Closer's resident fitness fanatic Roxanne Ridge takes part in the 30-day Bikram Yoga challenge - see how she's getting on!
Bikram yoga is the hottest (quite literally) new trend in health and fitness and with celebs such as Sarah Harding, Fearne Cotton and Jennifer Aniston being huge fans, we thought we’d go and find out what all the fuss is about…
As health and fitness experts we couldn't let this new trend pass us by and so we've sent Closer's resident fitness fanatic Roxanne Ridge to take part in the 30-day challenge. That's 30 days of Bikram yoga back-to-back. Hardcore.
Each class involves 90 minutes of fast-paced yoga in 105-degree heat. Here is her verdict...
"The 30-day Bikram Yoga challenge is something I've wanted to do for a while. I introduced a rigid three-day-a-week Bikram schedule into my life about a year ago after I discovered that it could help my Carpal Tunnel syndrome – the numbness of hands and fingers – and so, I felt up to the challenge especially as summer is just around the corner.
"In just one session you can burn between 400 and 900 calories depending on how hard you work and it tones every muscle in your body"
I’m two weeks in to what has been deemed the ‘hardest class you’ll ever do’ and I’m loving the practise more than ever - my 5.30am alarm isn’t even a burden anymore, in fact, it’s kind of becoming my friend (weird!)
The class is 90 minutes long and includes 26 postures with two breathing exercises and everything is repeated twice. Doesn’t sound that bad, right? Well, try that in a room that’s heated to 105 degrees! Sweaty doesn’t even cover it; you’re saturated by the time you come out! It’s basically yoga in a sauna.
The benefits of the practice are endless but it’s particularly good for weight loss. In just one session you can burn between 400 and 900 calories depending on how hard you work! It tones every muscle in your body and, if you go the recommended six days a week for the first three months then the results will be amazing!
When I first started, I found I could easily slot three 6.45am classes a week into my busy schedule and could really noticed a difference. It’s a shock at first – you have to make sure you’re well hydrated and well fed before and after classes – which means that there is a lot of planning involved – I make sure I have a pint of water before I leave the house in the morning and some muesli with soya yoghurt for breakfast, after the practice.
The founder of the practice - Bikram Choudhury – designed it to deliver total health through the balancing and strengthening of every system in the body to prevent illness, injury and limit the effects of ageing.
After 15 days I’ve become more organised and focused at work, and less prone to falling asleep.
The series of postures was tailored to move fresh oxygenated blood to 100 per cent of the body – to every organ, bone, joint, muscle, ligament, tendon, tissue, fibre, blood vessel, nerve and gland. And, on the 30-day challenge I've really stated to see this - my hair is shinier, my skin is soft and I feel super-toned. Ask me again in two weeks if I'm still feeling quite so upbeat though!
My boyfriend, Mick Smith, who is joining me on the challenge says: “Like a lot of men, I never say no to a physical challenge - I’ve run marathons, cycled through the Pyrenees and ascended Kilimanjaro. How hard can 30 days of yoga be? Well, much harder than you’d think. The combination of heat, humidity and 26 demanding postures makes this an incredibly difficult yet rewarding workout.
After 15 days in a row, I feel more toned than I have for a long time. My back feels stronger and my knees and ankles are more flexible. I’ve become more organised and focused at work, and less prone to falling asleep. I’m still aching in muscles I didn’t previously know existed, but hungry for more. Bring on the next 15 days!”
Yoga myths busted!
*You can’t practice yoga if you’re not flexible*
This is completely untrue.
Michele Pernetta, Chief Instructor of Bikram Yoga in the UK, who introduced Bikram yoga to the country and started the first studio, says: "Yoga is for stiff people. It's merely a safe and effective way of stretching your whole body, with the added benefit of making you extremely strong at the same time."
*You have to be a certain age to practice and you can’t do it if you’re pregnant*
It’s safe and user-friendly for all ages and fitness levels. And there’s even a pregnancy series, which is great to do if your doctor gives you the OK.
*Yoga is just for women*
Around 40 per cent of people who practice Bikram yoga are men - often, they're attracted by the way you feel and that it's a total workout and you don't have to chant or meditate for too long.