Monday, May 7, 2012

My First Bikram Yoga Class: A Memoir

"The heat really doesn't bother me."

Those were the last words I remember saying as we filed into the warm studio.

I positioned myself behind my friend who had dragged me to the class. I noticed an unattractive man rolling around in a pair of purple American Apparel briefs.

I stuck to my mat like an island - visions of all of the bacteria that must be in this carpet danced in my mind. I took a deep breath, mentally telling myself that it was ok, and I was not going to catch a flesh eating disease from this studio. Surely they clean it.

The sweating began before the class did. I'm cool with this. Breathing exercises were different but do-able. The sequence wasn't rocket science. Slight tweaks in poses I wasn't used to, but I used my friend ahead of me as my guide. I mentally noted how hardcore he was while I was watching him practice. I could do this.

About 45 min into the class, I realized I had become a sweat zombie. Processing about every third word, I thought maybe I should sit down. Was I giving up this easily? Fat man in purple briefs could do it... The instructor asked if I was dizzy. I said "no". That was a lie.

Succumbing to my inner guide, I hit the mat.

Unable to even relax in Savasana due to the heat, I began to writhe around on my mat like a dying lizard.

As I looked up at the stained, white tiled ceiling I knew this was what hell on earth was like. Was I alive? My friend was asking me something, but it didn't sound like it was in English.

"Great," I thought to myself, "I'm in hell and I don't speak the language."

Over to my left was a water fountain. I mustered everything I could to stand up and walk to that fountain. I felt like I had a watermelon for a head, and a tooth pick for a body. I hit the fountain. It was dry. I moaned - what a cruel trick. The fountain doesn't work. I think people were laughing at me at this point. I bobbled back to my mat to commence "Writhing Near Death Lizard Pose".

Man in purple briefs stood up. My first thought was that he looked pretty hot - I knew I'd lost it. I was hallucinating. After class, the warm, balmy tropical air of Miami felt like a glacial mountain breeze.

As I sit here writing this, my nervous system is in shock. I've been pacing around my apartment for hours uncomfortable in my own skin. I'm hoping guy in purple briefs is there on Saturday. Maybe I can score his digits.

(Reposted from original author with permission)

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