Life can be hard sometimes. Work, relationships, life in general – sometimes we need a bit of time out to think and reflect. I’ve tried yoga before and have to say I’ve never really gotten along with it. I have dreadful balance and let’s not even get onto the flexibility issue. So how I agreed to go along to Bikram yoga with a friend is beyond me, but I did.
I went to Bikram Yoga Manchester in the Northern Quarter although I believe there is more than one now in the City Centre. Bikram yoga is the original ‘hot yoga’ – 26 hatha yoga postures and 2 breathing exercises performed over a 90 minute session in a room heated to 40 degrees.
It’s sweaty, that is a given. But I find the heat really helps to move my concentration to my breathing and control rather than worrying about being able to perform the postures or wander away to my life issues. By not worrying about it I find I am much better than I thought at holding the postures. That and the teacher talks you through each movement, encouraging you to breathe at all times, and guiding when to drink and when not to.
This isn’t a quiet form of yoga, far from it. As a newbie you are encouraged to stand in the middle so you can see others around you as well as the teacher. You are guided, encouraged and talked through at all times. Those around you will breathe heavily, will audibly gasp to get more air into their lungs and perform the postures at different levels depending on how long they have been doing Bikram for. There’s a real mix of men and women of all ages, I’ve never felt more comfortable entering an ‘exercise’ class in my life.
I personally found that the heat helped my body to be more flexible and, whilst I ache like hell the next day, I always come out with a real sense of achievement and like I can conquer anything life throws at me.
Unfortunately for me no longer living in the City Centre, getting to Bikram regularly is proving to be a bit of a challenge but I visit as often as I can, certainly when I feel like life pressures are getting to be too much. Now I know my body can do this I’d certainly love to try other forms of yoga – aerial or ballet yoga anyone?
If you are interested in mindfulness you can read more in this article from Legal & General.
Images courtesy of Bikram Yoga Manchester. In collaboration with Legal & General.