This is the story of how last night I landed in that 100,000 degree yoga class I swore I would never go to. How I made it through without waking up to the eyes of a paramedic I will never know.
It was 6 pm. I just got off the train from NYC and was heading to my suburban NYSC gym for a spin class when I got a call from Vi, my gym buddy. Vi said, Joann (her sister and my other gym buddy) wanted to try the 7:30 Bikram yoga instead — that they were having some trial special.
Not the hot yoga? I asked. Yup, that's the one. I had to pull over. This did not sound appealing. I wanted to say no, but I said yes. My high heels were killing me and I needed coffee first, so I stopped at Starbucks. First problem. You never drink coffee before hot yoga. The woman at the desk looked horrified when I walked in with the cup. It raises your heart rate she said.
Now I'm horrified, since this seems like a very bad thing right now. You didn't eat recently, did you? she asked. Well, I did not get the memo on yoga protocol between the train and the class, so yes, I just had a banana shake on the train that was one of the four meals allowed on my Diets4idiots first day.
I now notice that people are practically naked sitting in the hallway and I am already feeling hot. Has anyone ever died in here? I pay, grab my towel, and head to change and some girl yells that I am not allowed to walk in there in heels. We don't want pebbles in our mouths she said. Pebbles in our mouths????? Holy Zen. Second infraction...you need to leave your shoes at the door. Good thing they don't give out yoga tickets.
In the dressing room I am even hotter and I change into leggings and a workout top. I feel overdressed. Joann comes in and we exchange that "This is looking like a bad idea" glance and now I am asking 500 questions to an extremely fit girl who seems to be a pro. Vi comes and we all go into the room and lay down mats and towels way in the back. You're supposed to be able to look at yourself in the mirror.
I cannot tell you how hot it was in there. And...it was more crowded than usual, the girl said, so it was hotter than usual. I am freaking out and want to flee. We start nervous laughter and are told to be silent. The only thing I can say from here on is that I somehow survived. At one conscious point I caught a glance of myself in the mirror and looked like a crawling rabid racoon. Note: Don't bother wearing makeup to Bikram yoga.
I did think I was going to lose it at one point but was encouraged to hang in there. I felt bizarre and the instructor said they call it being "yoga stoned." I mistakenly thought yoga was relaxing not torture.You'd think one of those million people worldwide who do this would have mentioned this to me. But
I did find out this is very cleansing, and an extremely unique way to become physically and spiritually balanced and sound.
Will I go again? The "special" was for an entire week. I'm just starting to cool off today so I'll let you know.
For the record here's the Wikipedia description:
Bikram Yoga, also known as Hot Yoga, is a style of yoga developed by Bikram Choudhury and a Los Angeles, California based company. Bikram Yoga is ideally practiced in a room heated to 105°F (40.5°C) with a humidity of 40%. Classes are guided by specific dialogue including 26 postures and two breathing exercises. Classes last approximately 90-minutes. People of all levels, ages and body types practice and start together as this is a beginning yoga class. Choudhury, the self-proclaimed "Yogi to the Stars", lives in Beverly Hills and teaches at the Yoga College of India in Los Angeles.Hollywood, people have been swearing by Bikram yoga for decades. Choudhury lists Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Candice Bergen and Brooke Shields among his famous followers.