Hot in the City


I have never been mistaken for being athletically gifted. Playing kickball in grade school, my best position was play-by-play. I get by, but I did strike out once playing softball, and who does that?

One spot where us arm-chair quarterbacks, and others, can get some health quickly is a Bikram Yoga studio. After a mostly annoying illness two years ago, I was looking to get a little more serious about my health as I descend into my still good looking middle 40s. I caught an article about Bikram Yoga. What interested me is that it wasn’t led by some headphone wearing gestapo telling us “We needed to push harder” for reasons passing understanding. It was all about helping yourself for the sake of helping yourself. Fitness for the sake of fitness, not for keeping up with the yahoo on the next treadmill.

For the unitiated, Bikram is the “Hot Yoga,” 26 different exercises done in a room heated to 105 degree on average. That, right there, is what freaks people out. The first time I went in, I did gasp a little, but much like the cold swimming pool, you do get used to it.

You don’t have to be perfect, best effort is all you need to see rewards. Over the course of six months or so, I could feel differences in my abilities, tiny ephiphanies that I was getting better. Sometimes the 90 minutes seems like 900, but it is hard to deny the benefits.

I had to stop for reasons largely financial and just resumed over Memorial Day weekend. I had been looking for cheap avenues from the JCC, to the fitness 19 folk, but I caught a special to head back to the newly renamed EvolationYoga on Elmwood Ave. My inner editor wants to tell them they are spelling Evolution wrong.

Four classes into my second stint, I am still figuratively crawling out of class, but I can also notice changes right away. I am still a largely graceless bull in a tiny china shop as far as skills go, but the complete body threatening, er, workout has immediate results. And nobody is judging so skill level doesn’t matter. It’s one of the few things where you get credit by showing up.

It’s not the humidity, it is the heat. Took a class Saturday and thought it was raining in there, turns out it was just me.

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