Recently my friend Julia and I purchased Groupons for a month unlimited at a Bikram Yoga studio in our neighborhood. The Polar Vortex was in full force and if nothing else, it was a chance to sit in a heated room for an hour a day. We went, we got really warm, a lot more flexible, and I ended up breaking a shower tension rod… Read through for the play-by-play of our first week:
Walking into the room for the first time felt so nice in comparison to the bitter cold outside. I laid down my mat and towel and looked around. I can totally do this. I get through the standing postures and am feeling pretty good. We get to the floor and ballet mode kicks in and I’m down on the floor with my knees up. This is fine right? “Your knees need to stay ON the floor” the instructor looks panicked as if I will definitely tear something, so I immediately get back up. Crisis averted, and we continue. Then comes my second mistake. I drank water at a time I wasn’t supposed to. The instructor told us then when we should be drinking water…and two seconds later I realized why. The nausea set in and I had to sit down for a moment. I got back up and finished the class, went home, and fell straight asleep. I’ve totally got this.
New day, new instructor. I felt great all morning and I’m excited for class. We start class and I’m feeling good. I’m more flexible today. We get into some of the standing poses and I so do NOT have this. I’m sweating and can’t lock my knees. My muscles are all shaking and I’m dizzy. I sit down for a moment and will myself to get through class. As long as I stay in the room I’ve accomplished something. I’m back up. I’m starting to realize how much my ballet mind wants to stretch and how much my yoga class is about poses and not necessarily stretching. The rest of the class goes by without a major hitch, but I’m tired and definitely dragging. I go home, watch tv, and fall asleep.
Today is a snow day. I’ve been in bed ALL day and I do NOT want to go to class now. Julia calls and I go outside to dig out my car. At least three times during the process I decide I’m not going to class. I finally get my car out and pick up Julia and get to class two minutes late. Everyone is late, and we get into class and a wave of relief passes over me. The instructor says that we’ve all accomplished three things today, the first: Getting out of Bed; The Second: Coming to class; The Third: Staying in the room. Little does she know, I’ve accomplished all of those things within the last two hours. Class today felt better than any other. I remember all the instructors comments for each pose and try to dilligently follow them. By the end of class I’ve sweated more than I ever have in my entire life, and I get home and do chores for two hours before going to bed. I feel great.
I failed my challenge on the fourth day. There was really bad weather and it was Valentine’s Day. Instead I did a 30 minute workout at home. On the fifth day I failed even harder and stayed in hungover from Valentine’s Day and watched Sons of Anarchy on Netflix… I will be a born again yogi tomorrow. If the psuedo-virgins can do it, so can I.
Today I could feel that I had not had a real class in two days. My balance was off and I could not lock my knees for the life of me. I knew it was going to be an interesting class when during the first breathing exercise my bra strap popped off. I jerry-rigged it in-between poses and there were no indecent exposure problems, but it happened nonetheless. My focus was shot further when I realized that the realtor I screwed over when I moved in with an ex boyfriend for five days two years ago was standing in the front of the classroom. Small neighborhood! I started counting poses midway through to try to focus and had some minor success between making sure my top stayed put and trying not to fall out of tree pose (again). The saving grace of this particular class was camel pose. I’ve never been one to have a flexible back and today was the first day I was able to get past the first step in the pose! Maybe my back has a chance of getting stronger and more flexible after all…
While I did not go into the studio today, I had a similar experience in a less healthy way. I couldn’t make class because of a work event, and I had plans to go dancing afterwards. After work I headed to a bar to meet friends and share what is called a “Jeffrey”: Bacardi 151, 5 Hour Energy, Vieux-Carre Absinthe, chamomile syrup, grapefruit bitters, energy drink, pop rocks. There is even a disclaimer of “limit 2 per person”. After our drink we were ready to dance and walked to an event known as Tiger Beatz. As soon as we were inside I felt the now all too familiar sensation of sweat dripping down my back. We started to dance. And we danced. And we danced some more. I locked my knees to balance while drunk people bobbed to and fro around us, I stretched my back from side to side, and I even did a back bend or two while we were limbo-ing. When I could barely stand 3 hours later, I walked home, honestly more exhausted than any Bikram class, and fell right asleep.
My abs were incredibly sore from the preceding night’s festivities, but I’d been looking forward to getting back in the studio all day. The humidity was KILLER. I felt like I’d jumped in a pool by the time we STARTED our first breathing exercise. I was dizzy, I couldn’t keep my stillness in-between poses, and I generally felt uncomfortable. All of a sudden we turned to face the wall for wide-legged forward bend and something inside clicked (or maybe the fans weren’t turned off, I’m not sure which). I felt graceful moving through the rest of the standing series. I got camel pose again today! Although the second time around I swallowed right before the backbend and couldn’t stay back. One of the last poses, the hamstring stretch one, was my accomplishment for the day. I fell into the pose and felt the curve of my spine as well as the hamstring stretch. When we did a forward bend, for the first time since I was 15 I bent entirely in half – if only for a second or two. I counted 50 breaths for my savasanya and went to step into the shower before dollar taco night. I threw my sweat drenched towel over the curtain rod and stepped in. Mid-rinse, there was a giant clatter and the shower curtain rod was on the ground. My sweat was so heavy that it took the curtain rod literally off the wall. I quietly regathered my dignity, precariously put the rod back together, changed into clothes, and got the heck out of dodge!
***Julia and I continued on our journey for probably 15 out of the 30 days of the challenge. I bought a second Groupon for another two months at another Bikram studio in Center City while Julia joined an energy exchange with a studio that has several types of yoga. Stay tuned to the blog to see if I have any more funny experiences with sweaty yoga classes!***