Thursday, September 20, 2012

I tried Bikram Yoga and survived!

I know, I know, it's been 4 1/2 years.  I'm giving this a teensy little shot.  If anyone out there checks this out, there is no telling how long it will last.  But as I have recently tried something new and my husband is working too late to listen to me yammer on about it, well.... here's my other option.

And here's what I'd like to share (not to worry, most posts won't be this long):

Tuesday, September 18:
I first heard about Bikram Yoga (or Hot yoga) some time ago.  It sounded interesting, but I didn’t think it was for me.  Well, I decided after we moved from Colorado to Maryland this past April (and then 4 months later, Virginia) that I needed to DO some things.  We lived in Colorado for 5 years and only went skiing one day, whereas we used to go for a week at a time.  In Colorado, we never went on a single hike, though we used to do that, too.  We spent most of our vacation time flying back East to visit family for weddings, births, funerals, and general holidays (we love visiting family!).  And I let that be an excuse for not joining a gym (we’re already going to be out of town a lot), or planning weekend getaways (at some point we have to clean the house, do the laundry, work on projects).  Enough!

I went last night and tried Bikram Yoga.  For those unfamiliar, this is a 90 minute yoga class held in a room that is maintained at 105 – 108 degrees F with relative humidity of 78-82% (or so said the instructor, Reggie).  The heat of the room is to really warm up your body and muscles to increase your flexibility and range of motion (something my body could really use). 
The website said that newcomers should get there about a half an hour early to get signed in, etc.  So I did.  That took about 5 minutes.  And then I was told to go change if needed, and get set up in the yoga room (where, once you enter, you must maintain complete silence).  I was already changed, so I headed in.  I think I should have just set my stuff up and left until closer to class time as, whoa, nearly 2 hours in a room with 105 degrees and outrageous humidity was a bit much!
The class itself:  I repeat the most important part; I survived.  Yes, I got light-headed a few times.  Yes, I felt like throwing up a few times.  But I made it through. 
(Okay, I confess, I tried to leave at one point when I thought I would pass out and I was chastised a bit – the instructor had failed to mention at the beginning of the class that the biggest goal any newcomer should have is just to STAY in the room the whole time.  So, upon being told to go sit back down on my mat, I did.  And I just breathed and tried not to die.  I was successful.)
Every Bikram yoga class apparently takes you through the exact same series of breathing exercises and poses.  The poses early on were not terribly difficult, although I wasn’t as steady as most who have achieved better balance.  I was okay with that.  I really started struggling about mid-way through.  After my failed attempt to leave, I sat and just tried to breathe until I wasn’t so lightheaded and then I’d try whatever pose they were on.  For a while, I did at least one of each cycle or series.  Then, towards the end, the lightheadedness was hanging on a bit more, so I missed a couple poses altogether.  At the very, very end I joined in and gave it my all.  And then a lovely gal came around with towels soaked in cool water and lavender or something totally refreshing and I just lay there and didn’t die. 
I am really proud of myself for getting up the gumption and going.  I am more proud of myself that I made it through the class.  I am relieved I had enough left to hold on to the steering wheel to make it home.  And I am planning to go back tonight.  Crazy?  Perhaps.  But I am determined. 
Thoughts?  Recommendations? Cheers are welcome, too! (Encouragement goes a long way!)

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