Confessions of a Bikram Yoga Beginner

When in Manila, it’s normal to feel hot and humid, but sweating it out in Bikram Yoga is a whole different thing. What makes this particular yoga more challenging is that practitioners get to do their usual poses in a heated room that is about 35 degrees Celsius. Yes, this is one hot yoga!

There are actually health reasons behind the use of heat. The primary reason is that it lessens the chance of injury, as muscles get some sort of outside assistance in warming up. Also, since it is more challenging to breathe in warm air than in an air-conditioned place, the heat provides an opportunity to strengthen the lungs as well. Lastly, it is believed that the immune system gets a boost as white blood cells proliferate in a warm environment.

Tristan Choa, Founder of Bikram Yoga Manila and an advocate of yoga in its many forms, explains all these and believes that, “Pretty much anyone can practice yoga.” It has done him wonders as well. When he started practicing Bikram Yoga ten years ago, he was 204 pounds, had a 38-inch waistline, and had scoliosis of 10-degrees of vertical and three knee operations. Now, he’s 173 pounds, has a 34.5-inch waist, and gained half an inch in height as his scoliosis corrected. He’s also able to participate in triathlons already.

Tristan was the instructor when I first tried Bikram Yoga and I can imagine how he must have lost all the excess weight and become more fit. The simple breathing exercises at the start made me perspire already! I thought it would be challenging to stay in the heated room for an hour while doing yoga poses, but I was able to go through it. I just acclimatized to the environment and listened to the instructions given. Tristan was very motivating and he went around the room to check on everyone and made sure that we’re doing the right thing.

I honestly thought I would faint during the session but I conditioned my mind and listened to my body. I realized that some of the poses were challenging for a beginner like me, so I didn’t push myself. I attempted to follow the instructions as much as I could though, and even if I wasn’t able to do everything perfectly, I thought that surviving my first Bikram Yoga class was an achievement itself.

Before you go

Since Bikram Yoga Manila opened seven years ago, they have seen a lot of people lose weight, drop dress sizes, and get more energetic, toned and fit. Students who had zero coordination now move more fluidly. Some were able to control and lower their cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Others were able to stop their pain killer medication and deal with depressions, while others were able to rehabilitate from an injury in the knee or back. Generally though, most became happier people due to their yoga practice.

Studio Manager, Ria Redulla, also reveals that this type of yoga is open to everyone. Their youngest participant is a high school student, while the oldest is in her 70s. “First timers should remember to drink plenty of water, eat a proper meal, and get enough rest prior to joining class. If you lack sleep or haven’t eaten for the past six hours, you’re more prone to fainting, so make sure to take care of yourself first!”

Don’t worry though as first-timers get a short orientation before the class. As long as you have your yoga mat, towel, and a bottle of water, you’re good to go. (Check out their website for other helpful tips.)

So When In Manila, don’t be afraid to try this innovative workout. Tristan suggests to, “Come with an open mind and a determined and persistent spirit. Give the yoga a chance.”

Bikram Yoga Manila


Makati branch
889 0126 or 576 8391


Quezon City branch
376 4632 or 494 8741




Related Stories