Wednesday, March 26, 2014

First Time at Bikram Yoga - Hot Sweaty Mess

My professional career is dedicated to supporting small businesses and in my personal life I love a new experience.  So, I decided to give the new Bikram Yoga studio a try.  Some of you might be asking, "What is Bikram Yoga?" and I am happy to explain.  Bikram,  is a yoga practice with two distinctions:  the room is heated to 105 degrees and you progress through 26 poses. You can count on these two standard features in all Bikram yoga classes.  The decision to try Bikram was easy, I love yoga  and I have been freezing my keister off since January.  A bit of heat was welcomed.

I called ahead and reserved a spot then waited with great anticipation for my practice on my mat.  The studio was beautiful and owner delightful.  I registered and for the first time put my special someone as my  emergency contact...awwww, how cute.  For the record, that is where the cuteness of this Bikram yoga experience ended.

They are not kidding, the room is hot.  But for me it is a great hot, humid air.  I set up and was a bit shocked with my surroundings.  In addition to yoga mats everyone had towels and very little clothing on their bodies.  Let's unpack each of these from my experience.

Everyone had towels, both covering their mats and additional hand towels at the ready.  I wondered why and had the sinking feeling I would not like the fate of my lack of preparation.  Approximately 30 minutes into my practice I had my answer, as the River Nile of sweat starting running down my mat.  Soon we were doing poses that required grabbing of body parts.  Normal yoga class, no problem.  Yoga class where every pore of my body was sweating, big slipping problem - a hand towel would be been, well, handy.  Did you know that the backs of your ankles can sweat?  I learned that the tops of my shoulders can sweat.  A woman in front of me, she lifted her leg for tree pose and sweat was pouring out of the bottom of her foot.  I didn't even know that was possible.  Note to self, bring towels.

No one wears a whole lot of clothing to Bikram.  Before class started guys already had their shirts off and women were wearing bikinis. Just for the record if you are thinking "hmmmm...guys without shirts and girls in bikinis - get me to Bikram now!" let me tell you, nothing is sexy in Bikram - read on. I was thrilled to be appropriately dressed.  Very light shorts, sports bra, tank top.  Let's fast forward to the middle of class where I have sweated so much my tank top looks like the Shroud of Turin from wiping my face so often.  And as we approached 60 minutes my tank was so wet I needed to take it off.  For someone who doesn't really like to show off her abs, I whipped off that tank without a care in the world.  My good friend Dannielle Pearson will be thrilled to hear I had on a cute little sports bra that matched my shorts. Shorts that might have also come off is they were not lined, if you get my drift.

I had done a bit of research on the poses of Bikram and I was quite confident as I had previously done them with great success.  However,  Bikram, without a towel, is like extreme yoga as you balance in the River Nile in the rain.  But, certain poses were actually easier because rather than struggle you slip right into them on your own sweat.  For instance, Supta VajraIn is normally a challenge but I slipped right in and went far beyond my normal reach.  The instructor actually commented on how flexible I was, little did he know, my feet slipped out from under me and I landed perfectly in the pose.

However, there was one pose that was particularly disgusting given my commitment to hygiene and  lack of towels.  It was time for Salabhasana and I was lying on my stomach and instructed to put my face down and kiss the mat.  I realized I had just been standing with naked feet in that very spot which was also covered in sweat.  No, I was not kissing that. I was not going to test the power of the universe to protect me from cooties - even my own. We were led into Shivasana several times.  For the record, I do love the practice of death.  The instructor had corrections telling me to keep my feet together or something.  Dude, I am practicing for death in a puddle of sweat and I am pretty sure hallucinating.

After class was over I was sure of three things - I had made it through, I could not wear my current attire home as I was drenched, and I had nothing to change into but the sweat pants I had worn in.  I slipped into the bathroom, took off all my clothes, and went home in nothing but that pair of sweat pants and my ski jacket.  Completely commando - a first for Princess.  By the time I got home, yep, I had sweated through the ski jacket.

While a comedy as only I would create, I did feel absolutely amazing.  Mind and body clear and renewed.  With a few towels and well planned sweat management system I will return and enjoy the class even more than I did this first time around.  So thank you to the Bikram Yoga Studio in Doylestown.  A fantastic experience and look forward to joining you again.

1 comment:

  1. What a riot. I practiced yoga in a hot studio about 15 years ago at Kripalu. It was too hot. Thanks for letting me know about the studio in Doylestown! Glad you enjoyed the experience and were renewed.