Bikram Yoga an adventure in vomit.

Then I thought, yoga!  Maybe Yoga.

If I don’t have the aptitude to cut the 5 pounds of back fat out of my body, maybe I could yoga it off. In the olden days I would have preferred something like kick boxing or even just kicking, but now that I’m older and more mature, and lazier, I’m looking for a way to incorporate relaxation into my exercise regime.

But some people who do Yoga look like they need to lay off the cream puffs themselves, so maybe Yoga won’t work for getting rid of the water wings I have floating just above my waist band.

If my goal was to be very bendy and own a lot of good quality stretchy pants then Yoga would be my go-to exercise, but I wanted a good workout. One that would make me feel strong, and fit and energized. And better than everyone else who wasn’t wearing a purple Lululemon jacket with holes in it for my thumbs to stick through, while I browsed the snack aisle of the grocery store.

Then I remembered my niece.   She’s what you’d call crazy. And exercise obsessed.  She likes it.  She genuinely likes working out or running until she stinks like ammonia.  She recently tried Bikram Yoga and claimed to hate it. She hated it with a fierceness normally reserved for people who club baby seals.

She hated Bikram yoga so much she loved it.

Bikram Yoga is a form of intense hot yoga. Some describe it as militant. All classes are 90 minutes with the exact same poses in the same order every class.

Moksha Yoga, on the other hand, is also hot yoga, but there are a variety of levels, intensities and class lengths. They sometimes even have live music! Seems way more civilized.

Which is why both the fella and my niece preferred the thought of Bikram Yoga.

Here’s what happened.  A couple of months ago, the fella asked me if I’d try out Bikram Yoga with him.  Sure.  Shit.  Why not?  Let’s ask my niece too.  She’s always wanted to go.  She’s available. GREAT!  Done.  We’re all going to Bikram Yoga.

Only the day of the Bikram class I got one of my very famous migraines.  So I thought standing on my head, or whatever goes on in Yoga class, would be stupid.

So I had to cancel yoga, and the fella being a gentleman agreed to cancel with me until I was feeling better. Also, I told him he wasn’t allowed to go without me.

But my niece.  My niece has 3 kids and works so she doesn’t get a lot of opportunity to get out of the house unless it’s to go to hockey practice, parent teacher meetings or the emergency room.

So, my niece went to Bikram Yoga.  And here is how it went down …

(transcribed from a series of text messages and phone calls)




Dear Moksha Yoga.  Which days do you have live folk music again?


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  1. Cat says:

    I think I came pretty close to dying laughing, and that had to have burned a few calories. That was AWESOME!!!! Can’t wait to show the Hubby this and related articles. Oh, and about your dilike, nay, HATRED, of brussels sprouts?

  2. Kasia says:

    Ok, that was hysterical! However…. that “Craigslist Yoga Mat For Sale” link that a couple commenters mentioned……. THAT had me laughing so hard I was crying so much that I had to blow my nose and wash my face after!

    Not that you’ve never made me laugh that hard, of course :)

    Worth checking out anyway!

  3. Bols says:

    I tried Bikram about 2 years ago because a) I read a really good article about it in Oprah (one of the editor’s tried it for 12 weeks and she looked amazing afterwards) and b) because I read stories that it is helps if one has problems with lower back.

    I knew what I was getting into, but I still figured I would it give it a try. A studio here sells unlimited classes for 2 weeks for $20 (to first-time buyers), otherwise the classes are quite pricey. I hate hot weather and most of all I hate hot AND humid weather. So I hated every minute of it and I thought it was incredibly boring.

    The worst part, at least for me, was that I sweat horribly in my scalp and especially around my hairline, so I literally looked as if somebody tried to drown in me the crapper. Of course, everybody sweats at Bikram but I was the only who had to keep wiping my face off every 10 seconds.
    I didn’t have any violent reaction to it afterwards but I did not feel amazing either and I did not sleep like dead (as most Bikram fanatics had promised). I went twice or maybe 3 times during those 2 weeks and I promised myself “never again”.

  4. christine says:

    Hey Karen,Did you know that taking Prozac will eliminate menstrual headaches for most women? It also eliminates all menopause side effects by balancing hormones…it also makes me a much nicer person.My family practically pay me me to take it.

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I did not know that. I won’t be at menopause for some years, but I’m hoping it comes about a decade early. I’m DONE with migraines. ~ karen

  5. Nicola Cunha says:

    The last time I did (regular) yoga it was at 9 am (a trial class)and I felt nauseas till 2 pm. After that I did boot camp twice a week. Much better for me!

