I sometimes feel ambivalent about the heat in a Bikram Yoga class. Most days I like it, seeing the heat as an important part of the Bikram Yoga process. Occasionally, especially on very humid days, it can feel stifling and overwhelming. It can get to be too much.
But in the winter, I crave it. I wake up in the morning thinking about it, set up in the hottest part of the room, wallow in my glorious sweat, and dream about my next class almost as soon as my current class ends. I hate being cold and the Bikram Yoga heat is a great escape from winter.
Winter can be hard on the body. The dryness of the air gives me a scratchy throat even though I sleep with a humidifier every night. The skin on my hands turns red and dry. My muscles and joints feel tighter and achier. I always seem to catch a cold or flu — perhaps because I am cooped up inside more often than at other times of year. And there is the possibility of seasonal depression, unless I take action to avoid it.
For all of these reasons, Bikram Yoga becomes even more important to my well being during the winter months. The daily stretching and flexing of my body helps alleviate the aches and pains and gives me a needed boost of energy. Many of the postures provide a boost to the immune system which can help me shake off a cold faster than I would otherwise. And the quiet mediation time helps me to fight off the winter blahs.
And there is the heat. The glorious, juicy, humid climate of the room helps moisten my throat, sooth my skin, and brings me back to the sun and fun of summer — for 90 minutes at least. Now if only I could bottle it and take it with me as I head back outside into the cold.
Fellow yogis, do you crave the Bikram Yoga heat in winter?