Over the past couple of months, I have rededicated myself to Bikram Yoga – the one with the 105-degree room and all the sweat – because it makes me feel wonderful.
Ultimately, that is. All along the way, however, it’s a different story. Its challenging and difficult and HOT.
The first challenge is mental. I don’t have to convince myself that I want to go; in fact, usually I spend my entire week saying, “I really need to go to yoga. I can’t wait to go to yoga. You know what I need? Yoga.” What I have to psych myself up for is the time commitment. A Bikram Yoga class is 90 minutes long from start to finish, not including the getting-into-your-skimpy clothing-and-staking-a-claim-to-your-space time nor the additional getting-all-that-sweat-off-and-packing-up time. That puts you at about two hours between the time you arrive at the studio and when you leave. To top it off, the two closest studios to me recently closed, so I get to drive 20-30 minutes each way to get to the one out in Beaverton. All of you with your Math Hats on can see that this is an easy three hours out of my day. I’m finding it easier to commit to that on Mondays and Fridays (now that I am off work on those days), but any more than that, no matter how good for my health, is not going to happen.
The second challenge is psychological. That skimpy clothing I mentioned is necessary because of the heat, but not something I usually put on… and having to stare at myself in the mirror dressed this way, while surrounded by the young and fit, is a bit demoralizing. Similarly humbling is my inability to do all the poses without wobbling, wavering, falling over, and otherwise drawing attention to myself. I am fully aware that I am – in the infamous words of my daughter – “diseased,” and that yoga is all about your own practice, your own goals, your own improvement, but I am apparently shallow enough to wish I looked a little better while I actually do it. And then there is the heat. Some days, like today, it is all I can do to just stay in the room for the entire time without feeling like I am going to be sick whenever I try to do a pose.
But right now, a couple of hours later, all of that nonsense has faded into the background. I am less stiff and sore than I have been all week. I’m glad that I have exercised, proud of myself for having put the three hours in, and relaxed and sleepy enough to go to bed early.