Today I had my first experience with Bikram yoga. It was completly unintentional and, quite frankly, unwanted. We visited my mother-in-law this weekend and this morning I had a hankering for some yoga. Being at my mother-in-law’s house, there were some technical difficulties in actually doing yoga. Her house is smallish and cozy. Which is nice. But when there’s more than one person there it’s pretty impossible to find a place to do anything peacefully.
About 11:30, I decided that the only way to have any sort of peace (and space) for yoga was to go outside. So, I put on my trusty yoga shorts (sixteen dollars very well spent), unpacked my mat and blanket, grabbed my laptop, and headed to the backyard. I don’t know about the rest of you, but in my time doing yoga, I have not been that successful with my home practice. We’ll get into this in a later post about my yoga history; for now suffice it to say that I tend to get bored doing the same flows over and over and I’m not all that great with making up new ones. So, the best way for me to keep a continuous practice is to go to classes a few times a week and practice at home in between. Even doing that I sometimes need new insipration for my home practice, which is why I took my laptop outside with me today. When I need something new, I go to my trusty yogadowload.com podcast or to yogatoday.com.
This morning, I obviously needed something new, so I turned on my laptop and, while it booted up, spread out my blanket and mat. I went to yogatoday and looked at the weekly free class. It seemed easy (novice level) and was a full hour-long class (something that’s a little difficult to come by in free internet yoga classes) . Exactly what I needed this morning.
I sat on my mat in a comfortable seated position and focused on my breathing. I was a little distracted by the kids running around next door and a little aware that they were loudly asking their mom what I was doing, but I was more cognizant of the fact that it was a little warm outside for 11:30 in the morning. And a little humid. But I didn’t let that bother me; I was determined that I was going to do that class. Within minutes, I had forgotten that I was the least bit hot or that kids were a little scared by what I was doing. I had gone through, among other things, three full sun salutations, when I went into down dog and noticed that there was sweat dripping down my nose. So much more being present in my body. I was so focused on my breath, the poses, and seeing the backyard from a different perspective that I hadn’t noticed that my entire body was dripping with sweat (despite the yoga shorts), that the temperature had risen about ten degrees in the half-hour that I had been outside, and that the humidity was in full-middle-of-August mode.
Despite this, I kept going. It was exhilerating really.Practicing outside that is. I spend a lot of time outside. Well, a lot more time outside than most people do. I do just about everything that I can outside. I read, write, study, eat, jog, whatever. And it wasn’t until this morning, that I actually paid close attention to my surroundings. I was in baby cobra the first time I really noticed. My eyes had been closed and when I opened them the first thing I saw was a vast field of grass, tiny wildflowers, bees, grasshoppers, and a little ladybug that was hopping from blade of grass to blade of grass. How amazing! And it was this that kept me going after I noticed how very HOT I was.
Well, it kept me going for a couple of more minutes anyway. When I went from a Down Dog to a Warrior II, I got a little light headed (meaning I almost fell over) and realized that I needed to call it a day yoga wise and cool off. So, I paused my video and went inside for a drink and the AC.
It was only when I got inside that I found out it was almost 90 degrees with 70% humidity while I was practicing. I know that’s not exactly Bikram material, but it’s the closest I’ve ever come, and after this morning, the closest I’ll probbaly ever come. Outside of the AMAZING interaction with nature, it was not really a good time. I was so hot that I was literally nauseated and it took me almost an hour and a cold shower to cool down. Despite this, I have a great respect for those that practice Bikram; the heat and humidity really ups the difficulty level and makes the experience much more intense. I”ll probably never actually do Bikram for real or practice outside in the heat again, but this was a pretty great experience for a Sunday morning.