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105 Degrees and the Awkward Pose: My First Bikram Yoga Class

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(Don't Be) Too Timid and Squeamish: 105 Degrees and the Awkward Pose: My First Bikram Yoga Class

Sunday, February 20, 2011

105 Degrees and the Awkward Pose: My First Bikram Yoga Class


I am sweating. A lot. 

I am in a 105-degree room with 40 percent humidity. I balance on my right foot and hold my left foot with my left hand. I lean forward and point my right arm straight ahead, raising and stretching out my left leg behind me and above my head. Or that’s the idea anyway. I am wobbly and dizzy and drop my leg to regain my balance, along with some of the other beginners in the back of the room.

I am trying Bikram Yoga (hot yoga) for the first time.

A little background would help at this point. I hate the cold and love the heat. Two stories come to mind. Once, while taking Tae Kwon Do lessons, it became a running joke among the huge men in my class to point out how little I was sweating. While huge drops splashed off them, they would point to my barely glistening forehead and laugh. Another time, I got into a baking-hot car in the summertime with my family. My husband secretly did a little experiment on me. He started driving down the street without cracking the windows or turning on the AC. I was reading a magazine and perfectly content. After lasting only a minute, he blurted out, “Are you kidding me?” I hadn’t noticed that it was hot.

OK, back to the yoga studio. I am sweating and dizzy. I find it hard to breathe at times. I push myself to my “edge,” but I worry I will fall over on some of the poses. 

Savasana
Savasana (Dead Body Pose)

The instructor guides us through 26 postures during the 90-minute class. The heat is said to help with flexibility and the cleaning process as the body flushes toxins from its system. 

By the end of the class, I am depleted. I am assured that all of this is normal for a beginner, and that I would get used to it if I did it regularly. Between many of the postures, we lie on our backs and rest in the Dead Body Pose. When we do it at the end for as long as we like, I am pleasantly melting into the floor.

Afterward, I am elated. Balance and flexibility aside, I absolutely love Bikram Yoga.

For hours, every cell in my body sings with joy.

Would I do it again? For just $2 extra, I agreed to a 10-day introductory offer, so I will be trying it at least one more time. I don’t think I will be doing it regularly because there are no studios that are less than half an hour from my house. Maybe I could do it once a week?

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