My friend Grace, recently, gave me the gift of warmth, relaxation, and the smell of Papaya. It was one of those gifts which you smile and kindly say, thank you! But at the same time thinking – Dear God! You are going to make me self reflect in 90 minutes of silence doing Bikram Yoga! How can I get myself out of this?
So after many weeks of procrastination and excuses, Grace wrangled me down and dragged me to our first Bikram Yoga class. We prepped the whole day drinking water, refraining from eating for three hours before class, and getting ready for our hot yoga journey.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by our instructor, who informed us the most important thing was to attempt the poses, but if we felt dizzy not to leave the room, just lay down. He informed us it was important to maintain the same body temperature thus we should stay in the room so our body could adapt to the heat.
I thought to myself, I love the heat, of course I’m not going to leave the room. As we entered the room, it felt like a warm sauna, filled with the scent of papaya. And I prepared for the inevitable, no talking, no laughing, just sweat and tears.
The first twenty minutes, I struggled through the warm-up poses, refrained from drinking water, and felt pools of sweat trickle down my back. I wondered to myself, if I could make it through this whole class? It was so hot!
We moved then onto the standing poses, as I awkwardly attempted the tree fog pose, I wondered, is this for me? I was so sweaty! I couldn’t even get a grip on my leg! I felt tempted to leave the room, but instead, I took a sip of water, and persevered through the poses.
At one point, between, my mouth felt dry, I was balancing, and attempting not to teeter over in my awkward positioning. I began to feel extremely frustrated and for some reason tears began to well up inside of me.
I thought, God damn it! I’m not going to cry this is yoga! I’m not going to cry! And I’m not leaving the room! I then laid flat, in the dead mans pose, gaining my breath, and attempting to focus on the positive.
Once we began to move through the floor poses, that I began to feel at ease, something clicked, my mental barrier, began to break, I began to feel more open to my surroundings. I no longer wanted to leave the room, and felt a sense of relaxation overcome my body.
It was through the last set of breathing exercises, sweat dripping from my pony tail, that I realized did it. I didn’t leave the room, and I didn’t give up. It was a great feeling of relaxation as I walked out the door.
I didn’t realize until that class – how tense my muscles had become, every ache was released from my body, and I had the best sleep of my life that night. I’m grateful for Grace for forcing me out of my regimental routine and keeping me motivated!
It was the surprising gift I never knew I wanted or would like to have…But it’s funny, what life teaches you, when you step out of your own little box, and try something new.
Since, that first session, I’ve returned and discovered it gets better with each class. I think I may have found a new love and it’s Bikram Yoga! It’s better than any therapy and who knew I could go without talking for ninety minutes? I didn’t!