Bikram (Hot) Yoga

I couldn’t think of what exactly to blog about tonight, so I decided to take a peek at today’s NoBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) prompt to see if I could find some inspiration.  The theme of NaBloPoMo August 2013 is “hot,” so all of the prompts somehow relate to that.  And today’s prompt just so happened to relate to me, so here it goes:

Have you ever done hot yoga? What was your experience?

Yes.  Yes I have.  Here’s the story.

During my semester abroad in London, there was a Bikram (Hot) Yoga studio that I’d pass every day on my way to and from my internship.  The studio always had a steady stream of health-conscious, vegan types going in and out of its doors and the steam emanating from inside would fog up the windows until they were completely white and opaque.  Needless to say, I was intrigued.  I wanted to try Bikram Yoga out because: (1) I hadn’t really been getting much (any) exercise in London, unless you count walking to and from various tube stations and (2) having new and exciting experiences abroad was a major personal goal of mine.

The Bikram studio had a promotion where new members paid £20 for a 20-day membership.  Though, the catch was that it had to be 20 consecutive days.  (There’s always something.)  After doing some mental math, I decided that this was still a great deal and resolved to begin Bikram Yoga one day after work.  The fact that I had never even done regular yoga before this (and probably should have) didn’t cross my mind once.

When the big day came, I made sure I ate no sooner than two hours before the class I was attending and drank the recommended full liter of water beforehand.  I went into the studio, signed up, and proceeded to get ready to get my yoga on.  I wasn’t sure what to expect:  I knew it would be hot, the website said the room would be warmed to 40 degrees Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit), and I knew there would be stretching  (That’s all yoga is anyway, right?), but nothing, I repeat NOTHING prepared me for what I experienced that day.

The room wasn’t just hot, it was an inferno fresh from the pits of hell.  And we weren’t just stretching, we were contorting our bodies into shapes and positions that I didn’t think were humanly possible.  I kid you not when I say that I had to sit down twice in the middle of the 90 minute yoga class for fear of passing out.  It took all of my willpower not to flip the yoga instructor the bird and walk the heck out of there.  I thought I was going to die.  Meanwhile, all the super yogis are all mind-and-body-are-one, with their six-packs glistening and the like.

As I stumbled back to the tube station for my long ride home, I could’ve kicked myself (if I had any real control over my limbs) for putting my poor, out-of-shape, non-flexible body through that torture.  Though, as I sat guzzling my water and waiting to reach my stop, I realized something: I FELT GREAT!  Even though I had been sweating profusely, I felt so much cleaner and lighter.  It was as if I had been completely detoxified.  I was actually excited by the thought of going back and getting to feel that way again, just not tomorrow…

I ended up going to Bikram Yoga about 4 more times within my 20 days, which means I wound up spending £4 per class, which wasn’t bad at all.  The second time I went, I didn’t have to sit down at all during the entire class.  The third time, the instructor commended me on my form for one of the poses. The fourth time, there was this gorgeous man/super yogi, whom I had never seen before, but I managed to fall madly, hopelessly in love with him during that one class.   The fifth time wasn’t very memorable (as gorgeous man/super yogi was absent).

All in all, I’m really glad I tried Bikram Yoga.  It was tough, but it was an experience that I’m certain I will never, ever forget.

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