  6. Elen Grey says:

    ROTF LMAO, which is the closest I will ever come to doing Bikram yoga. I wish I could find the post a fella wrote about a year ago on his Bikram yoga experience. He was selling his yoga mat on e-bay for a buck. I thought I would wet my pants just reading it. No Bikram class required.

  7. Brenda J. M says:

    Totally hysterical. I’m so glad I’m completely unable to do any such thing.

  8. Chris says:

    Holy crap Karen that was funny!
    Couple of things to comment on – you need to go on a site called Walmart People which displays pictures of people shopping. There you will find women and sometimes men who remind me of a dual sided boob. So next time you are talking about back fat take a look. I dare you not to laugh at these pictures. Next comment is in support of people like ourselves who HATE brussel sprouts. You can’t change the smell of a fart and you can’t change the taste of those nasty mini cabbages! Can’t wait for your next post!

  9. Lisa says:

    I did Bikram Yoga a few years back on the same premise. A friend asked if I wanted to try it and I said, “Sure! Sounds like fun!” I spent most of the class laying on the floor close to death and immediately after class I ran to the bathroom and threw up… repeatedly. Ever since then I’ve been trying to achieve the same level of toxin clearing awesomeness as that one class, but don’t dare take another class.

  10. Barbie says:

    This was my experience in Zumba class! Tis why I HATE exercise! ha ha ha!

  11. Barbie says:

    I agree with you Karen! NO thanks…that sounds like HELL. I HATE exercise but I know that I “HAVE TO” do it or those water wings you talk about? Well you get the idea! I do the cheapest easiest thing known to man and have done it for years! I have to fake myself out when I exercise so that I forget I am even doing it!
    Gazelle (you can get them at Sears for about $199.00) I put a movie in that I know I will like and wear my ht rate monitor and make sure I keep my ht rate where it needs to be and for 45 minutes I gazelle away! Easy peasy! I also eat clean and lots of veggies….stay away from excess sugar and I’m good to go. Looks to me like you eat pretty clean if I look at your weekly menu. :)
    If I start eating badly again (I LOVES the foodies) then those dang water wings return immediately!! This only started happening to me after I was mid forties! Before that I could eat like a truck driver and never gain an ounce! sucks now! LOL

  12. Patti says:

    Oh snap. Okay. Good to know! I have joint issues, and apparently yoga is really good for it, so I was all “oooh, hot yoga. It’s winter, that’ll be awesome.” And now I’m like, definitely NOT going to do that. But I will look into that Mischa Barton kind that everyone is talking about. Sounds like fun!

    I like brussel sprouts, but I don’t like weird meat or fish or seafood. Everyone’s always like “oh, Patti, this lamb is delicious. you should try it!” And I tell them that I am too old for peer pressure.

  13. Jacqui Taylor says:

    I made the mistake of reading this while I was eating and almost choked on my lunch, I laughed so hard!

    I have done Bikram yoga for 4 years and I LOVE it even though after the first class, I thought I would literally die. I am not very competitive, nor am I a masochist or very athletic but it clicked with me. I am 59 and am in the best shape I have ever been in and I wasn’t too shabby back in my distant 20’s.

    It is not for everyone but it is great for those of us who stick with it. It is extremely important to be well hydrated before the class. I now practice without water during class.

    For another very funny account of someone’s first Bikram class google: “yoga mat for sale Craigslist”.

    I think The Fella would really like it!

    Thank you, Karen for all the laughs and vicarious adventures.

  14. Gina says:

    I too love yoga, but HATE hot yoga. I have learned to like Zumba where I can dance around and look like a fool while I sweat…and wouldn’t you love to see the fella do THAT class???

  15. Thank god (or someone else) for your posts they are much needed to survive january.

  16. dana gault says:

    I LOL’d. I also peed a little.

    If anybody wants to save some money on Bikram, just come do it in my backyard. In the summertime. In Phoenix. When Maricopa County issues a health advisory warning against outdoor activities. While I sit in my air-conditioned house and watch with a shaker of Geminis.

    “And not a single Brussel Sprout was eaten that day.”

    • Jane says:

      Geez , thanks Karen. My kids gave me 10 lessons of bikram yoga for Xmas. Now I’m vomiting just thinking about it.

    • Cat says:

      Right with you Dana. Nearly died. Haven’t laughed so hard in freakin’ forever. Never been to Phoenix, but I can agree, Bikram is best performed in the backyard during a Texas (or Arizona) summertime. When the heat index is deadly. Then you’ll get the full effect. Required equipment: one of those backpacks with a gallon of water in it & a straw taped to your face. And a partner to watch, spot, & drink Irish coffee bombs (with a goodly shot of Jameson’s or Tullamore Dew) and make sure you get a refill the moment you’re out of water. I’d be happy to be a gopher, as long as I can sit in comfort on the computer in the AIR CONDITIONED inside.

