Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bikram Yoga

So, until last night I was a Bikram Yoga virgin. I am currently on a cleanse so I am interested in different forms of detoxifying my bod.  Little did I know how detoxifying this class would really be!  

First, I check in.  Give a hug to my friend who coaxed me to the studio, and she introduces me to our instructor. I then move to a small room with a wall of cubbies where I all stash my stuff and strip down to the most minimal clothing I am comfortable wearing in public-which for this event is a tank top and running shorts.  I head into a dim room, lay my yoga mat and towel out on the floor, and I join the group of 20+ stretching in silence (the group includes the stereotypical, small, hairy guy in a speedo). This room is heated to 102 degrees. 102 degrees. 102 degrees.

It's not bad at first as we start by doing breathing exercises to "warm our throats," but by 20 minutes into increasingly challenging standing postures, when the heat begins to feel like as stuffy 200 degrees instead of a measly 102, I have sweat burning my eyes and pouring down my arms.  Not the kind of sweat I get from running in Oregon, but the kind of sweat you would experience in Houston, Texas in August if you were running a marathon as fast as you can. 

At this juncture, I start thinking of the controversy surrounding Mr. Bikram himself at the moment (be sure to look him up and learn about his current sex scandal), and I begin hating him.  Hating his stupid idea of doing yoga in a ridiculously hot room.  Hating the now-sweaty, hairy guy in speedos. Hating the perma grin on the woman with the yoga-perfect body and a little less sweat than I behind me in the mirror.  Then the instructor allows us to have a sip of water.  My hate lessens and I attempt to refocus.

We do "tree pose."  In this standing posture my foot is supposed to perch on my opposite inner thigh with my arms extended over my head.  Under normal circumstances, this pose is cake for me, but currently my legs and feet are so slippery with sweat that I fall over.  I continue to excel at "fallen tree pose" until we move on to floor postures that bend my runner's knees in ways that they absolutely do not like.  So, I improvise.  

Apparently, Bikram teachers do not like improvisation from students.  At all.  After this discovery, I just sit quietly feeling the sweat stream down my back into my shorts, trying not to pass out until the knee killer poses were finished.

I survive the 90 minute workout and actually succeed at most postures. My clothing is as wet as though I had jumped in a lake (which would be amazing at this point).  My towel is like I just pulled it out of the rinse cycle.  My face is red and my skin glowing.  

After I drink about a gallon of water, I sit in my comfortable 40 degree car and evaluate my being. I feel amazing.  Truly cleansed and stretched and internally calm. I then stop by the market to pick up limes and mineral water, and the check out girl tells me I smell like vanilla. (Is she hitting on me?) I laugh and told her I doubt it because I just came from an intense yoga class.  But, I think about it for a second.  I sweated so much of my stinky self out that maybe I really DO smell like vanilla!  Maybe under all of that cheese and bourbon I have a vanilla bean core!  I never would have found my true vanilla-scented self if I hadn’t finally given in to my friend who’s been pestering me for over three years to try Bikram.  This time, apparently, she asked me at the right moment.  I slept better last night than I have in months.  Almost 9 hours.

Today I am sore.  Sore hips, sore quads, sore lower back, sore shoulders.  But I feel good: calm still, which is good because cleansing can certainly bring out my inner fire; quite detoxified, both internally and externally; and apprehensively hopeful as I look ahead to my next Bikram class.  And there is still a hint of vanilla floating around...

 Happy New Year!!!

1 comment:

  1. Love it! I have wanted to try this for some time, but you do sort of need a friend to drag you along, don't you? There's a studio a block from my house and I can always find a good excuse not to go. I believe I would experience the same rage you did, but in the end it would be nice to sweat down to my core essence, which is, I suspect, the scent of Trade Joe's Peppermint Jo-Jos.