If I could have stripped down to my birthday suit I would have. As it was, I was wearing a tank top and short shorts and I thought I was going to die. I couldn't care less that I was surrounded by half naked men that looked like they came straight off of an Ambercrombie ad. It was hot as hell and I needed as much flesh exposed as possible, even if that flesh had lost much of its tone in recent months. Had it not been my first class I might have given serious pause to doing it in my thong.
I was familiar with Bikram, but just the poses not the heat. I prefer my yoga experience to be one that works my mind and spirit as well as my ass but for $29, I signed up for a month of 105 degree yoga led by a drill instructor screaming into a headset in a way that conjured up memories of Jazzercise with my aunt as a kid.
"Lock your knees! Lock your knees!" she would scream into the head set, sweat pouring down her face as she stood on a giant wood block at the front of the room. Isn't locking your knees a bad thing I would think silently to myself while trying to push through the dizzyness and nauseousness and the tiny black spots that were appearing in my vision. I know that that is an end result but never in my many years of yoga have I ever heard anyone actually advocate such a position as it can easily do damage if performed incorrectly and in this case could end in me toppling over unconscious.
I am fairly sure I have never sweat that much in my life and I could tell it would take at least a month to get use to the heat so that I could relax into the positions that were once easy and have been lost from extended time sitting hunched over at a desk.
It was hard not to stare at the ass of the man in front of me. Staring at someone's ass was inevitable and really it was a choice between his and the ass of the woman in her mid-fifties standing right in front of me who was wearing a pair of sweatpants that had been cut into shorts, which were slowly changing from heather to charcoal, starting at her ass crack and spreading outward. So if you think about it, I really had no choice. And the more he started to sweat, the more I couldn't turn away. It was this horrible vision of what could be such a lovely sight made more painful by the fact the he caught me staring and made eye contact several times in the mirror. I wanted to mouth, "I am sorry but what to you want me to fix my gaze on!" That was the other thing the woman in the head set kept barking. "Don't close your eyes! Don't close your eyes! And I want to see smiling faces, people."
I managed to make a fair attempt at almost every pose except for the ones involving back bends. The second my neck went back and my eyes strained for the walls behind me I was sure I was going to vomit. So I chose to abstain from those poses for my first go round.
When I left the studio and felt the rush of cold air overtake my body I thought I might weep for joy, the kind of weeping reserved for the big O. In the locker room all the other women asked me how I liked the class; the instructor had also chose to point me out as the newbie to the entire class before we began, assuring me that should I pass-out or vomit, no one would judge me. Thanks. I told the other women drenched in sweat, that it was a lot like a first date. Mildly nerve racking before I began, overall rather nauseating, slightly painful at points, with the occasional moment of thinking I would rather jab my eyes out than stay one more minute but all in all not enough to let me make a verdict on whether I was really into it or not. So I guess I am going to have to go through it all again to see if the pay off is worth the pain.
I am going back tomorrow for round two.