Bikram Yoga – 90 minutes of death

They say you should change your routine up to improve your bodily function. I have tried pretty much everything to get rid of my crazy headaches and stress, so I thought I’d try bikram yoga as well.
Can’t hurt, right? Well, it’s been two weeks, and 7 sessions – and I’m still not a convinced yoga person. In fact, I actually hate doing it already in the first pose. 90 minutes become a very long time when you don’t like what you’re doing.
For those who don’t know, bikram yoga is 26 strict yoga poses, performed twice and held for a period of time, in a 40 degree room, over 90 minutes. Its selling points promise better sleep, a happier mentality, less recovery after injuries and a toned body, as well as improved physical and mental health. It is also suggested that it may lower blood pressure, reduce depression, and strengthen the immune system – all while detoxing your system and helping you lose weight and increase flexibility.

Just like any other type of exercise, pretty much.

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So they tell you that the 2nd, 3rd and 4th session will be way easier than the 1st session. Not too sure about that. I still struggle. I actually think I struggle more now that I know what I’ve got coming up. But I’ve said I’m going to give it a month – because apparently you become a completely new person after a month of practising bikram yoga. They just forget to mention how bloody hard it is, and how dizzy you get if you do one of the early morning classes.
If you want to be someone you’ve never been, you have to do something you’ve never done, they say. So here I am. Stepping outside the comfort zone again.
You know you’re inflexible when the old lady in a swimming suit in front of you can touch the floor bending over, and you can’t. I knew I had no flexibility, but I didn’t think it was THAT bad. Hamstrings – on fire. Lower back – stiff as a pole. Calves – cramping.
Oh, and the best thing? When they tell you to HOLD OFF drinking your water until the water break. Sorry abnormally flexible lady in lululemon clothes, if my body asks for water, it gets water.

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They like to tell you how you can burn around 1000 calories during one session, however – if you do intense exercise for 90 minutes in any way, form or shape, you can easily burn that amount of calories either way. And as much as bikram yoga challenges the body, each session is the same, meaning that your body will adapt. You might get really good at practising bikram yoga poses, but the shock your body got in the initial period of doing it, will wear off.

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Studies have shown that the raised temperature in the room, and the set structure of the poses can assist in stimulating glands that improve the T-cell function, i.e, the proper functioning of the immune system, which is great, however the excess sweating can also bring high risk outcomes with it – if you are not careful.

Ask me again once my month of practising this torture type of exercise is up, and I’ll answer whether my silky baby soft skin result is worth 90 minutes of hatred. For now, I believe it is a good detox for periods of time, but not the first choice of exercise people should resolve to.

Oh, and if you think you have sweated the most you’ve ever sweated it your life – you haven’t until you’ve tried bikram yoga. You sweat in places you didn’t think could sweat.

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The perfect body and social media

Probably crossing the controversial line again today, but I think it needs to be done.

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How many of us follow people on Instagram that we are jealous of? Their hair, their legs, their face, their money, their insanely low body fat, their car, their dog, their toe nails.. You know where I’m going with this. Now, there is nothing wrong with a little bit of inspiration, but you can’t deny that if you’re having a bad day, and you’re constantly bombarded with pictures of seemingly perfect people with perfect lives, it’s not going to do anything but put you down.
I’ve told you before that to boost my self-esteem, I unfollowed people that made me compare myself to them, and only followed people with positive inspiration. However, lately my feed has somehow become this vicious circle of people who appear to be perfect. Add that to a 13-hour working day, not having worn makeup in weeks, yet again eating breakfast in the gym changing rooms, body fat slightly higher than what it used to be, and yet another day of wearing gym clothes and a hoody, – and voilá, one depressed Marita.
It is SO easy to put yourself down, based on what you see other people do. When I was younger, I’d always argue with my mom and say that it was unfair that I wasn’t allowed to do whatever, because “everyone else was doing it”. My mom would say “but we are not everyone else.” And she’s right, we are not everyone else. We all have different struggles, different lives and different priorities, but we need to understand that not everything we see online is the truth.
Let me show you an example.

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These pictures are taken on the same day, however in one, I dare say it pretty much looks like I have an eating disorder. We choose the way we want other people to view us, and let’s be honest – if I posted that picture on any social media, everyone would be on my back. But that’s not what I look like every day. I have a normal body, I exercise 6 days a week, my body fat might be a bit lower than others, I might eat healthier than most – but I am not sick, and I don’t want people to associate me with a negative thing.
Victoria’s Secret recently published an ad featuring their airbrushed angels, titled “The Perfect Body”. What kind of a signal does that send to the rest of the girls in this world? That ad has nothing but one body type, suggesting that that is what we should all strive to look like! There is so much more to this life, than being skinny. Being healthy is what we should strive for, not looking a certain way.

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We need to understand that the way other people choose to present themselves, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the way their life really is. You know those girls on Instagram with perfect lives and perfect bodies, and their 100 000 followers? They’ve made their body into their living. They are basically paid to look like that. So are models. And fitness girls. Great for them, and great for us if we can get inspired to stay healthy from that. But we need to be weary of it becoming an obsession.

I guess my point is, it is easy to pretend online. Good lighting, whether you take the picture when you get out of bed, after a workout, or after dinner, makes a massive difference, and let’s not forget – genetics plays a huge role in where you store fat. Hard work pays off, there is nothing wrong with trying to inspire, or getting inspired. But please don’t believe everything you see online. It has a tendency of getting to your head.