  17. Robbin Caskenette says:

    OMG!!!!! That is EXACTLY how I felt about Hot Yoga!!!! Hated every second of it. I almost did pass out. Really. I had to lie down for the last half of it. And the best part? Looking a the massive puddle of sweat under and around the guy in front of me. Yuk.

  18. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I don’t know a thing about these different yoga’s..I thought yoga was yoga..Definitely does not sound like fun to me..Knowing what I do about the Fella I bet he could do it!!

  19. Sue says:

    Laughed out loud a bunch of times, and that was before I even made it to the transcript of texts and calls.

    Similarly, this is worth a read (I lol’d at this too!):

    • Nancy Blue Moon says:

      OMG Sue..That is hilarious!!!

    • Sue From Vermont says:

      Sue, THANK YOU for posting the Craigslist link. I’ve had the “non-flu” flu for almost 2 weeks now, and I can’t tell you how good it felt to laugh like that again! Of course, it also made me cough non-stop for about 5 minutes, but totally worth it.

      Karen, you’ve done good.

  20. Dawna Jones says:

    Your a baby Karen, just go do the Bikram. LOL!

    • Karen says:

      Dawna – As if. That kind of goading may have worked on me in grade 3, but not anymore. You can suck it. I’m not doing Bikram and I’m not eating Brussels sprouts. ~ karen

  21. jackie says:

    You’re opening a can of worms doing a post on hot yoga btw. Consider the moksha. Different studios and even instructors at the studios have different preferences for the thermostat, so hard to generalize about how much hell you’ll go through, but best bet is to ask up front how hot they make it. 40C is probably too hot for you. And your niece. On a side note, she shouldn’t have got the chills, but it does sound like she actually got hypothermia. Likely a consequence of cotton clothing and too much sweating. WHich is why hypothermia occurs more on a nice day than a cold day, improper clothing. She shouldn’t have had that reaction post-yoga. That said, not everyone can handle the heat in the midst of the class, but still, the reaction post-yoga was not normal. Trust me, I taught hot yoga (not that hot, just a little).

    • Karen says:

      Jackie – I don’t know. From the myriad of people I’ve spoken to, her reaction was completely normal. And Bikram yoga is very strict about their temperature and humidity. There’s no variation on that. I had the same reaction from Crossfit so it how Bikram made her feel doesn’t surprise me in the least. ~ karen!

      • jackie says:

        Haha, I can see your stance is unwavering. Bikram is strict, no doubt. I was referring to Moksha. We have about 5 studios in Calgary that are hot. really depends on the studio and the instructor, even within a franchised Moksha studio. My friend owns 3 of ’em here and I can attest to their quality being better than Bikram. (quality=less puking in class. Seriously, it’s just a mess to clean up!). Have you tried brussel sprouts with maple syru-oh nevermind!!

  22. Jenna says:

    This was the funniest thing I have read in a long time. And it effectively talked me out of trying Bikram yoga. It sounds as torturous as some of those runs where you run through fire. No thanks. But thanks for the good laugh!!

  23. jenny says:

    the first time i tried bikram i wondered why anyone would want to torture themselves like that. but.. i ended up hooked. i practiced for a little over a year and had never been in better shape. have you tried vinyasa yoga?

  24. JebberA says:

    I want to befriend your niece. We could try waterboarding together as a next experience.

  25. Lisa says:

    I tried it twice but only because it was a 2 for 1 special. I hated it!! The smell in the room is nauseating alone. Can you imagine the mold that must be growing in there?

  26. Lynne says:

    Tearing coming down my face *laughing hysterically*. Too funny !

  27. Catherine Manning says:

    I so needed this laugh this morning after nearly not sending, then sending my kids to school kicking and screaming when the teacher’s strike didn’t happen. I need an Irish Coffee. I’m signed up for CANDLELIGHT RESTORATIVE YOGA tonight at 8pm, determined not to puke, fart, or do anything other than revel in my inner tranquility…no Bikram for this chick.

  28. laura gerber says:

    Thanks as always for the morning laughter. I have never had any desire to try yoga, and this confirms why. Mud runs where you get chased by zombies are a different story – way more fun.

  29. Brittany says:

    Bikram is the worst! I held out for most of the class, then bailed on it once throwing up felt like a very real possibility. While I did feel great on the way home (probably just relief), I developed the worst migraine of my entire life that night. Calories be damned!

