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Bikram Yoga at Five Dock & Beyond

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by Olly (subscribe)
Olly can't be summarised in a sad little paragraph like this. Lucky for you, though, it doesn't matter. He likes to experience as much of life as he can on a university student's budget, and writes about it all. Check him out...
Published January 28th 2014
Sweat yourself sexy
A few days ago my girlfriend convinced me to try a Bikram Yoga class, a.k.a. Hot Yoga, with her. The one we went to was in Five Dock, but there are loads around Sydney. Don't worry, I had no idea what those strange sounds meant either. It's just the positions and stretches of yoga done inside a hot room, roughly 40 degrees. I hear you raise your eyebrow in disbelief, and yes, it's a thing.

Image from Bikram Yoga Five Dock website

The idea is that, apart from getting a taste of the countries in which it was originally developed, your body is constantly working to cool you down, and keep everything working despite the desire to melt on the floor. Think of it like skipping a few minutes, maybe half an hour of warm up exercise to get to the more intense part of your routine more quickly. Naturally, this is good for your Cardio, helps work the muscles, and gives you the perks of a sauna, namely, sweating out your troubles for cleaner, healthier skin.

But wouldn't you be reduced to a puffing red tangle of BO? Surprisingly not. I'm pretty pale, and tend to degenerate into the above with sports like basketball, but oddly enough I didn't get very red, my usual stench wasn't particularly noticeable, nor anyone else's, and most of my sweat came out as a glistening of the skin, like some Hollywood fantasy. Even so, the saving grace is that you can partake of their showering facilities straight after, so you come out cleaner, and, the biggest surprise of all, energised. Don't ask me how the voodoo works, just enjoy it.

So you've become a little curious by now. Time for specifics. The first time we went the instructor was Jaimie. In all honesty, she leads the class like a horse race, leaving no moment unfilled with instruction and encouragement. I get the impression that this is what some people want out of exercise, so in that case good luck to you, but my girlfriend and I considered it a little too intense, especially given that her previous experiences with Bikram Yoga had been bordering on meditation. So, the second time we went we made sure to try another instructor.

This time Brad took the floor, topless and all. He is much more relaxed, though still not the center of calm we had hoped. They have a few more instructors we haven't tried, with a range of class times designed to fit in before and after work, not to mention the weekends, so I'd recommend playing around to find a combination that works for you.

The positions themselves are well chosen, and pose challenges here and there. You get a good selection of stretching, balancing, and strengthening exercises for most of the body in your hour and a half class. There is no division in skill levels, so it's up to you to find your own limit and challenge yourself. Don't feel embarrassed to stop, even to leave the room if it gets too intense. My first class I did twice. By my second class I got away with lying down for a few minutes on my mat. Trust me, it does get easier. If you're considering it, then try at least two or three sessions to get a real idea of what it's like.
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Why? Health, flexibility, strength, and energy
When: They hold 3-4 classes per day all week
Phone: (02) 8753 0260
Where: 156 Great North Road, Five Dock NSW 2046
Cost: Intro offer of 10 days for $20 then $10-20 per class depending on the deal
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