Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gonna make you sweat.

I did a silly thing on Sunday. I waited too long to book my spot in a yoga workshop I really wanted to take, and it sold out. I pouted for a few minutes, then turned to the most nonsensical yoga fallback plan ever: Bikram.

As I told you here, I really struggled doing outdoor yoga on a 90° day. I was seriously rethinking the 5-class Bikram Groupon I bought impulsively, and even tried to sell it last week. Evidently all my Facebook friends thought it was spam, and I got no takers. Being cheap, I didn’t want to let it go to waste, and I started resigning myself to the fact that I might actually have to take at least one Bikram class to feel like I’d gotten my money’s worth. Financial incentives aside, I was really apprehensive about doing yoga in a 105° room. I also wasn’t enthused about the idea of wearing shorts and a sports bra in a room full of strangers and a huge mirror.

You know what? I did it, though. My regular instructor told me to hydrate like hell beforehand to prevent dizziness, so I made drinking water my mission that day. I downed about 60 ounces; I’d been going for 80, but ran out of time. Knowing my blood sugar like I do, I filled my bottle with half water, half orange juice. I grabbed a towel, tried not to think about being half-naked in public (says the girl who pulled up her shirt to show strange men her tattoo), and prepared to get my Bikram on.

“We who are about to die salute you,” I said to Red as I headed out.

“We who are about to rock,” he corrected me.

Initial thoughts: It was hella hot. I was not the nakedest person there. I was the most obviously tattooed. I was sweatier than I’ve ever been (holding Eagle Pose with slippery arms and legs is no joke!). All that drinking must have made a difference, because I only felt dizzy once. I tried to leave my ego at home and not have expectations about how much I’d be able to do, but I felt confident and strong. The instructor was very welcoming and encouraged me to do my best, although he didn’t do any of the asanas. Seriously, you can put a group of people through sweltering yoga boot camp, but you’re not gonna do it with us? Way to rest on those instructor laurels. Maybe I’m spoiled because my regular instructor always does asanas along with us, and I prefer that method of teaching.

I never thought I’d enjoy standing poses until the alternative was to be face-down on my sweat-soaked towel on my sweat-soaked yoga mat on a sweat-soaked floor. This may be a problem endemic to hot yoga studios, but the floor stank like week-old unwashed crotch. (Obviously, I’m assuming here, because my crotch-sniffing experience is limited.) I’m sure I smelled less than delicious myself, but damn, that funk stayed in my nose for two days.

Bikramites, tell me: What is with your obsession with locking elbows and knees? I don’t lock my joints on purpose, ever, and no teacher on Earth can convince me that it’s a good idea. Bikram, dude, you could be the second coming of Jesus Christ, I’m still not locking my joints for you. Why the insistence? Is it because you’re kind of a douchebag? I’m guessing so.

Bottom line: I survived, didn’t fall on my ass, honored my body and my limitations, and expanded my yoga horizons a little. I might do Bikram again, and I might not. Either way, I’ve overcome my apprehension about hot yoga, so I count that as a win.

A very sweaty namaste to you all!


  1. YAY! I'm glad your hot and sweaty yoga class was a success. It sounds like since you prepared for it you ROCKED IT OUT. Well done!

    I'm totally with you about locking joints. When it accidentally happens in yoga class it gives me the creeps. It feels so wrong, and like I'm really straining my body. Our teacher always warns us NEVER to do that. Eeee...I'm getting the shivers just thinking about it.

  2. You don't lock the JOINT, you lock the KNEE. That means you contract your quadriceps. Doing so actually protects the knee joint in standing balance poses. If you look in the mirror when you do this, you'll see your kneecap lift a little. It's not a matter of pushing your knee backwards, which can cause hyperextension and injury. It's a matter of locking the muscles around the knee. Hope that helps.

  3. I love eagle pose. It’s a great upper back and hip stretch. My yoga instructor, Leeann Carey says that it is one of the best balance poses. She has a free yoga video on eagle that you should really check out: