bikram tysons

It’s Friday the 13th! Celebrate by doing/ eating something that scares you :) Or not. We’re meeting friends at Toki tonight – nothing scary about that ;)

I finally ordered a pair of padded bike shorts from Amazon and they came just in time for my first spin class in months yesterday morning. Thank goodness because they seriously saved my crotch. And surprisingly despite all the padding, I didn’t look like a sumo-wrestler from the waist down. Crotch saved, avoided sumo-wrestler look – I call that a win-win.

My Groupon for Bikram Tysons ended last week; despite all my talk of going once to twice a week to use the package up, I ended up going only 2 times! I should have known that it wasn’t a good idea to commit to a studio half an hour away =\ Just wasn’t going to happen. I enjoyed my experience though, so here are my thoughts on Bikram in general and the Tysons studio.

Bikram

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The picture above (source) pretty much describes what Bikram is. It’s a practice of yoga with a set format of 28 poses, done in a heated room. Rather than flowing from one pose to the next, you hold each pose, take a short break, then move onto the next pose, cued by the instructor. A typical Bikram class is 90 minutes and (in my experience) is practiced without music.

The Studio

The Tysons studio in Tysons Corner, Virginia, was located in an office building with plenty of parking nearby. The studio was nice and spacious, and the instructors I met were very friendly, making sure to pay extra attention to new-comers. They have a variety of stuff on sale in their check-in area, including a fridge with cold drinks – and lemme tell you that cold coconut water tastes AWESOME after 90 minutes in a hot, hot room. I also loved the cold scented (lavender?) towels they handed out during shavasana!
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I didn’t take pictures of the studio space or changing room because I didn’t want to be a creeper, but the studio space was large, carpeted and easily fit 40-50 people. The changing rooms were a little on the small side for all the people packed in there before and after class, but they also had a couple of shower stalls. I didn’t bother with waiting in line after class to shower; I just tossed my SeatHero on the car seat and showered at home.

The Yoga

My biggest fear going into Bikram was that I wouldn’t be able to handle the repetitive nature of the class format. But while I didn’t go often enough to get bored, I think the predictability of the class was a good thing because I knew what was coming up and could challenge myself to get deeper into the pose this time. Also, the instructors do bring their own teaching style to the class while following the bikram format, just like any yoga class, so classes with different instructors don’t feel the same. My first class was with Francisco, who really focused on getting the poses right (I got personal correction during nearly every pose), great for a beginner. My second class, with Jamie, felt like it went really quickly because she talked the whole class and counted down through the poses.

Bikram isn’t nearly as aerobic as power/ vinyasa/ flow yoga; heart rate goes up because of the heat, but the class itself didn’t feel that hard to me. I found the poses to be more about balance, stretching and mental focus rather than cardio/ building strength (although I’m sure it builds lots of core strength over time!). It’s also great heat training; at Tysons, we were encouraged to stay in the room, no matter how hot we felt (and it got to 115F at one point) and to limit our water intake during the class to avoid getting sick.

Overall, I enjoyed Bikram and and can see myself purchasing another class package in the fall/wintertime – probably at a closer studio though. I found it to be mentally cleansing/ refreshing and a great way to work on balance and stretching!

Readers in the DC area interested in trying Bikram – Groupon and LivingSocial run deals for Bikram studios all the time, so look for a deal before you go!

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