Branching out from Bikram

I've really started to enjoy going to Bikram, and I have been trying to make my practice more consistent. My biggest challenge has been the lack of studios outside Brisbane, so on my recent trip out of town I decided to try 'regular' hot yoga, at Zama. I really enjoyed the experience, but it was very different to Bikram!

The Studio:

The Bikram studio that I go to is quite a large space. Shoes must be removed at the front door, then there's a big waiting area/reception with toilets and showers to the side. The room itself has full mirrors on the front wall and the left side, and everyone puts their mat on a line that's marked on the floor (I think there can be 4 rows total). The heating is central, and everyone is very quiet as soon as they enter the studio.

The Zama studio is very new. There's space for 2 rows of mats, and there's a little kitchenette to the side for water and green tea. I didn't seen anyone have any tea, but I assume it's for everyone? There's a heater in each corner of the room. It was much less intimidating, and people were chatting before class started.

The Class:

When I first arrived at Zama Hot Yoga, I was asked if I had done yoga before and I said yes, but I didn't elaborate. As with Bikram, the instructor was very friendly. I felt a little bit more anonymous at Zama – at Bikram they have made a big effort to remember my name (and they even pronounce it correctly!).

One thing that I love about Bikram is that I know exactly what to expect, because every class is the same. I feel like I can zone out a bit more, and really work on the postures without thinking about what was coming next. I liked the challenge of Zama, because I was trying new poses, but I felt fairly distracted during class just because I was trying to keep up.

I feel like anyone can do the poses at Bikram. Doing them well is really challenging, but they always give modifications, and advice as to what the priorities for each pose are.

If you haven't locked your knee, the posture hasn't started.

Most of the poses we did at Zama were doable, but they threw a few challenges in. My goal in life is to master the crow pose! I also sat out of head stands, because I've not been taught how to do them safely.

I also never knew that yoga had pushups! So many chaturangas…

We did a lot of sun salutations as well. I vaguely knew the sequence, but it was nice to do it multiple times and cement it in my brain. I'm trying to incorporate it at home, in the hope that my yoga practice will be more consistent.

Outfits, Sweating, and Water:

The first Zama class that I went to was spontaneous, so all I had to wear were loose running shorts and a singlet. I was surprised to see that most people were wearing crops and singlets anyway, whereas at Bikram it's usually the less clothing the better. I definitely sweated during the class, but nowhere near as much as I normally do during Bikram. I normally look like I've been for a swim at the end of a class! I barely drank any water during Zama, and felt fine. I don't drink heaps during Bikram but I I definitely need some water. I've actually had some episodes of blacking out during Bikram, which I think is from dehydration – not good!


I'm really glad I branched out. There's another 'regular' hot yoga studio near home, so when my current passes for Bikram run out I may try it out. I'd love to do both, but I don't think my finances justify it. As long as I maintain at least some form of yoga practice, I'll be happy.



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