Monday, March 2, 2009

On Bikram Yoga

Last week I went to my first yoga class ever.  Unfortunately, naive me didn't think of researching exactly what kind of yoga I was getting myself into.  I envisioned relatively harmless downward facing dogs, warrior poses and feeling stretched, but not really having to work that hard.  


Bikram Yoga is 26 poses every single session, in a heated, humidified room.  It's like being in someone's mouth.  No, wait.  Hotter.  And since the yoga studio was in Harlem, the stench of BO (recently identified as dirty jockstrap/men's locker room/soiled kitty litter) that came as a punch in the face wasn't too much of a shock, even if it still made me want to vomit on my own shoes.  And that was just the holding area of the studio.  When you go in to the hot room, the stench intensifies and the humidity is nearly oppressive.  You start sweating as soon as the door is closed. 

And the poses are hard.  I suck at balancing, I have extraordinarily terrible flexibility, and when you try to trip your hand/leg/foot or whatever the pose requires, your hand slips because you are literally sweating out of every pore of your body.  

After our first session, my friend Stef and I walked back toward the subway in a kind of daze, unspeaking and just focusing on getting air into our lungs.  But upon recovery 5 minutes later, the feeling was amazing!  Some muscles were getting used and I had no idea they existed (well, okay I did--I majored in physiology. But I didn't know you could work them!).  Yoga--even stinky yoga--is exhilirating!  Which is why we went back on Sunday, are going back today, and will keep going until our one week unlimited pass expires.  

At which point I believe we'll start yoga-studio hopping, looking for new yoga studios (they're becoming ubiquitous in the city now) who are offering similar awesome deals ($20 for an unlimited week including a mat?  Hells yeah!) until we start earning money to justify the exorbitant cost of being a member of a yoga studio.

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