If you’re not familiar with Bikram yoga, it’s basically a badass version of yoga that takes place in a sauna. Okay, not literally in a sauna, but a room that’s so hot it may as well be. It involves 90 minutes of exercise through a sequence of 26 poses, allowing the body to stretch, destress, tone, detoxify and even heal muscular pains like arthritis, knee injuries and back problems. Keen to see if we could handle the 40 degree heat, we headed to former TOWIE star Billi Mucklow’s Bikram yoga studio in Loughton…
Bikram Yoga Essex is located on the High Road in Loughton, just a 10 minute walk from the Tube station. If you’re driving, there’s free and paid parking available nearby.
The studio itself is pristinely clean and modern in style, with an obligatory touch of TOWIE bling. Sparkly chandeliers and pink flowers amped up the elegance in the reception area, and there was also a clothes rack full of glamorous activewear just in case you fancied treating yourself to something new.
It’s advised you turn up at least 15 minutes early to a class if you’re a newbie, so you have enough time to register, warm up for the class and get used to the heat! It really is like stepping off a plane and being hit by a sudden wave of scorching heat, and for a few minutes we just sat and basked in the warmth. Make sure you have drunk a couple of litres of water throughout the day before your class, or the night before if you’re taking a morning class.
The room is huge, with a big mirror so you can check your technique and sweat level. The class began to fill up as we limbered up, and it was great to see a real mix of ages and abilities.
Our instructor for the class was Fiona, a professional yogi who’d been teaching for over 10 years. She received her qualification in Thailand after a gruelling three month training course, and now takes up to six classes a week at Bikram Yoga.
She talked throughout the 90 minute class, explaining each position and moving around the class to help the more novice yogis. We moved seamlessly from one pose to the next; the heat really loosens up your muscles and allows your body to stretch in ways you wouldn’t have thought possible. It’s immensely satisfying, feeling knots and tension leave your body to give a sense of weightlessness.
After an hour of yoga we were absolutely dripping with sweat. Fiona announced that the final half an hour was going to be core and back strengthening on our mats - boy was it a relief to sit down! We finished the session feeling absolutely shattered but also completely energised and ready to begin the day.
It really is worth the sweat.
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