Bikram Yoga Ogden on Historic 25th Street is reshaping its students with hot yoga. In a 105-degree room, students of all levels sweat together in an intense 90-minute yoga workout.
“The benefits of the heat helps a person warm up their muscle tissue and connective tissue, making them a little bit more pliable, and they can stretch a little bit deeper and do things in the heat without injuring themselves,” said Michael Larson, owner of Bikram Yoga Ogden.
Larson has been a professional yoga instructor for more than 10 years. He began doing yoga when he hit his 30s.
“Priorities change in your 30s, and usually your body starts to ache,” Larson said. “My friend told me to start yoga, and it made my body feel better immediately.”
The beginnings were slow for the studio when it opened in 2004. Larson said many people didn’t know what yoga was, and it took about five years to raise awareness.
“Now people know what yoga is about,” he said. “You work up a good sweat, your body is detoxing, and people are seeing the benefits.”
Kirsten Stuart, a current Weber State University student, said she is quite the nontraditional student. She said she hardly has time to go to the gym while she is finishing up her degree at WSU. But she has made time for yoga, and she raved about the results.
“Considering that I am in my 40s, I became a lot more flexible,” Stuart said. “I’ve hurt my back and torn ligaments in my knee. A lot of the pain I dealt with on a daily basis wasn’t there, and I all around felt a lot better. After 4-5 times, I was able to grab the back of my calves and let my nose hit my knees.”
Stuart is not the only one who has achieved these results. Larson said he has seen several students shed the pounds while attending his studio classes.
“The average person burns between 700 and 900 calories,” said Larson, who did personal research on students. “Your body size affects the calories burned, but that has been the average.”
Classes are offered three times daily on weekdays and twice a day on Saturday and Sunday. Bikram Yoga Ogden teaches only a beginner series, but that doesn’t mean it is easy.
“There are some postures that really get your heart rate up, and you work your cardiovascular system,” Larson said. “In the beginning, you may feel a little lightheaded and nauseous as you go through the detox process, but after a while you can focus on the benefits and how good you feel.”
The class allows more advanced students to push themselves further so everyone attending gets a workout that is just right for them.
Daniel Mueller, a sophomore at WSU, has done yoga since high school, but said he has never tried Bikram Yoga Ogden before. He said he “would love to try it,” but will need to prepare before he goes.
Larson said that some first-timers need to follow a few guidelines until their bodies are used to Bikram. He said it is important to avoid eating 2-3 hours before a class, drink lots of water, and bring a towel, yoga mat and more water. Larson said students can expect to sweat a lot. He encourages all who come to go at their own pace.
“If you feel lightheaded or nauseous, just take a knee and wait for it to pass. They are symptoms of wellness as your body detoxes, and if you stick with it, you will start to really appreciate how you look and feel.”
Bikram Yoga Ogden is located at 111 25th St. on the floor above Grounds for Coffee. A complete class schedule is available at www.bikramyogaogden.com.