So… I signed up to voluntarily enter a torture chamber… eeerrrrr, I mean hot yoga yesterday. I attended classes for about four months about a year and a half ago, then life kinda got in the way and I fell off. I literally missed it immediately and I can honestly say that I have never felt more strong (stronger?) in my entire life, than I did when I was practicing. That being said, I would like to share my Bikram experience with you. There is a lot about Bikram Choudhury, the person, that I do not like. Frankly, he seems to be a misogynistic prick. Not the kind of guy that I would choose to be around. Because of that, I explored other hot yoga (non Bikram) studios in my area. What I found was a sort of “Bikram light”. Not that these places aren’t good, I’m sure they are quality establishments. For some, the shorter classes and rooms that are 10-15 degrees cooler, might be desireable. I decided however, that I would return to the studio where I found my beginning. I chose Jeff Rangel as my first class mostly because of his laid back non-judgmental style. Bikram is NO JOKE. Not only is the physical act demanding, but the instructors can be BRUTAL! There is definitely a “no crybabies allowed” vibe. It is not their job to feel sorry for you, nor is it their job to make you like them. Their purpose is to make sure that you are executing the poses safely and correctly to avoid injury and receive maximum benefits and to push you to be better with each experience. Some instructors have taken this to a whole other level. There might be yelling and “instruction” that borders on insulting… again, no crybabies allowed.
I went early enough to be able to sit in the room for about ten minutes prior to class starting. I wanted to get acclimated to the heat. Mind you, my goal for my first day back was to be able to stay in the room for the duration of class. No problem, right? Wrong! The very first time I attended a class, I ran for the door about 60 minutes in. I felt faint and nauseous. I came back in, though and the next class was a bit easier and I stayed in the whole time. The next milestone was to at least be able to attempt every pose… we’ll get to that later. I felt amazing as class began. I was back! I was focused on myself in the mirror and was correcting and adjusting each pose as I went. Following Jeff’s directions; clenching the thigh muscles, pushing my hips forward, keeping my weight on the heels of my feet, taking care to align my hips and shoulders. I was DOING it! He even remarked “you haven’t missed a beat, Jenny!”. Oh sweet Jesus! He complimented my efforts, for joy! Uhhh, you just wait, Jeff… There’s more coming, and it’s going to look a little more like a shit show. I kept going… I’m super glad that he complimented me on pose three, because by pose five, I almost died. Yep. I’m pretty sure I saw the grim reaper himself pass behind me in the mirror. I took a knee. This felt a little like defeat, but then I reminded myself of my original goal… to stay in the room. I stood again. I wrapped my arms in knots, I squatted and twisted my legs like ropes. I stood there, sweat dripping from EVERYWHERE and felt strong again. I didn’t even notice the contorted flab of my upper arms, I was THAT focused. Again… I was DOING it! Somewhere in the next few poses, I lost my mojo again. I’m fairly certain that it could have been found in the pool of sweat that was steadily collecting at my feet. I took a knee. I was pretty checked out for the rest of the class. Sips of water and focusing on not passing out is what became my main job. Then… when I thought I couldn’t stand it any longer… SAVASANA. Yes! I made it! And I didn’t die!!! Ok, I’m being dramatic, people don’t die from hot yoga. Do they?
The after effects of my first few classes are as intense as the class itself. I am exhausted on a whole new plain, for starters. Next is the headache. Hydration is key and I was prepared but this is one hell of a detox and my body was telling me exactly how much “tox” it needed to be rid of. A few glasses of water laced with sea salt helped. I went to bed and slept like the dead. Literally the best sleep I’ve had in months… maybe even since I last practiced. That is my day one experience back in the hot and humid torture chamber commonly referred to as Bikram Yoga… and I’m looking forward to my next class.
Swearing Mom out.