Bikram Yoga. A 90 minute Yoga class taught in a room heated to 40 °C (104 °F) with a humidity of 40%; and that just about sets the scene for you!
I’d always been interested in Yoga over the years but my mind was always too busy/messy/shouty to even entertain any sort of practice such as this. Little did I know it’s exactly what I needed.
Now that I’m working in Norwich through the week, I’m not doing Barre or Yoga now – my Zen is gone! However, I discovered a Bikram Yoga Studio 2 doors down, this I had to try.
Again, to those who know me well, I love a bit of torture! I love to push myself to the limit that is so uncomfortable that most people only experience when they stand on a plug. All in the name of health and fitness I tell myself (secretly knowing I’m a blatant sadist).
Last night was my 1st class. I walked into the studio 20 minutes early as requested to fill in the ‘You are liable for keeling over and dying, not us form’.
A class had not long finished and as I looked around, although there were a number of people there, it was silent. They looked destroyed. Really destroyed. I smiled at one girl but she just stared at me right in the eyes with a look of utter despair, as though to telepathically tell me not to do it – to save myself before it was too late!
There is no atmosphere of excitement, there’s no talking and I imagine pulling faces during class would have me removed from the premises. It’s best behaviour then.
The lovely lady at reception said I was free to go in the room early and ‘climatise’ and take a moment to meditate if I wanted. Yeah, why the hell not – get myself in the zone and all that. I walk in and set my mat out, place my towel down and imagine I’m on my holidays. very hot, but I’m coping.
I remember the rules and etiquette and I lie down in what they call Savasana (Corpse Pose ironically, and probably the only pose I did really well). Lying on my back, arms by my side, palms up, eyes closed and facing the back wall. We are to stay like that until the teacher arrives. No speaking.
The teacher informs me that if I can only do two things in today’s class: it would be to breathe and to stay in the room. I’m going to be honest, it was torturous but equally as exhilarating. The heat allows your muscles to stretch beyond their normal capacity, your mind is clear of anything other than the postures and breathing.
There were times when I really wanted to leave as my heart was racing, the sweat was pouring and I really felt like I was going to pass out. I didn’t and I was really pleased I didn’t because I felt cleansed, I felt calm, I felt like I had left all my inner torment behind. It had strangely given me some peace.
I went back for my 2nd class tonight.