Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bikram Yoga Day 1

Bikram Yoga. 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. One class is 90 minutes in length and is practiced in a room that is heated to 105 degrees with 40% humidity. Yes, heated. Just standing in the room, you start to sweat.

I first learned about Bikram from Kate's blog post about showing up. When I first read of her experience, my reaction was a mixture of a copious amount of intrigue, a dash of apprehension, and a smidgen of fear.

I've done yoga before. Last October, at my library. Before that, never. So, what do I do now that my interest has been sparked, my curiosity piqued?

I looked it up, of course. Researched what kind of yoga it was, and the benefits.

I got excited. I talked about it to my mom. And with my French lover. I think I even talked about it to my fur-babies!

I finally participated in my first Bikram Yoga class yesterday. My, oh my, was it intense! On my way to the studio, I could feel the excitement and anticipation all throughout my body. It was as if my body was singing it's joy and happiness that we were about to embark on an adventure that's only outcome was positive.

When I first walked into the room, I first noticed the heat. It was HOT! Well, yeah of course it is. I started wondering if I could make it through my first class. When I was registering, Lori (or Lora, I can't quite remember her name!) explained that the goal of a first time student is to just stay in the room for the entire class. I took a deep breath, and thought"I can do this". I took up residency in the back row, by a window and a humidifier. As I looked around the room, there were a few students stretching, and I decided to follow the lead of some other students and lay down; which I later found out is appropriately named corpse pose, or savasana.

As I was laying there, I checked in with myself. "How are you feeling?" I was nervous. Nervous because of the heat, nervous about of my wrist, most of all I was nervous of the other students. If they were going to be critiquing me and analyzing how I did each yoga pose. I was acutely aware of my breath and my heartbeat. I could also feel the coolness of the water mist on my leg as the humidifier silently released vapors into the air.

Then class started. We warmed up. (Warm up? That was a warm up? Who warms up in a heated room????--I had these exact thoughts) I recognized some of the poses, and my favorite, the eagle, even made an appearance. There were new poses. There were poses I used to do when I was younger, before I even knew what yoga was. I even got complimented on my rabbit pose! Now that is a boost of confidence.

I had two prevalent thoughts during my first class. The second thought I had while laying in savasana during the middle of class. I thought I wasn't sweating enough (who thinks they aren't sweating enough in a heated room???) The first thought? When I was in standing bow pulling pose (or Dandayamana-Dhanurasana in Sanskrit), I looked at myself in the mirror. I mean I really looked. I took in my strong shoulders, and the flush of my face, and my prominent calf muscle. It was then that I realized that this isn't just yoga. It's a meditation. A meditation of self-love.

I feel that this was something big to realize, especially during my first ever Bikram class. I know that there is more to this then just practicing yoga in a hot room. What I have read about this yoga "healing you from the inside out", may very well be true. I think this is why I am hooked, and plan on going back.

I signed up for the studio's introductory special-10 days of unlimited yoga for $20. I will be there everyday. I also plan on documenting my adventure here. My second class is this evening, and I find myself excited, a little nervous again, and looking forward to the heated room and the feeling of my muscles stretching and singing once more.

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