Thursday, April 9, 2009

"That's hot."

Yes, Paris Hilton, uttered these profound words and managed to make them popular, but I don't think she was talking about something that was literally hot, actually I'm quite sure of it. I, on the otherhand, am going to talk about something hot. Something really hot, something that some would put in the category of a type of torture, something called Bikram Yoga. It's a 90 minute yoga class that consists of 26 postures in a heated room of 105 degrees. How does that sound? Detoxifying and unbearable at the same time? That's what I assumed. I thought that it sounded like a challenge and a cool thing to try, but something that would never be "me" and something for only the really hardcore people out there. (see below for hardcore people, they're the husband and wife that own the Bikram Yoga Studio in Dallas.)

I heard of "hot yoga" when I moved to Dallas, Sarah was doing it and so I gave it a shot. One of her friends had lost 10 pounds by sticking to this activity three times a week. Loosing 10 pounds? Sounds good to me. It wasn't Bikram Yoga, it was at a studio called Sunstone. I went once and didn't really take to it and decided I was more of a run/lift weights kind of girl when it came to working out. Last summer, my wonderful friend, Annie, was into Bikram yoga and told me how much she was loving it; this motivated me to try this hot yoga again. When someone so passionately testifies about these positive changes in their life, it makes you take notice, you know?

My mother was in town on Labor Day and the Bikram studio was offering a free day of yoga, so my mom and I trotted on up to the yoga studio. I wore shorts and a t-shirt, my mom who refuses to wear shorts or t-shirts wore work-out capris and a long sleeved shirt. We walked into the smoldering yoga room and everyone else is practically in bathing suits. Then our instructor walked in and I began to get really scared. He is wearing a speedo and maybe weighs 90 pounds. I immeadiately knew that we were in trouble. The class started up and I am trying to relax and enjoy it, but it is hard. It's hard to adjust to the heat, it's hard to focus on what you're doing because you're so distracted by the heat, it's just hard.

And then there's my mom, she's in fairly good shape, but I think it was a tad more than just hard for her. By the end of the class my mom is not following instructions and doing her own thing and the instructor had to ask her to "stay with the class". Of course, my mom, took this personally and begins calling the instructor Mango. You know, the Chris Kattan character in the Saturday Night Live skit? (if not, see below) Anyway, my mom keeps whispering to me, "Manogo, needs to let us out of here." This is followed by Mango asking my mom not to talk. Mango and my mom are not getting along. I feel sorry for my mom, who is attempting yoga in what feels like the center of a volcano in her winter outfit, but I equally feel sorry for Mango who is just trying to help my mom get the most out of this 90 minute hell she is going through.

The class ended and my mom and I are just laying there, starfished on the floor unable to move. (When the class ends everyone is laying, we weren't the weird people laying down.) My eyes were closed and I turned my head to peek over at my mom, she looked dead. She slowly turned her head and looked at me and we died laughing. It was definitely out of delirium, but there are just no words to describe how you feel after that first class. Surprisingly, it's spectacular! I realize that sounds insane, but I felt physically and mentally better than I had felt in months. I had just worked my entire body. Inside and out, every muscle. It felt amazing. Yes, it was the hardest thing I had done since my high school track days, but I now saw why people loved this practice and PAID to do it everyday. Even with my mom's conflict with Mango, she felt the same way. She bought me a month of unlimited Bikram yoga, so that I could keep it up for a while and we leave the studio. We both felt so invigorated for the rest of the day, I was even a little sore. I love being sore, I know, it's weird, but I love it. I guess, maybe because you can tell something is actually working and your body is changing. Soreness makes me happy.

So, since this time, depending on my finances for the month, I have been doing Bikram yoga. I just finished a month of it and I won't be able to do it for while so I just wanted to soak in and also share what I learned during a class a couple weeks ago...

It was about half way through what is called the "standing series" and I was slowly making my way through the class. Sherry was teaching this paticular class. Sherri is probably in her 50's. She a very petite little yogi and I like her classes because you can tell she loves teaching them. She said something that I hopefully won't ever forget. She said, "You must remember the most important thing in yoga is to listen." I must have been feeling really cocky that day because I thought I knew what she was going to say. I thought she would say that the most important thing was a certain posture or drinking water or another multitude of things. I was so wrong, the most important thing is just to listen. Later on in the class, she repeated herself, "Remember the most important thing in this class is to listen and the second most important thing is to breathe." I've heard this since my first Bikram class, all the teachers say it, "find your breath", "remember to breathe" this wasn't too unexpected. But, I reflected on it throughout the rest of the class and it really helped me.

Just listen and breathe. The simplicity of that is almost way too much for me. I feel like those two things could make so many other things easier besides yoga. Worry, tends to sneak up one way or the other. Don't let it. Listen to others, listen to yourself, I think the wisdom that comes from that will quickly overcome our fears and anxieties. And breathing...such a small concept. How often, really though, do you just breathe? It's almost hard to do JUST breathe, but how necessary is it? Breathing is everything. Let yourself breathe, relax in the moment and just let whatever is going to happen, happen.

LISTEN AND BREATHE........LISTEN AND feels nice, doesn't it?

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