Monday, May 3, 2010

Bikram Challenge

Saturday marked the start of my new challenge. Josh and I headed to The College of India Bikram Yoga Studio near out house after a trip to the Boulder County Farmers Market (so glad it's open!) and Great Harvest for our loaf of bread for the week.  We were warmly greeted by Zach who was our instructor.  He was very welcoming and made us feel comfortable right away. 

We grabbed our towels and mats and headed into the hot room.  Hot is was. As we walked by the thermometer we saw that it was 106 degrees.  I was sweating already.  We should have arrived a bit earlier as the Saturday morning class is the most popular. Poor Josh got stuck by a guy who he swear he could hear sweating.  I wouldn't be surprised, they guy looked like he'd peed his pants when he stood up. Not that I can say much because I was a sweaty beast at the end of the class.

The last time I did Bikram yoga was with Liz back when I was in high school so I wasn't sure how my body would respond. I was relived to discover my body was very happy to stretch and bend in the poses.  By the end of the 90 minutes I was drenched and so was Josh!  My body felt great, especially my calf. It was really sore when I woke up but after class I could barely feel the tightness anymore. 

I did some Googling on how many calories you burn during a 90 minute Bikram class and I found out it's anywhere from 600-1100 calories. Wow!  I used this calculator to figure out that I burn about 886 calories per 90 minutes. No wonder I was so hungry when I got home from class.  After attending class again yesterday, I'm really feeling my muscles.  The balance is a killer workout for the legs and I even feel it in my arms and shoulders from holding my arms out.  Amazing the strength it takes to hold up your own body parts.

The Beginners Challenge is in full swing.  Tonight will be my third class, third day in a row. Josh's friend from college Brenna is going to join me. She said she needs some motivation to get into some sort of exercise routine so I'm helping her out.  Plus it's really nice to have some company. Anyway, back to the challenge.  Here are the milestones and what I get:

Do: 25 Classes Get: $50 Monthly Unlimited
Do: 20 Classes Get: $60 Monthly Unlimited
Do: 15 Classes Get: $75 Monthly Unlimited

I plan on going to class at least 4 days a week for the month.  Ideally I'd  like to go every day this week to start off the month right and get my body into a routine and more used to the heat.  But of course I still need time to go to the gym so we'll see how my schedule works out.  I'm aiming to get to the 20 classes this month.

So why Bikram and what are the benefits?

Well I wanted to do something totally different.  So many runners swear by yoga for helping them improve balance, core strength and overall mental fitness. I figured it worth a shot especially since I am sidelined from any hard cardio activity because of my stupid ankle and calf.  Some of the benefits I've found online:

  • Warm up the muscles for greater flexibility
  • Help achieve a deeper stretch
  • Reshape the body & restore flexibility
  • Expands one’s capacity to breathe deeply and fully
  • Flush out toxins
  • Burn calories by balancing metabolism, simultaneously raising energy levels and improving the efficiency of the immune system
  • Reduces levels of stress
  • Increases balance, coordination, focus and discipline
Check out this interview with the 'inventor' of Bikram. Pretty cocky I'd say.

Side note, I registered for the Rock N' Roll Denver Marathon on Friday. Yes, I know I'm taking a break but it's like five months away and I had to use my discount from Nashville before it expired. 

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