Clearly the experience wasn’t so bad that I will never do it again. While it was not entirely a make my heart sing, relax the whole body and nurture the soul kind of class there was something about it to fill the initial ‘need to go’ urge. It answered a need I had been craving for weeks.
To explain that need will take another posting but in short it is relative to some personal and professional issues that have arisen over the previous 6 months. Emotions I have been reflecting on. The need was to challenge myself and conquer the difficult for myself with myself.
Getting to the class was the first challenge to overcome. I definitely had a few failed attempts, including during my holiday in New Zealand. The cold, snowy location of New Zealand was perfect for Bikram Yoga. I could play in the snow, challenge myself with a new activity such as skiing and then take it to the heat of 38 degrees or more for my favourite activity of yoga. But no when it came to it I piked out and chose to eat Clam Chowder in a swank Queenstown Restaurant.
Eventually I made it to a Bikram class. Hubby was going to be home late for work, I didn’t have to log onto the evening online tutorial I facilitated and the class time fitted perfectly. I just had to pray for bad traffic - I mean good traffic to ensure I arrived the 20 minutes early. I got there with plenty of time to change and the good news...their records were excellent and they still had my details. No getting out of this one.
I took the class with all the mindfulness I had to give. I entered the room and it was hot. Immediately I loved it. The fire spirit I am lapped it up. Until I started doing the pranayama and multitude of back bends.
Fire doesn’t tend to mix well with fire. In fact it burns hotter – hot yoga was really testing my physical constitution of being a yang dominant body type. I started thinking someone who was a more cool or yin body type should be doing this not me. With sheer determination I made it through the first pranayama exercise and set my intention to continue.
Then came the back bends. Now I am more of a forward bend kind of yoga person so this was a challenge. Back bends meant I had to expose myself. I had to become vulnerable to what was out there. I had to put myself out there. Back bends never end well for me. Particularly a multitude of them in a row however open myself up to the vulnerable emotions I did. I managed to get through with only a couple of extra child poses added. Overall the experience was one I remember with mindfulness. Here is what I learned from this particular Bikram class:
- It’s hot
- I sweat
- I swell and then I sweat some more
- My brain becomes a fried mass of fat. I can’t think
- I get a hot Yoga hangover
- I like coconut water
- I can do back bends and move through the rising emotions
- I am more flexible in hot yoga and doesn’t ego love that feeling
- I have more strength and determination I give myself credit for
- When you set an intention and you accomplish it, the sensation can outweigh the negative effects (after you have fully recovered that is!)
- And did I mentioned I sweat
So why would anyone even think of going to a Bikram class? Let alone after going to one class even consider going back. Surely pain must be addictive. I guess women go back for child birth – although before I get slammed for making an indignant comparison (because truly I know nothing of this subject except for seeing my niece being born naturally – ouch BTW!) I don’t think the rewards of birthing children compares to the rewards of Bikram yoga. If there is any rewards to Bikram. Because I am yet to establish what that reward is; unless one counts the natural high after managing to stay in the room for the full 90 minute class. That in itself deserves a high five.
I believe the reasons vary for many people who go to Bikram and even more varied for those who return after one class. I think curiosity, ego and addictive behaviour has to top my list of reasons people return. Of course I shouldn’t fail to mention the science behind attending a Bikram class including sweating helps detoxify the body, you can connect with your inner strength and determination and if you hydrate adequately and you have the right body type you will feel more energetic.
And would I go back again?
Yes I think I would because hey I am only human…it just might be another couple of years before I do it again.