Bikram yoga: The experience you didn't know you were missing

In Summary

• It is a special type of yoga, founded by Bikram Choudhury.

Image: FILE

Picture this. It is Saturday morning. 9.30 am to be precise. You are on the floor, lying on your back...well, more like sprawled out across your mat trying to figure out what just happened to you.

You are dripping sweat from every nook and cranny on your body. You can barely breathe, as the air is more hot and humid than that óf Mombasa Beach on the 26th of December. You feel as though you have literally worked out each and every muscle and bone in your body, not to mention the unusual feeling of peace of mind that has suddenly taken over you.

That was me a month ago, after my first class.

If you are reading this and have already guessed what I am talking about: good for you! You have probably discovered this little piece of pure joy in Nairobi. If you have not, you are in for a real treat.

I am describing Bikram yoga. It is a special type of yoga, founded by Bikram Choudhury. One class lasts 90 minutes and is practised in a closed studio with the temperature at 40 degrees Celsius and the humidity at 40%. The practice consist of two sets of 26 different postures and a couple breathing exercises.

In Kenya at the moment, there is only one Bikram Yoga Studio; located at Lavington Green Shopping Centre.

I try to imagine my life before discovering this but end up getting a little annoyed wondering why I had not started much earlier. If you were like me and have heard of Bikram Yoga but were sceptical for a number of reasons, I am here to debunk or prove those myths.

You may have previously thought that yoga, in all its possible forms, was a boujee form of exercise—if you would even dare to call it exercise.

Firstly, any and every person can practice it. I have seen a variety of people in class ranging from senior citizens to even children as young as six years old.It is not just for women as some would assume, a classes may even have even more men than women (the five o’clocks, I am yet to discover why).

Secondly, you may think that you will not achieve the same level of work out as your usual choice. Take it from me, a fit person who regularly goes on hikes and maintains an active lifestyle: it is a physically challenging practice. The balance and strength required from different parts of your body is intense and consistent throughout just a single class.

Now unlike your usual choice of workout, Bikram yoga manages to combine exercise, physical healing and meditation into one. The success and frankly, miracle stories of people who regained function in limbs damaged after suffering from strokes or underwent major weight loss that changed their lives are inexhaustible. That is just how healing this practice is.

There is no denying that a Bikram yoga class and membership is a bit on the higher side but it can be equated to the same commitment many Nairobians give to their gym or CrossFit memberships, hiking adventures or for the less physically active, drinking and eating out.

When you consider all the benefits you can get from one class, the commitment becomes worth it.

However, the thing about it is, no matter how much you hear about this phenomenal practice that continues to take over Nairobi, you will only understand once you attend a class and experience it for yourself. You can thank me later.