Off and on for the past few years, I’ve subjected myself to the hot box of fitness that is Bikram Yoga. After a breather, I pushed myself to a class yesterday. The truly scholarly refer to it as “your practice.” I practice Bikram, much in the way an elephant “practices” tight rope walking. Sadly the resemblances don’t end there, but thankfully, that isn’t the point.
It’s all about doing the best you can. When you are as athletically gifted as I (and when I say gifted…), that is a good thing. There are no false expectations, competitions, just a gentle guiding toward better health, actual feeling good and sometimes more.
Every class is taught like it is happening to you for the first time. This makes it good and bad, as your muscles do indeed have memories, and apparently potty mouths.
Once you set yourself past the fact that it is both 105 in the room and somebody else’s heating bill, you can start to slip into the familiar, 26 poses that well, beat you up productively. A friend worried about the heat. I don’t think much about it as, it doesn’t take long for the desert like perspiration to start setting in. The first foreword bend sets off a series of snap, crackles and pops that rivals the freshest breakfast cereal. A series of exercises stressing balance reminds me that I don’t have any. The stretches that follow start to make my lungs hurt as this is where first few classes have thrown me a little, but I persevere, hanging in there. All hope might not be lost as I am able to even assume the tree pose with minimal resemblance to a weeble.
The second half of the class is down on the mats and one pose does have you laying on your stomach, trying to lift everything you can off the ground. Everytime an instructor says to “imagine yourself a bird,” my thoughts tend to go penguins as like them I apparently am not made to fly.
But after 90 melting minutes, I got through it and will head back for more later this week. It’s a bit torturous, and like that commercial with Charles Barkley, I’m not there for the higher consciousness, I’m there because a beer tonight would taste really good.
And it does seem to allow that.