WHAT TO WEAR?
I’m off to an anniversary dinner tonight to celebrate the 6th year of one of my favorite places. I’m not sure I will recognize any of my friends since we will all be fully clothed! These friends, they are my people; my family. We know so much about each other, yet most of us don’t even know each other’s last names. These people are part of an amazing community. A community that is warm (literally!), welcoming, and safe. This place is where I go to breathe; to meditate; to practice the connection between mind, body, and spirit. This place is my Bikram yoga studio.
I started practicing Bikram 3 years ago when I was suffering from postpartum depression. I had taken a few yoga classes here and there throughout my life, but had not developed a consistent practice. I can honestly say that Bikram has been life changing. I was completely hooked after my first class. And let me tell you – you never forget your first time 🙂 It’s THAT awesome.
Bikram yoga is 26 hatha yoga postures (asanas) and 2 breathing exercises. The class is 90 minutes long and practiced in a heated room with mirrors. The average temperature is around 105 degrees F with 40% humidity. The first 13 postures are standing asanas and the last 13 postures are done on the floor. The teacher talks the entire class and does not do the postures with you. There is a very specific dialogue that the founder, Bikram Choudhury developed along with the 26 postures. As my friend and Bikram teacher Tom says, “It’s like a big game of Simon says.”
So who would be crazy enough to get hooked on a hot, sweaty game of Simon says? Men and women of all different ages, sizes, shapes, and abilities. Some men are more flexible than I. Some men still have a gut that gets in the way. Some women have cellulite (myself included). Other women have inner thighs that never touch. There are a few who say they don’t like the heat and a few who think it’s never hot enough. And we all keep coming back for more.
The hot room has given me more than I could ever have expected. Staring at yourself, practically naked, all red faced and sweaty is a unique experience. I’m sure some of you may be saying, “I wouldn’t be able to take the heat. Besides I’m not flexible enough.” BULLSHIT. There are too many benefits of Bikram to even list here. One of the most important benefits in my book is the fact that the hot room is a safe space. No one cares about your jiggly bum, your muffin top, or your saddlebags. There’s no judgement. You can just be your awesome, sweaty self and let your shit go. In the beginning you may feel like everyone is looking at you; but we’re not. You’re just not used to staring at yourself in a full length mirror for 90 minutes. Don’t like what you see? We’ve all been there and you are in the right place. A place of healing. A place that will help you begin a transformational journey if you are open to it. You may feel like you are dying during the class; but you’re not. Your body is getting acclimated to the environment and your mind is just trying to wrap itself around the experience.
So grab a mat & towel and go visit your local studio. You may just become part of an amazing community. A place that will build your inner and outer strength. A place where your friends may not know your name; but know where almost every scar, tattoo, and dimple is on your body. And so my question to you is “What’s your excuse?” All you have to do is stay in the room and breathe. Everything else is optional. See you in the hot room. NAMASTE.