Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sweating to Bikram Yoga

 I have always been a fan of outlying athletics.  While most of my friends and classmates played basketball, volleyball or ran track, I competed intensely in gymnastics, took ballet, and eventually was a cheerleader.  Please do not start the "cheerleaders are not athletes" debate.  Anyway, bendy core-driven athletics have always been my thing, and yoga fit perfectly into my athletic skill set and my need for some kind of serenity.  After a couple years of regular Vinyasa flow yoga, I decided to step it up a notch.

All yoga photos taken from Yoga Dallas, which just happens to be where I sweat it out 5 times a week.

Recently I started Bikram Yoga.  For those of you've never heard of Bikram Yoga, it's a series of 26 yoga poses done in a 105 degree room.  Now I'm sure most of your are thinking that I have officially gone off my rocker to voluntarily spend 90 minutes in a blistering hot room, and even crazier to attempt to twist my body into crazy poses in said room.  However, it's less crazy than you think.

Yes, the room  is hot.  Yes, the poses are hard.  Yes, sometimes I want to pull my hair out the. entire. 90. minutes.  But I stick with it.  I focus on the task at hand. And in doing so it's the only thing I think about those 90 minutes.  For that time, I'm free of anything else outside that room.  I'm free of school stress, life stress, relationship stress.  It has, in the short time I've been doing Bikram Yoga, improved my concentration and mental dexterity.  Yes, I've probably drank the yoga Kool-Aid, but it really does help.

I've had classes, where I've counted down the poses.  Begged internally for the damn class to end so I could breathe some fresh air.  And miserably and somewhat begrudgingly do each poss.  But even those classes, those miserably difficult classes, leave me with a sense of triumph.  Because I didn't leave.  I easily could have walked out the door.  But I didn't.  And so, I'm filled with that post workout high people are always talking about, but that I've never experienced until now.

So I highly recommend you give it a try.  It will be difficult.  It won't be fun per se.  But I promise it's one of the best ways to spend 90 minutes.  And if you're in the Dallas area, feel free to come with me.  It's far less intimidating to have some you know on the mat next to you.

Until next time,
Yoga Dallas

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