I finally got around to taking the yoga class I’ve been telling myself I should try for years, and I went to Bikram, because I like to be sweaty and thought it would be fun. “Fun” isn’t the right word, but it was good.
Bikram yoga – any Bikram class you go to anywhere in the world is the same – is 26 poses performed in a 90 minute class, in a room heated to 105 degrees F with 45% humidity, which leaves you CRAZY drenched in your own sweat by the end. It’s hard, but doable, which is the key for me to doing anything athletic. Still, after the first class, I thought, “all right then, never again BECAUSE I AM SO GROSS RIGHT NOW.”
But I’d paid for the intro week, so I went to another class, and then another, and on Sunday morning I woke up early and did my fourth class of the week, and in THAT class, something slid into place for me. I nailed this one pose that I had allllmost gotten previously. My achy right hip started to feel really good for the first time in a decade, which is huge for me. Epic. I am amazed at how strong I feel, both mentally and physically. It’s incredible.
There’s one weird thing, though: you kind of have to wear skimpy clothing; it’s just way too uncomfortable and hot otherwise. I’ve been doing short, tight shorts and a sports bra which I felt self-conscious in, until I just… didn’t. Because who cares? The class is so intense that no one is looking at anyone but themselves, and no one is judging my love handles. And if they are, you know, eff ‘em. I’ve gone through hell recently; strangers seeing the chubby bits around my middle and stretch marks on my hips don’t matter.
And I’m not THAT chubby any more, which I keep forgetting, honestly. The yoga studio has mirrors on two walls, and in my third class, I caught a glimpse of a reflection of a reflection of the lady behind me mid-class. Her arm in the air looked so strong and impressive, and her shoulder was so pretty. I got annoyed; she was wearing the exact same Target sports bra as me but looked so much better in it. Then I realized the double mirrors were distorting my vision, and I was actually seeing my own strong muscles, shapely shoulder, and graceful pose.
So! If you’re thinking about trying Bikram and needed someone to nudge you, consider this your encouraging words. I’m not sure now if I’m committed to going long-term, but I’m really glad I tried.