like a pig. The reason for the high temperature is to warm up the muscles so that they stretch more than usual. The yoga postures encompass stretching muscles in different part of the body to the max. The first 45-minute was rather hellish. I was cursing under my breath as I strained to stand on tip toe while lowering my body to sit on an imaginary chair, hands stretched out front. My legs were trembling like a vibrator! It was a relief when the instructor got everybody to lie down to relax and switched on the fans. I guess they realize our endurance limit is 45 minutes of non-stop stretching in a really warm environment.

At the end of the 1.5hrs session, everybody was drenched in sweat (note to self: bring towel to the class). Thank God Bikram Yoga has shower facilities and they also provide bath towel, shampoo and shower gel. Trust me, you wouldn’t wanna leave the place without a shower. In the company website, www.bikramyoga.com.sg, it states that they recommend sport bra, shorts or tankini for the ladies. You definitely wouldn’t wanna wear T-shirt or even yoga pants, too warm. In fact they wanna see your knees. I wore sport bra and shorts for my previous two sessions, and I got myself a tankini from the studio during the last one. So I’m going to try that out. Anyway you don’t have to feel self-conscious about wearing a sport bra, ‘cos it’s a common attire for the ladies. I even saw one wearing a two-piece bikini suit, and some men go topless. As long as you’re not in your birthday suit, nobody cares.

It may seem a little masochistic to continue going for the yoga class, but strangely it has a sedative effect on me and my husband. After the session, we sleep better. The yoga class also complements our exercise regime. I try to run and do weight exercises as often as I can during the week. I know what you’re thinking. One of my colleagues commented that the word ‘exercise’ makes her feel exhausted. Truth is, running is a very good form of exercise, not only providing physical benefits but also mental benefits. I only realized recently that even when I was emotionally down, but after a run my mood improved and I actually felt more positive and hopeful that I could resolve my problems. This is the effect of the endorphin that is produced during and after a run, a natural pain and stress fighter. As for weight exercises, they help me to build muscles and tone my physique. Hey, I wanna look good in a bikini too, like Grace Park (Battlestar Galatica, Hawaii Five-O).

People tend to procrastinate when it comes to exercise. I know, ‘cos I did that previously, making excuses like tired from work, there’re more important things to do, etc. But at the end of the day, isn’t health more important? Also, one big motivating factor is exercise makes you look good and best of all, it has anti-aging benefit. Wouldn’t you want to look younger than your age? I definitely want that, being such a vainpot myself. I’m not keen on botox since I hate needles. So I’m sticking to exercise. But remember there’s also the other part of the equation: diet. No, I’m not talking about going on a dieting plan, but having a good diet that is very low on fried and oily food, and high on fibre, vitamins, and minerals, and the right balance of carb and protein. Good food doesn’t have to taste bad, though bad food can taste good. It’s a matter of choice. Being big is not good. Don’t buy into those hype about ‘Big Beautiful Woman’ (BBW). It’s bullshit because it comes with health implications.

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