death by yoga

bikram yoga for most average people (like me) is a death defying exercise set of 26 arduous flexibility & strength fostering poses. for the super human, these poses seem to be as comfortable as i am with pepperoni pizza. i found out about bikram yoga a little over a year ago. my good friend otilia said, "regina, you Have to try this". you don't know otilia but she is highly convincing. she went into this long story about the health benefits of the "heat". stop. code red. heat? she goes on to tell me that these 26 poses are done over 90 minutes (that's right, Ninety) in a Heated room. serious?!

let me just say at the onset that i Love being healthy. it's actually common nature for me to cook from scratch & buy fresh. when it comes to exercise, i was tennis team captain, i love long walks and hikes & even used to run cross country because it created dilignce in me (totally Ridiculous, but it is true). i'm not afraid of a little hard work. but i have to say, my european ancestry kicks in when it comes to the gym or organized workouts. i like to get my steps in by walking naturally... like parking my car far & walking into the store or taking long strolls with friends. i Completely Abhor the gym in the sense that it is this place where people wear crazy outfits & pump weights. but i'm a girl, so maybe this is appealing to boys. i don't get why you would go inside to Sweaty Grossness when you could be in the beauiful outdoors with forests & trees. plus (nerd alert), to me, so much of who you are is on the inside - our obession with the exterior is nuts. i mean, eat in moderation, walk or swim to keep your heart healthy & then go live life! there must be joie de vivre! i personally try to lift my tomato sauce cans like weights when i unpack them from my grocery sac. :) anyhow, i digress. all this to say, Clearly you see that i'm not into step aerobics. not that i have anything against it At All - i just a) get so bored inside & b) let's not forget despite my often ladylike appearance, i am quite frankly a Grade A Klutz.

but over a year ago my dear, sweet, precious friend convinced to join her at bikram yoga. death. all i wanted to do the first time was make it through the class without throwing up or fainting. meanwhile, these other people are in Controlled Synchrony that to me seemed paralleled Only by cirque de soliel. my arms & legs were flailing like rubber bands. during one of the poses i imagined that if i lost my grip, my leg was going to kick out so fast i might wallop the person next to me & thereby take down the whole class by a domino effect. i started giggling. see, your mind is Also supposed to relax as well during class. whoops.

i am not very flexible. well, that is an understatement actually. i still remember the good old "V sit & reach" of the "presidential physical fitness test" they make all american kids do in elementary school. i was in the negative. i remember my grade school friend got something like +14. fail.

needless to say, i made it through that first bikram yoga class. here's the Oh So Surprising thing: the heat actually helped me be able to stretch! i mean, Genius! my friend otilia was right (she almost always is actually). this class is death by yoga, but honestly makes you feel like nothing else after that 90 minutes is up. but get ready for Crazy-town, because these classes are full of people who take it Way More Seriously than my simple desire for positive health benefits.

here are 3 simple tips: (1) be sure not to get behind any vegetarians in class. it's not polite to say, but that flatulence is Dreadful in a heated room!!! G-R-O-S-S. i have been in some pretty dirty conditions in my life, & nothing is as Nastified as the smell in this class. one day otilia & i were laying on our mats & we had to cover our faces (decorum is expected) b/c we couldn't handle it anymore! (2) go to the less populated classes. it's less intimidating & gives you more room to flail your limbs if you are as uncoordinated as me. we have a favorite teacher & she always laughs when she sees us flying into class. we are the least conventional (just most comical) compared to most bikram peeps so i don't think they know what to make of us exactly. (3) go with a friend. one day a guy fell into the wall doing tree pose. the thud he made into the side wall made us burst into giggles & wasted about 20 minutes of distraction! also, when you want to cancel, yoga buddy drags you. what is Highly Problematic is when you Both decide to bail on the same night. can we say Take Out??! :)