Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bikram Yoga

After enduring a 90-minute sweatfest in a Bikram yoga class on Valentine's Day, I had only one question as I walked out of the studio: Are people crazy??!?

According to Wikipedia, Bikram yoga incorporates a series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises. The key element, however, is the studio - a room heated to 105 degrees Farenheit with 40 percent humidity. Furthermore, the premise of Bikram yoga is the enhancement of general wellness and Bikram Choudhury (founder) claims the heated studio enables deeper stretching, stress and tension relief and injury prevention. Moreover, it claims to restore health to every muscle, joint and organ of the body. Seems worthwhile, right?

Generally, I aim to try everything at least once - food, exercises, activities, learning foreign languages, etc - and now I can say (to all Bikram yoga goers), "I went, I tried and I am done." Perhaps it's my northern Michigan blood, but I have never been one for extreme heat. I don't wear boots in the winter (in fact, I occasionally wear flip flops); and I got my first winter jacket just three years ago. In short, I love the cold. Additionally, to my friends and family, if you move to the south, it might be a while before I see you again. ;)

With all this in mind, once my sister opened the studio's door and following close behind her as she walked into the room, I quickly felt an unexpected heat wave. Undoubtedly with an unforgettable expression, I said to myself, "What the...!" Of course, in my 23 years, I have certainly spent more or less 20 minutes in a sauna once in a while; however, this was not merely sitting in a sauna. It was 90 minutes of intensive yoga postures WHILE IN A SAUNA. Um, thank you for the free session, but pilates in a 60-degree room has become most desirable.

Naturally, I do urge others to at least try Bikram yoga. It doesn't hurt and it is physically stimulating. Just bring an extra towel and be prepared to sweat.
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The Great Wall

The Great Wall
Beijing, China