Discovering the style of exercise right for you can be a testing and at times humiliating thing. So after my disastrous performance at Essex Boot Camp last week – great if you like the regimented approach to fitness, bad if like me, you can’t handle the fear of sudden cardiac arrest – I decided to try something more Zen. Yes, I am trying my hand, or shall I say limbs, at yoga. Now I know what you’re all thinking, how can steady breathing and Sun Salutations give me the perfect body? But this is no ordinary Yoga my friends. You won’t find any Downward Facing Dog here. This is Bikram, and it promises to increase flexibility, whilst engaging the lungs and muscles. Sounds like your traditional yoga right? But here’s the difference, it all takes place in a room that’s heated to 150°F with a humidity of 40%. That’s right, stretching in a sauna, and it is definitely not for the faint-hearted.
After reading rave reviews that guaranteed I’d be a convert after just one ninety minute session, I decided to throw caution to the wind and prepared to sweat. Cut to me wheezing with sweat dripping from every pore whilst surrounded by glistening (not sweating) gym bunnies. I felt extremely out of my depth. Not my ideal situation I confess. Not my ideal situation I confess. Whilst seeing spots and I had to continuously stop to mop my brow, although I was assured this is very normal behaviour for any tenderfoot like me. Still, this didn’t stop me feeling a little red-faced, quite literally. All this, along with the amount of ‘concentrated’ breathing making it feel more like a pre-natal class rather than a keep fit session, meant the end for me and this heat induced madness.
After an hour and a half of what felt like a lifetime in Satan’s scorching lair, I couldn’t wait to get my sodden- clothed self out of there. Although I definitely felt lighter - mainly down to a loss of vital fluid I imagine- I can’t help but wonder there must be a simpler path to health.
I think I’ll pass on the Garudasana (that’s ‘Eagle Pose’ to you and me,) and find something that’s a little more sensible. Now, where’s my badminton racket?