How it started? *please note that I was not sponsored or approached to do a review or anything,I paid for my sessions out of my own pocket and am just simply sharing my experience 🙂
I stopped practising Bikram Yoga for about 3 months as my package had ended but I was having neck and back problems and my whole body felt so tight that I decided that I really need to start stretching deeply again. Hence, I decided to try out a trial at this place called BYCH which is Bikram Yoga City Hall. Heard good reviews on it but never been so I wanted to see for myself.
Initially I had wanted to take the 10 lessons promotion but was convinced to try out the 14 day challenge instead as it was more worth it with the rental of towels and mats thrown in and you pay for 14 classes instead of 10, only difference is you have to do it for 14 days straight.
How it went
Day 1 – I went for the Bikram Cardio which was the standing series only, because I didn’t have time and I was quite cautious about my neck and wanted to ease back into it. Totally good idea for me. It was intense as usual but I managed.
Day 2 & 3 – Aching like mad! My hamstrings are like tightly wound strings and they hurt so much after being stretched. On the plus side, I managed to look up without the usual sharp pain that shoots when I try to, not that it disappeared completely, but I could feel improvement.
and this was only pose 1 out of 26 (see benefits of this pose here)
Day 4 – I don’t know why but this was super hard for me. Maybe I was in a foul mood, everything annoyed me. From the heat to my sweat and plus my body was still aching, I really didn’t feel like hearing the instructor’s voice as well. No offence to her, she is really nice, it’s just me having one of those days and I couldn’t wait for it to be over.
Day 5,6,7 – Like magic, these sessions went really well! Talk about mood swings haha. I felt really good and all the lactic acid and pain/soreness in my body had cleared so i was able to do the poses rather well. Neck still hurts while trying to look up and back, but it was better than before and I can finally do my camel pose once again.
Day 8 – Urgh, I was almost late and I am the type of person who gets antsy when I know I might be late. I hate to rush and so I stepped in the studio with only a minute legit to change. Still panting while I set up my mat, this session sucked big time for me. I guess it was also that time of the month, did strength training the night before and had less than 5 hours of sleep. Oh, I forgot to mention this was the 6.30am class.
Day 9 & 10 – 6.30am too, was cranky due to lack of sleep (sooo not a morning person, but didn’t have a choice as I had things to do after work)
Day 11 & 12 (the weekend) – Believe me when I say, I really didn’t feel like it anymore. At this stage, it is mind over matter and I can feel myself being so over this. BUT on the other hand, I can see lots of improvement in my postures. I can hold it for longer and stretch more each time. My neck is also better with a wider range of motion with less strain.
Day 13 – Second last day. Yes! Mighty good mood, bent well (at least I thought I did), the rain helped as well the room didn’t feel so hot.
Day 14 – Done and dusted. Decided to go for the morning class as I prefer to do the “hard” stuff first to enjoy later.
Personal thoughts about my practice:
On the whole, these 2 weeks really stretched (haha pun not intended) me, weight loss is minimal ( for those interested) but I definitely can see some definition forming. My back feels looser, so does my hamstrings which is a good thing. I realised that I became more aware of the postures that I was doing as well.
Instead of going through the motions, I thought more deeply about each pose, imagining my legs/hips/arms stretching internally while trying to balance. Before that, I would go through the motions without thinking that much. Also, little shifts in posture like a couple of inches forward, weight in the heels, etc make a huge difference.
The only way to improve is to push yourself a little bit more each time, if you always do what is comfortable, you are going to be where you always have been. Sometimes, I really don’t feel like bending more (and I cheat a little by not going all out) because of the discomfort I feel, but I also know that if I don’t, my range of motion will always be just that.
Most days, I was quite diligent and tried the best I could despite being as stiff as wood. I also learnt not to compare with anyone, but concentrate and look in the mirror and know that whatever you are doing, you are doing for you.
Personal thoughts about the studio:
Over all, BYCH is really different from what I was used to previously in terms of size. This has a more boutique feel to it whereas the other one was like a huge franchise. Both practise Bikram Yoga though the mention of Bikram himself is not heard of in the instructions given while over here.
Staff and instructors – more personalised and friendly, they can remember my name, yay. Good mix of instructors and they don’t tell you which instructor is teaching what class so as to avoid biased preferences. You know how some fitness instructors (in gyms) have groupies that follow them for every class? I guess the whole point is that you should see each class as the same regardless of who is teaching it. It is up to you, not them to make it work.
Studio – I definitely feel more hot in this studio, don’t know if it’s because I haven’t been practising for months, but after a week or so, I know it’s not me. The fans that turn on during the rest period help a lot, and I find myself looking forward to that every time. They don’t have mats on the floor but rather, you take a mat from the counter, rent one or bring your own and place them at the allocated lines in the studio. This is way more hygienic to be honest. The person in the last class may have been oozing lots of sweat and grime, and you def do not want their mat even thought they have been wiped.
Etiquette – I can see more here, from students I mean. They comply with the no talking rule which is nice, and adjust their mats when you are behind them so that both of you can see the mirror at least. Also, no running shorts are allowed, only proper yoga shorts or bottoms with no gaping holes are allowed. Generally, wiping your sweat with a towel is discouraged as well.
Facilities – It gets plus points for the organic shampoo and shower gel provided. Love the thick towels that don’t smell like they haven’t been dried properly. Plus the yoga mats are great too (see point about studio). Counter space is not big though and there are only 4-5 hair dryers which is fine but there can be a short wait during peak periods.
Extra mention – Lots of lovely yoga gear to be bought, so tempted sometimes but trying to save money lah. They sell coconut water amongst other drinks, cliff bars (which taste awesome by the way) at the counter to fill a hungry tummy. I also like the fact that you don’t have to book classes which I was really irritated at the old place I practised when they started implementing it. You could hardly get successful. So stressful.
Pricing – a tad more expensive than the larger chain but I can see why and really, the price difference is negligible because if you are going to be practising regularly , you want a place where you are comfortable with. Find a studio you like ( big chain ones or not) and not go for one just because it’s the cheapest. Small things and details always add up and people notice them even when people think they don’t.
This is a good book to read – read the whole synopsis here.
Hell-Bent explores a fascinating, often surreal world at the extremes of American yoga. Benjamin Lorr walked into his first yoga studio on a whim, overweight and curious, and quickly found the yoga reinventing his life. He was studying Bikram Yoga (or “hot yoga”) when a run-in with a master and competitive yoga champion led him into an obsessive subculture—a group of yogis for whom eight hours of practice a day in 110- degree heat was just the beginning.
Hell-Bent is a wild exploration. A look at the science behind a controversial practice, a story of greed, narcissism, and corruption, and a mind-bending tale of personal transformation, it is a book that will not only challenge your conception of yoga, but will change the way you view the fragile, inspirational limits of the human body itself.
Anyone else have done challenge like this or practise Bikram/hot yoga? Please share your experiences!
Thanks for reading!
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