  30. Bonnie says:

    I totally agree with you– my life is complete without Bikram yoga, Brussels Sprouts, and water boarding.

    I believe that the best exercise is that you will continue to do, so it should be something you enjoy, or at least something you don’t hate. Bikram yoga does not come close to fitting that bill.


  31. Bethany Jones says:

    Is it weird and twisted that I REALLY want to try this now? I dont’ want to look like the wan and wiry people who do Bikram every day, but, still. Makes a great story.

  32. Eve-Marie says:

    LOVE Moksha! Its the best mix of yoga+workout.

  33. ev says:

    I too offer apologies to you niece–lmao! You are very smart to just say no! And to the Brussels sprouts as well! I really like them, but saying “no” to what you want to say “no” to is a good, no, great thing! As thin as you are, I doubt if your supposed back fat is any big deal. Try meditation. Your migraines and back fat will just say “no” and go away. Really….

  34. Langela says:

    So funny I’m tingling, tired, and feel like throwing up. I’ve had my workout. Thank you, Karen.

  35. Maureen says:

    So I love yoga! But I don’t do bikram. And sorry for that other post. That was just mean.

  36. Maureen says:

    OM f*cking god. Now all those crazy yoga chicks are going to be coming out of the woodwork, telling you how “awesome” it is.

  37. Ruth says:… I would ignore her too. That sounded like torture!

    Side note: I always thought Brussels sprouts looked cute and thought I would like to try them one day. You cured me of my curiosity.

  38. Elizabeth says:

    Your niece was suffering from dehydration. You have to drink A LOT of water before Bikram. The day before as well. I did and still felt fuzzy headed for the rest of the day. I do Ashtanga yoga. Much better, more of a workout than Bikram, trust me, but with no excess heat. And the workouts differ. I could never do the same workout each time. Yawn.

  39. Janie says:

    Since I live under a rock I had to search you tube for Bikram Yoga and, found a vid of the World Champion Kasper van den Wijngaard. It looked like a gymnastic routine. I would have stopped watching after the first minute if it weren’t for the knit shorts.

    • Amanda says:

      Oh sweet baby jesus, that is contortionism pure and simple. That boy could be traveling the Cirque du Soleil circuit for fun and profit instead of dedicating his life to asceticism and brussel sprouts!

  40. Erica says:

    It’s your whole family that is so sarcastic, this is great *L*.

    The yoga workout sounds horrifying *L*.

    I took those birth control pills someone recommended. My first period lasted six weeks, I quit taking the pills and my period went away. Yuck.

  41. Bonnie says:

    Gasping for air- too funny! I commend your neice for trying and reporting. I commend you for deciding otherwise.
    I do not even like to type “yoga”.

    And I do have a killer brussels sprouts recipe but I won’t torment you with it.

  42. Tracie says:

    John C….some people never learn….she will NEVER eat a brussel sprout. Or do Bikram Yoga apparently, who would? That’s crazy talk. I went to yoga once with my sister and best friend. We got kicked out. Because we couldn’t stop laughing. Maybe it was because of the farts due to the weird positions, I don’t know. Regardless, we farted and laughed, and got kicked out of class. It remains one of my most prized memories.

  43. Laura says:

    I went to a bikram yoga class for the first time a few months back and was completely blindsided. I had no idea it was yoga in 100 degree craziness. I’m really surprised your niece reacted so badly though, I’m not that fit and even I got out fine. However, I discovered it is possible to sweat from many places I didn’t think were humanly possible to sweat from…also, carpets in a bikram yoga place are a mistake…it smelled so so terrible.

    Will definitely have to try out moshka yoga, it sounds like a great time! I wouldn’t entirely discount bikram yoga though. The class I went to had many beginners, none of whom had too much trouble. Your niece’s experience sounds like a special case.

    • Karen says:

      Laura – I beg to differ. I think *your* experience sounds like a special case, LOL. ~ karen

    • Cat says:

      It sounds an awful lot like niece was a little dehydrated and low on electrolytes to begin with and the hot made it worse. I took bikram yoga for a couple of years and have never seen a reaction like the one described, but it sounds a lot like shock and dehydration.
      The first few sessions I lay on the floor about a quarter of the time and only did the first round of poses (you do each pose twice). It’s best to take it a little slow.

  44. qtpuh2tme says:

    I surely needed the LOL this post provided. ~;D

  45. Marti says:

    See… this is why I only do Pilates. And only on DVD. But seriously funny!

    • Karen says:

      Good idea. If you’re going to throw up, it’s best to do it in the comfort of your own living room. ~ k!

      • Marti says:

        It’s called Bulimia. College girls use it. Works for them. They’re skinny.

