I have exercise amnesia. I decide that a certain exercise is good. I do it. I begin to regret my decision. I contemplate quitting but worry about being a quitter. I finish and feel like a total tool. After a small recovery time (sometimes hours, sometimes days), I forget about the misery and do it all over again.
Today’s post is about that sort of lapse in memory.
Bikram yoga. Besides being a word with no apparent correct punctuation (I’ve heard bick-rum, beak-rum, bick-ram and every variation of that combo), Bikram yoga (otherwise known as “hot room yoga”) is a practice of yoga in a room heated to a specific temperature, with humidity that is regulated to a specific percentage, as well. This practice is a series of postures done in a specific order, in a specific amount of time. I’ve done it. I’ve enjoyed it. I still enjoy it. But it’s a love-hate type of relationship. Let me tell you about last time:
- Having done Bikram several times before, I figure I know what I’m in for and show up wide-eyed and bushy-tailed for class at 6am. I prepared by drinking lots of water, and was well-rested, despite the 5am alarm. I have my bright pink yoga mat and a frozen bottle of water (because I know that frozen water = cold water when I need it. Show up with cold water, and by the time you drink it, it’s tepid and gross).
- It’s warm when I walk in the room and I choose a location that is somewhere near the middle, but to the side, as to avoid being very noticeable. It occurs to me that in a room full of well-practiced yogis, my 38DDs and size 12 ass stick out like a sore thumb. I idly notice that the girl in front of me has a gorgeous body – maybe a size 6, perfectly proportioned, and not a single spot of cellulite on her. I decide to use her as inspiration. Practice more, have that body.
- I lie down and allow my body to acclimate to the room. It feels good, actually. Like getting into a warm car on a cold day. My body relaxes into the soft yoga mat and I figure that I can’t allow myself to get too comfortable, because I could fall asleep and that would be awkward.
- The yoga instructor comes in. She’s super skinny, and just adorable. She’s also very kind, which is something I love about this studio. No one insults the students. The class starts and we all stand to take our places and begin the first pose.
- The first pose is a breathing pose. This one is the hardest for me. But not because I’m asthmatic, but rather because I have issues breathing recycled air (as in, air that other people have been breathing) and I have to force myself to breathe deeply, despite the fact that I am breathing in everyone’s morning breath and B.O.
- First pose done. We move into a new pose. My body feels good, but dang, it’s getting hot. I can feel my hair collecting sweat already. We have 80 minutes left.
- It’s hot. My skin is totally covered. Cute-Gal in front of me isn’t visibly sweating, yet. We’re on the 6th pose and Cute-Gal is demonstrating it perfectly. She is radiating grace, like she isn’t even trying. I make the mental note that I will be like her some day.
- 10th pose. I am to put my head onto my knee. My boobs laugh at the suggestion and get in the way so that I am suffocating in cleavage instead of pressing my forehead to my kneecap. I hate my boobs.
- My entire body is dripping with sweat. Literally. Dripping down my leg. Down my back. From the tip of my nose into my cleavage. I feel like some sort of slimy creature, but I can’t even come up with a type of creature I am, because the sheer amount of sweat has never been seen before in nature. I am drinking water, but it feels like it is expelled from my pores immediately. I don’t understand how this is possible.
- Cute-Gal is sweating! Finally!!! I take satisfaction in the fact that she is human, and not the immortal offspring of Bikram Choudhury himself.
- We get to lie down. I would feel regret, but I’m pretty sure that I’ve sweat out emotion, along with most of my dignity. Instead, I lie there and wonder how my heart could possibly be beating this hard from standing around?
- We get to pose 17. I consider myself supremely flexible and I don’t know how I will do this without snapping my elbow joints. I can feel my face straining with pain and sheer embarrassment of trying to do this pose. Relief only comes when she announces that we can rest.
- I know we’re on the downhill slope to the end, now. Cute-Gal actually looks sexy with her sweat. I decide that I never want to be like her. I hate her.
- At pose 23, we are to put our heads to our knees again. Are you fucking kidding me? Obviously this was invented by a man, who doesn’t have to deal with boobs. It simply isn’t possible. And I imagine the headline, “Voluptuous would-be yogi suffocated by her own breasts during practice”. I am mortified for my daughter, who will now be known as the daughter of “Yogi-Boob”. I feel sorry for her.
- I’m pretty sure I just heard someone pass gas on this next pose. I’m embarrassed for her.
- The person who passed gas was me. I’m begging that God just kill me, now. Whether by boob-asphyxiation or not, I want to die.
- Last pose. I am literally counting the seconds on the clock in the mirror behind me. Because of the reverse reflection, it appears that time is ticking backward. I laugh at the irony of this, since I’ve felt like time has been going backward since pose 3.
- Once class is over, I quickly gather my mat, water and towel and duck into the shower in the ladies room. I await the inevitable chatter about the “girl who farted.”
- I finish my shower. No one mentions the gas-incident. As I towel off, I hear a girl talking about how self-conscious she is about her body when she takes these classes. My heart swells with acknowledgment, as I feel like we are soon-to-be best friends.
- I finish drying off and step out of the shower only to find that my new BFF is Cute-Gal. I scowl at the injustice of it and leave, never to return again.
Distance and time come between the class and my pride and I’m ready to go back. I’m sure, though, it’ll end up the same way.