Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Love my sweat


I quite like it when I sweat. It shows that I'm either benefiting myself or really trying my best-est.
I am riding a race in South Africa next year and it will be about 35 degrees while I'm racing in the midday heat. I was thinking about trying some activities that would help me acclimatise. I've been gathering suggestions, from riding my turbo in the bathroom with the radiator all doors/windows shut, book some sauna time, to trying yoga in a 40 degree room.

Bikram Yoga is where I thought I'd start and then build up to actual really intense activity in the heat.
I signed up to a studio offering Bikram Yoga - called Hot Bikram Yoga, their studios are local to me in Balham and Clapham or I could go on the way home to their London Bridge studio.
I've never done yoga properly and generally cyclists are pretty inflexible as we just sit on the bike and performa a cyclical closed skill. Luckily, the yoga studio runs an intro offer and is focused on beginners as Bikram is quite unique .

Bikram Yoga, is a set of 26 postures you complete over a 90minute class.
A teacher leads the class in a room heated to 40 degree heat.
This style of yoga is less flowing, you try to hold each posture improving core strength. It was invented by Yogi Guru, Bikram Choudhury (pictured).
 
There are several studio's offering Bikram Yoga. I chose 'Hot Bikram Yoga' who run an offer. Go as much as you like for 20 consecutive days for £35.


My experience
It was SO hot.
I had to sit out some of the postures as I was rather hot
In later classes you become used to it and can complete them all
Sitting out is ok, everyone has to take time out
My core stability is seriously lacking - I couldn't hold even a basic form of a posture for the 30 seconds required.
You start sweating as soon as you walk into the room
You are drenched by half way through
Anyone can do it, but practise makes perfect.
It helps you clear everything your head is buzzing with. 
Your hamstrings will hurt afterwards
Take a spare towel to wipe your hands and face plus a towel for your mat
Yoga mats are provided
Wear minimal clothing, shorts/vest.
Take a bottle of water - duh!

So...
I completed 2 classes a week for 3 weeks. My reach got better, balance and core stability improved. I lost water weight, not sure if it affected my general weight. It made me focus on drinking water as much as I could during the day and afterwards. It meant I cut back on one of my turbo's a week so you'd think my cycling would be affected....
I feel better for attending and I had a great result in Bradford and the Regional Champs. Not sure if they are related?

Random Stuff
Bikram's says his yoga can really improve ones physical self. Improve digestion, bone density apparently approved by NASA. All these rather random claims made by Bikram have been soaked up by Indian and Eastern yogi follows and in the West, celebrities taking up the style of Yoga has made it very popular.
What I can say is, I can feel my heart beating, I feel my limbs stretching and I've identified my right leg / right side of my core is weaker than the left. Its a workout, and its good prep for handling 40 degree heat in SA. That other stuff I'm taking with a pinch of salt!

I'm going to continue to go through the Christmas period.
It is hard work
I'd recommend it.

2 comments:

  1. I always find that regular yoga helps me feel more comfortable on the bike. It obviously doesn't make me put out more power but it makes me feel better, so it follows that I'm more likely to perform better.

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  2. This sounds bonkers. I'm planning on starting a yoga regime in the new year to improve my core and fix my dicky neck but I certainly won't be going for the hot class!

    Ty
    The Foot Down

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