I really enjoyed taking a Bikram Yoga class in Berlin. Therefore, angel face reader, I got all pink and excited when Manfriend and I took to Budapest and I learnt there was a Bikram Studio there too. On Astoria Square, almost right next to the subway station, there is a Bikram Yoga studio that offers about three or four English classes a week. Awesome-sauce.
So on Tuesday morning I fed Manfriend (and myself) a banana, grabbed my yoga gear out of the trunk of the car and made a run for the bus.
Just like in Berlin, the yoga studio was located on the first floor of a business building. Andy from Arizona behind the counter greeted me and gave me a yoga mat, a bottle of water and my membership card (pictured above).
For the staggering price of…2900 HUF (forints) for 10 days…Um. That is less than 10 euros for 10 classes. Can I just take a second to appreciate this fact? And plan my obvious move to Budapest?
After signing my name and the medical waiver, I got a mat and water, and went to the dressing room. Isn’t this rainbow yoga mat collection the best thing ever?
The dressing room was even bigger than the studio in Berlin, and again, there were lockers. Tell me Bikram Yogis, is it normal to have lockers in changing rooms? I’ve only been in Rotterdam and Utrecht before, so for me the score is pretty even. I don’t know what’s common.
Showers: A slightly weird system of having to hold the upper buttonin while adjusting the water’s temperature with the handle below. I’m not a great multitasker (with buttons and handles and the like) but it’s operable. Also, no shaving allowed which I think is an excellent initiative. It saves time, water and I don’t have to pretend I’m not grossed out by someone else’s pubic hair floating by.
The first thing I noticed again when I walked in the yoga room: Everyone has their bottle of water next to their mat. The second thing I notice in the little square electric heaters spread all over the room, about 4 plugged in the sockets of each wall.
In Berlin I completely ignored the water breaks, but I had to put my mat right next to one of the blazing electric heaters. This close to a source of the heat I figured it would be smart to blend in with the locals. Spoiler alert: It definitely was not.
Andy taught a great class. He had a nice strong and raspy voice that I enjoyed listening to, and his instructions were clear. He created focus and determination. I especially liked his almost grunt-like: “One last push, ONE LAST PUSH, CHANGE.” he did at the end of some postures.
Whenever Andy instructed us to drink, I drank. Like a good little frat boy at his hazing. However, as soon as the water flushed into my stomach I knew it had been a bad, bad move. I have been doing yoga classes without water for almost 4 years.
Introducing water into that routine now was like inviting a clown to an adult’s birthday party: It’s not necessary to have fun and instead it just makes the whole think creepy and awkward. It made me feel queazy, so after a few times I stopped participating in the water breaks. The nausea faded eventually.
After class I wasn’t as destroyed as I was in Berlin: I felt really good and excited to explore Budapest some more. Andy gave me this little card with my name and membership details and told me to come back as soon as possible.
I showered, downed a liter of water, bought a coconut water drink, and went outside to meet Manfriend. First thing I said to him? “FEED ME.” He then took me to Bonnie’s Restro where I had a ceaser salad, a huge glass of lemonade AND a chocolate souffle with vanilla icecream as lunch dessert. I was happy as a clam, ladies and gentlemen.
Now, OBVIOUSLY I can’t have a 10-day pass and have it go unused.
Unfortunately I couldn’t convince Manfriend to stay in Budapest for the entire duration of our holiday (kidding – sort of) but I was able to go another time during our stay. But unfortunately not to an English class – they didn’t fit my schedule.
So guess who went to a Bikram Yoga class taught in Hungarian?
The class was taught by a Hungarian Bikram Version of Tinkerbell, tiny, cute probably very wise and inspirational – I just wouldn’t know because Hungarian completely eludes me. Someone can curse me and my entire family into Hindu cows or ask me if I’d like a refill on my drink; I honest to God would not be able to know the difference.
So instead of listening to the teacher’s actual words I just did the routine while hearing the Hungarian as background noise. I listened to her clap which indicated the start and end of a posture while from the corner of my eye peeking at the movements of others.
Yoga class in a language you don’t understand? Hm. I didn’t necessarily dislike it, but I wouldn’t recommend it either. Hungarian isn’t unpleasant to listen to, and I’ve done enough of the yoga to survive without the English dialogue — But I kind of missed it anyway. The dialogue is something my mind can focus on, it’s something for my brain to process while my body is processing the postures.
Plus, BikramBell tried to give me instructions on a pose and I had to use seriously sweaty sign language to communicate I had NO idea what she was telling me. Eventually we made it work but I think I’d prefer the English classes if you’re in a different country.
So, to sum up:
- Address: Karoly Karut 1, Budapest (click here for map & instructions)
- Prizes: 2900 HUF for 10 days, 200 HUF towel/mat/water, 600 HUF coconutwater
- Dressing room: Big, with blowdryers.
- Lockers: Yes. Hearts.
- Showers: Meh. Only 3 and a weird system.
- Heating yoga room: Little electric heaters. Efficient and teacher paid attention to the heat and humidity of the room.
- Floor yoga room: Wood.
- Extras: Tea and carrot sticks in the lounge, fructose candy at the counter.
And that’s all folks. I can’t wait to go back and practice in my own studio but I like these little field trips into different yoga studios.
Ok, I need to go find a fridge or a substantial body of water to stick my head in. I am still in Hungary and it’s blistering hot out here. I know it’s terrible weather in the Netherlands so please throw me shade so I can sit under it. Talk soon – BYE.