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Location: Chicago, IL, United States

Monday, August 14, 2006

(Literally) Sweating My Butt Off

Those of you who know me, know that I'll try just about anything once. Case in point: Bikram Yoga.

What is Bikram Yoga, you ask? According to Mr. Bikram himself, it is a curative method of yoga therapy. In reality, it's 90 minutes of gut-wrenching poses in a room that's heated to 105° F. The heat is supposed to loosen the muscles and enable you to reach more positions than if you were in a normal yoga class. The inevitable sweating induced by the heat is supposed to release toxins (and I'm told will make my skin "glow"). I danced ballet for 12 years of my life, but I was never the most flexible of people. I also have a tendency to get over-stressed due to law school and life in general. So I thought that Bikram could be a way to kill two birds with one stone.

I can already hear my mother saying "What in the hell are you thinking?". You see, as a child, I used to pass out when the summer months would bring on the heat. Call me a fragile flower, but I spent a lot of time hanging out in the air-conditioning during August.

Well, the first class was slightly traumatic. To begin, it started at 6 AM. That's right, I said AM. Those of you who have had the pleasure of witnessing Jess in the morning know just how well I do in the early hours (read: crabby and non-social). However, I decided to start doing this workout in the wee hours, hoping to perhaps swing my Circadian rhythm to a different beat.

You begin class by laying down face up in a darkened room, waiting for the instructor to come in and start up the class. It fools you into thinking "This isn't going to be so bad", because your pulse is normal and the room hasn't really begun to heat up yet. Oh no. The instructor will continually raise the temperature as the class progresses, until it reaches that blessed 105°, saying things like "Raise your right foot way up over your head while reaching forward with your left arm, like you're a human bow & arrow." (pose #6) problem.

Add to this that your body is sweating like there is no tomorrow. The sweat is dripping in places it's never dripped before (Ever head sweat in your ears? No? I don't really suggest it.). Your pulse is racing and you can't catch a cool breath.

I involuntarily invented a new position that morning: The porcelain prayer. Yup. There's a reason that they tell you to come to the class on an empty stomach, as I found out that morning. NOT a good way to start the day. The instructor tells me that it's a normal reaction for first-timers, and it may be some repression expressing itself from when I was a kid and passing out in the heat. Yeah...not so sure about that one.

Well, you may be surprised to learn that I returned to that class and many more (thanks, Dima). My Bikram friends assured me that it would get better, and it has. It's still not the easiest thing I've done, but I find myself looking forward to it each time. I haven't vomited since the first class, and I'm getting more flexible. I sleep better. My lower back isn't killing me like it usually does. My skin is, in fact, kind of glowy. So I think I'll stick with it for awhile and see how it goes.

Who knows. Maybe I'll be able to knock down that bow & arrow pose after all.


Blogger Dima said...

Patience my child, patience!

You're welcome. I need you to be there, so I have an incentive to show up! So, thank YOU!

8/16/2006 5:51 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

Out of fear of the Dima wrath for non-commenting...

Dima~ No, no, thank YOU!


8/22/2006 12:05 PM  
Blogger sweatingnutella said...

I sweat in my ears all the time. I have a theory, though, that when I run, my head (not the pores on the skin on my head but my actual SKULL, I shit you not) sweats, and that drips into my ears. [brief intermission for research] Ok, I just looked it up, and there are not sweat glands in the ears, so my drip down theory is accurate. This assumes, of course, that the internet is never wrong. And seeing as I've done an entire year of legal research on Google, I hope that it's not. Apparently the glands in the ears are "modified apocrine glands" which actually produce the sweat-like substance known as ear wax. I know, I know! I was shocked as well. (Sorry for such a nasty, and long, commenting debut.)

8/29/2006 1:34 AM  

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