        (Actually, it limits the excuses when time is short or the snow is heavy. Not a problem here in DC lately.)

      • Violet says:

        Karen, have you tried Pilates? It really is amazing. (That’s coming from someone who, because of chronic illness, hadn’t done any sort of formal exercise in years and had difficulty walking even short distances without a lot of pain and fatigue.)

        I was TOTALLY out of shape from years of being too ill too exercise, but my body parts were still in the places they’re supposed to be. Then the day came that I had the first horrible moment where I looked in the mirror and realized I’d finally reached the age where stuff was starting to droop in places it had never drooped before. I freaked. I decided to push myself in spite of my illness. I got a gym membership and went twice a week. At first, I gradually worked up to an hour on the elliptical machines (research indicated the elliptical trainers would stress my joints the least of all the machines). I continued that for about four months. Didn’t notice much difference in my physical shape, but it turned out to be way too much exertion for my body and it worsened my fatigue severely.

        So I switched to Pilates. Not only was I able to make it through the classes from the very beginning with no problem, but taking only two classes a week, in just two weeks I saw parts of my body tightening and firming that I thought were beyond all help. And the most amazing part was that the exercises were all so gentle they didn’t FEEL like they were doing that much, but OMG, the toning was incredible. It built up muscle really fast, and that revved up my metabolism. If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend giving it a go.

  46. pixie says:

    Noooooo! Bikram is amazing! Your niece is just trying to keep your expectations low. the first time I took a class I was 230 lbs. I survived and thrived… You can do it!

    • Karen says:

      I’m sure I can Pixie. But I don’t want to. AT ALL. So we’ve all learned two things about me on this site. I will never do Bikram Yoga and I will never eat Brussels Sprouts. That’s just the way it is. Thanks though! ~ karen

      • John C says:

        I have a great Brussels Sprouts recipe that might change your mind. Except that Brussels Sprouts + Yoga = Farting for sure.

        • Karen says:

          John – No. No it will not. For 3 years now people have been trying to convince me I will like *their* brussels sprout recipe. I will not. I do not like brussel sprouts, Sam I am. ~ karen!

  47. Kat says:

    Apologize to your niece for me but that was so funny reading that! That must have been excruciating. I am one of those people that hate to sweat and I hate saunas so I can’t even imagine doing that, but it was terribly funny reading!

  48. Kirsten says:

    The first ever yoga class I went to was a Bikram yoga class – it was for free to promote a new studio opening. The instructor prefaced it with: “you will feel nauseous, you will feel dizzy, this is normal”. Sure didn’t feel normal! My experience was pretty much the same as your niece’s, though without the insane urge to try it again.

  49. Nicole Glass says:

    I haven’t even read the article(?) yet, but Bikram sounds like a dude who smells like broccoli and cheese soup.

  50. AnnW says:

    Why don’t you take those birth control pills that only give you 4 periods a year? Then you might only have the chance for 4 series of migraines. Have you ever taken magnesium to try to stop the migraine? Sometimes works for me. Ann

    • Violet says:

      True. Magnesium is amazing. Many physical complaints and illnesses are linked to magnesium deficiency and most people are seriously deficient in it.

      But a word of warning for anyone wanting to increase their magnesium levels, because I found this out the hard way and wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy…

      Taken internally, magnesium causes GI upset. Very unpleasant GI upset. It’s like Bikram yoga in your colon, except there WILL be farting and pooping your pants, oh yes, there will. I had to start magnesium therapy and no one warned me that magnesium is a hardcore laxative. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. I researched like crazy and discovered the way to avoid all tummy and gut troubles is to apply magnesium oil externally. (Magnesium oil isn’t actually oil. It’s equal parts magnesium chloride and water. You can buy it ready-made or you can get magnesium chloride flakes and make it yourself, which is super easy and much cheaper than buying it ready-made.) Another benefit of magnesium oil is that you absorb magnesium far better transdermally than internally, where much of it just ends up purged.

    • Shauna says:

      Ann, I second this approach. I too get menstrual migraines and have moved to those pills. It has definitely helped Karen.

      Oh, and she’s over exaggerating. I’ve done bikram yoga, and I loved it. Yes, it was hot and difficult, but I felt great afterwards. The key, perhaps, is to already be doing yoga. Yoga isn’t about being stretchy. It’s all about strength. If you don’t have the strength, you’re not going to feel very good after ashtanga or bikram yoga. I suggest starting ashtanga (same poses, no heat), then moving into bikram. feels cleansing.

      I’m a total lazy butt now, so it would likely kill me.

      Funny TMs though, loved reading it. You should totally do it:)

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