I have only been a sporadic attender of bikram since September. I managed around a dozen classes in September and October, but have only been a few times since then - twice, actually. Poor show. However, I am hoping to manage to attend a class every day this week...as is the rest of Bristol, if today was anything to go by. The studio was rammed.
Naturally I am not as competent at the postures as I was a few months ago, in the main; but I was gratified to discover that I still have a good tolerance for the heat, so obviously that doesn't just disappear. Not counting the first attempt in 2010 and the disastrous Christmas Eve class of 2013 (taught by an instructor who was in my class today, I believe), today marked class number 50. Not bad, considering I have only been going since the end of February. Clearly my body is quite acclimated now.
I have tried a couple of other bikram studios. Firstly, I went to Sohot Yoga near the BT tower. It's in a basement. The floor was made of some kind of scrunchy plastic stuff - very soft and comfortable but it definitely retained a lot of the heat from the room. Normally I take a little pleasure from getting the chill out of the floor.
It was a candlelit class, which meant bunny fairy lights. I liked being in the dark: I don't regularly use the mirrors anyway so it didn't matter much to me. Unfortunately there was a very loud man next to me, grunting and moaning and the like. I found him so distracting that I took to breathing out with a loud "Sssshhhhh!" sound, though it didn't make any difference. I wonder if he knew he was doing it.
The other one I tried was the Hot Spot, in Parson's Green, near where Sib lives. This was also a candlelit class. The studio is on the ground floor with a big frosted window at the back - must be lovely in the day time. I was in a mess that day: Sib and I had split nearly two bottles of wine at dinner the night before; I'd had a disturbed might's sleep due to incredibly painful muscles from my workout two days earlier (like, I bent my leg and the pain woke me up); I'd presented a terrifying course that day and thus already sweated myself dry once. So, I took the spot near the door in case I had to leave.
Well. Firstly, there was a huge gap at the bottom of the door which was not blocked with a yoga mat, so I was in a draft. Secondly, the instructor opened the door a LOT. I was kind of pleased about this because I was feeling pretty awful, but it made it even more difficult to practise. If I'd been in the zone I would have been annoyed. it's a good tip for next time though - I won't go anywhere near the door.
Then, there was a newbie - on her second class - right in the front row, all crooked. I did not like that. Bad bikramite at the back is judging you. And somebody got up to leave in the first posture and didn't come back! First time that's ever happened. I did really like the instructor though. She wandered among people and gave them one-to-one tips. At one point she got all embarrassed - I think she'd gotten carried away assisting in tree pose and realised she was holding the man's bum cheeks in both hands. Very funny.
Vive la difference. It's nice to try new studios. The fact that the dialogue and postures are always exactly the same are incredibly comforting to me, but it is nice to see how other people practice once in a while.