Bikram Yoga - a first impression

In the name of better health and fitness I have ventured into the unkown (to me) world of Bikram Yoga.

What is Bikram Yoga? It consists of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. The kicker is that you bend and twist into these postures while basting in a 105º room with high humidity for a total of 90 minutes.

So why would I want to do something that would simulate me being rotisseried? I suffer from back pain and did alot of research on what types of exercises would help my condition and this type of yoga kept popping up.

I signed up for classes last week. Here are my first impressions.

I arrived about 45 minutes early to sign up and do the paperwork. I also had to sign a release that reiterated this was my idea and if I pulled or hurt something and that they wouldn't be liable. I put my shoes in the cubby, bought a yoga mat and played a bit with the owner's dog who has 4 names and the only one I can rememer is 'Cashew'.

Go time! I met the instructor and another newbie. We headed towards the HOT room. I put both of my 32oz. water bottles next to me, layed out the mat, placed my towel on top of that and sat quietly with my legs crossed indian style and observed. There are large mirrors towards the front and right side of the room. The rule is that the newbies sit in the back, the "yogis" and "yoginis" in the front.

The instructor stands on a small stage looking at the class and presents the newbies by name. She explains that she will not be doing the poses but saying the poses and exercises. The newbies are is to observe those in the front but also look @ the mirror and be our own teachers. But realistically only expects the new kids in class to just be able to stay in the room for 90 minutes.

We're told to do some deep breathing exercises. It's at this point I notice a wet dog smell in the room. I wrinkle my nose and shake my head thinking they should keep 'Cashew' out of this area. I do the first couple of exercises, stay out some, do a couple other exercises, stay out more!

I feel dizzy, I'm sweating like I've never sweat before; not even when I used to be in a dance group back in the day and practiced 6 hrs straight! I sit back down and I'm in a daze yet in an awe at some of those in front. These human pretzels! I wonder how long it took them to do that pose! Ouch! Ooh! Awe!

I attempt to do some more poses. When at some point I start going through the five stages of grief. 1- Denial and Isolation (I can do this! I hope no one is looking @ me. I suck!) 2- Anger (Why did I sign up for this! I'm not a teenager anymore! I shouldn't have fallen for this.) 3- Bargaining (God, I swear to you if you get me out of this I'll recycle more! Give to the poor! Stop swearing!) 4- Depression (I want to cry, I want my mommy, how long 'til it's over?!) 5- Acceptance (What? It's over already? I survived it! That wasn't too bad, it's for my health you know.)

Since then I've gone back. Yes, I'm nuts. LOL. Each time it gets...not 'easier' but you're able to accomplish more. No, it's not fun, but yes, it does make me feel better. I've learned that if I put my mind to something I can achieve what I thought was impossible. I'm on my way to a better me. I'm a nicer person when I'm not in constant back pain. And that 'wet dog' smell is actually human stank! Not pretty, but well worth it.

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