Cold Turkey – or Hot Tofurkey?

Day #1, Monday, December 21st, 2009

Some say the arrival of a new year is a good time to make resolutions, and re-evaluate one’s past year. I consider Monday a better choice, and that’s any Monday. Not the beginning of the year, as then you get to easily postpone your responsibility until then, but any Monday.

This particular Monday, I had in mind that I was going to subject my poor, out-of-shape body to a new experience: Bikram Yoga.

Also known as “Hot Yoga”, this exercise discipline differs from many others in that it takes place is a location with an average temperature higher than Death Valley, CA reaches in springtime (105 degrees Fahrenheit, 40 degrees Celsius), and about 40% humidity, bringing the Heat Index nice and high.

Armed with a little knowledge, not nearly enough, and delusions of grandeur, I packed a pair of shorts, sleeveless shirt, large towel and water bottle and headed to the Yoga To The People studio on 27th St.

Arriving, I met Neil, behind the counter, where he asked me if I had done this before, gave me a quick lowdown, and after paying a really small amount of cash for a health class, gave me a mat, towel and sent me on my way.

I changed in the locker room, and dragged my gear into the heated room, nice and dark. Found a spot to place my mat on the back row, covered it with my towel, put down my water bottle, and simply began to breathe in the heat. Wow. That’s hot.

As more and more people came in, an instructor’s assistant called on anyone who hadn’t done this before to come and learn the warm-up breathing method. This was interesting, and there must have been about 8-9 of us in the learners circle.

Back on the mat, class starts, and the Door Closes. once the Door Closes, you should not leave the room, unless it is a dire medical emergency, instead, sit down, take a break, relax, and continue when you can. There was absolutely no pressure to keep up, and working at my own pace meant that I could sit down, and nearly pass out, thanks to not enough oxygen reaching my brain in a stressful scenario.

I sweat more than I thought was possible, and tore my sleeveless shirt off about a third into the class – I couldn’t bear it any longer. Was a little better once it was gone.

You’d think I would shy away from such a painful experience, but I actually reveled in completion, and felt great. Today, I’m sore, so I’m going back again tonight for round #2.

Wish me luck.

  • Good luck and be safe!

    (It’s probably strange that this worries me more than skydiving, right?)

    • Thanks, and it makes sense to worry.
      In the heated environment, one may tend to push harder than they should – some guy yesterday told me about how he popped his knee by overextending it during one pose.
      So I’ll try to be careful.