Bikram: Some Like it Hot
“Open your lungs,” purred my friend and yoga instructor Andrea from her perch in the corner of the room, “think of them expanding like a balloon.”
I took a deeeeeep breath, and, mimicking those around me, dutifully laced my fingers under my chin and tilted my head back. After a few lung-filling back bends, however, I could already feel my face turning scarlet and sweaty. Then the steamy room, heated to the standard 105 degrees, began to spin slightly like I’d had one-to-many cheap margaritas. I could hear my heart hammering in my ears.
And we were just breathing.
This was my second time attempting Bikram Yoga, a trendy answer to my New Year’s resolution to get healthier (or, ya know, to chisel my ass into something Jennifer Aniston-esque). The promise of a workout that burned up to 700 calories while making the skin look fabulous AND providing some euphoric mental orgasm-type feeling afterward? Impossible to resist.
So, I signed up and found myself standing there, twisted up like a soggy pretzel, trying to achieve two goals: don’t faint and don’t puke. Instructor Andrea was graceful yet firm, keeping us in a flow of poses while encouraging us to push our limits. Sadly, my limit seemed to be remaining on my feet. I’d hoped to feel seductive and sexy! I assumed I’d look all Hot Yoga Hottie, like this:
Holy hell, I did NOT. Not at all.
Instead, I was flipping and flopping through the 26 asanas like a fish in a hot-bottomed canoe. Let’s just say, mine was a practice in hot-mess yoga.
But somewhere between the first shavasana (i.e. laying like a corpse on the floor – the only posture I’ve perfected) and the final namaste I realized that not all discomfort was created equal. I felt my body contorting and conforming to my demands in ways that even Fifty Shades of Grey characters could appreciate, which made me rather proud. And something about the heat, the steam, the pain and the mental challenge felt…empowering.
Ninety minutes later, I was released from the torture chamber and, while navigating my way through a teeny locker room full of sweaty naked women, I understood why people subjected themselves to this masochistic practice.
No, not for the naked sweaty woman…
Because that euphoric, mental orgasm afterward turned out to be true. (gasp!) A few waves of thrilling satisfaction washed over me as I walked out of the building. Hot damn, girl, you did it! I’d conquered my inner self. Cleansed myself. And realized that Bikram wasn’t just to chisel and mold one’s hot body, it apparently sculpts a hot mind. “Better than therapy,” instructor Andrea said.
My psyche enjoyed the instant gratification.
And I’m certain that my hot Jennifer Aniston ass is only a thousand asanas away.
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