Bikram Yoga Phuket, is the premiere studio on the island, conveniently located smack bang in the island's centre, Kathu district, which means no matter which popular coastal tourist destination you choose to stay at (be it the beautiful old area of Phuket Town, or bustling modern beaches of Patong and Kamala) you can easily arrive at the studio with a trusty moped. If however, you are like me, and prefer not to take one of the highest death totalities in Thailand as a form of transport there, just jump on a super cheap bus, or grab a pricier taxi. Better still, stay in the nearest accommodation, Pop Apartments, literally located around the corner from the studio. Pop Apartments are simple, affordable and with friendly staff - though not located near any beach. See website here: www.popapartmentphuket.com
At the studio, classes run four times a day at 7am, 9am, 5pm and 7pm. The instructors are great - all trained by the guru of Bikram Yoga (Bikram Choudry is the US based Indian yogi champion who invented this distinctive heated stretching combination) in LA - where loads of celebs have caught the craze like Elle Macpherson, George Clooney, Jessica Alba. What's so special about Bikram's yoga compared to the multitude of other styles offered on the island are the soaring temperatures - Hatha poses performed in a super heated room. This means you typically burn between 500-1000 calories per class, (see this calculator for your exact count: www.bikram-yoga-noosa-australia.com/weight-loss-and-yoga.htm) and are stretching limbs further than you could without added heat. The studio has showers with complementary towel and locker use. Mats and class towels are also provided. A fridge full of refreshing drinks is available for much needed rehydration, and chilled fresh coconuts for nature's best electrolyte drink after class.
On my visit, Judes was my very friendly Australian instructor. She's taught worldwide for five years prior to landing the Phuket gig. Bikram Choudry actually asked her to come to this dream destination - but who needs asking? In class, I could certainly understand why Judes was privileged with such a request. The class dialogue is 90 minutes and is the same the world over, and it's in English (two reasons why this is one of the best travelling exercises. You know exactly what you're in for.) Classes will differ slightly with individual deliverance of the script by different instructors, so the calming energy from one teacher may be a very different experience from an energetic deliverance of another - which I guess is also subject to the speakers mood. Judes technique exudes energy and confidence. Definitely try to make one of her classes. She references the heart often and the benefits from different postures for it. When she is telling you what to do, Judes transcends a vibrancy you will find hard not to take away. It also means that when your fitness is tested and you want to die (believe me - you will get that feeling) it's possible to just focus on her voice, and forget the pain (umm...well sort of - mostly!)
These days it's not just health freaks flocking to Phuket to experience the many wellness holiday packages on offer, so if you want to turn your trip into one that leaves you feeling amazing, just ad one or two classes of Bikram. My advice: take a class in the morning, drink from an island coconut, then go enjoy Phuket's abundant activities on offer.