Ladies and Gentlemen, Happy Lollipop Tuesday.
What’s Lollipop Tuesday, you ask? Lollipop Tuesday is a special series on Twist365, where every single Tuesday of every single week, I will try something new that I will undoubtedly suck at and share my degradation with you all. Some may be mundane, some may be ridiculous, and when I run out of ideas, some may even be illegal. Today’s feature: Bikram Yoga.
For those of you who aren’t vegan walking sticks, Bikram Yoga is the practice of 26 yoga poses in a 105 degree room for 90 minutes, often led by a drill sergeant hiding behind a bendy, beautiful, totally zen exterior. Not to be confused with “hot yoga,” Bikram Yoga can only go by the name if it features instructors taught and certified in India under the tutorage of the most bendy guru of them all, Bikram Choudhury. I feel that for most people, Bikram Yoga is in the same mysterious cloud in the universe as the Bermuda Triangle, or the ceremonies in the Salt Lake Mormon Temple. Today, allow me to share with you one of these deep mysteries of the universe. Well, from my crackly-jointed, awkward, muffin-top perspective, anyway.
One lovely surprise was that there were folks of all shapes, sizes, and ability levels in the room. What I didn’t find surprising was that a tiny-waisted, doe-eyed brunette set her mat and towel beside me, long hair perfectly braided, and outfit (or what there was of it) perfectly appropriate and coordinated. She somehow managed to look unaffected by 105 degrees of thick, heavy air surrounding her.
The laws of science dictate that any time one enters into unfamiliar territory, one will without fail endure the experience beside the most daunting master of that territory man has ever witnessed.
My distraction and only saving grace from this spectacle came in the form of a peculiar fellow who entered class just before it officially began, with a bag of goodies in tow – one of which was a moon suit, minus the helmet. As I stared in awe, he proceeded to set up his mat and towel and uncrinkle the silver contraption. I watched attentively as he pulled it over his head and down his awkward limbs, wondering if perhaps this man was a hobo who had wandered in with delusions of grandeur, convinced that the only way he could achieve his dream of being a space cowboy was to succeed in the greatest feat of all: Bikram Yoga in a space suit.
My inner monologue was jolted by the entrance of the instructor and the class began. Three minutes in and I’m absolutely soaked in sweat and B.O. and all we did was breathe. Mmm…sexy. Braids is beside me, contorting like Gumby while maintaining a pleasant, zen-like smirk and I’m struggling just to lock my knee and not slip on the towel that’s shielding my mat from my nasty sweat puddle. The instructor is lovely, encouraging, and beautiful. She lovingly caressed my ego, called me by name, and led the class through a series of awkward poses, most of which are named after animals.
I can do animals, I thought. I’ve been animals. I went to Point Park for Theater, after all: I can be animals, I can be textures, I can be both, even. I do one hell of a styrofoam llama.
But this was totally different. I’m being coached to put my forehead to my thigh and then wrap my arm around my jiggly parts and whatnot while my awkward sausage fingers slipped on my drenched, pasty skin. It wasn’t pretty. Halfway through the class I began to drift away and fantasize about passing out but my fantasy was abruptly halted by the overwhelming stench of body odor, wafting over the carpet. Delicious.
Finally, as the 90 minutes came to a close and I completed the end pose, the instructor turned off the lights, turned on the fans, and opened the windows. Sweet, cool night air – a gift from the gods! I lay prostrate on the floor, totally stoked that I did this. Now that I had made it through the battle, I felt pretty awesome. It was probably just the euphoria of release from the human broiler, but there in the dark, I realized that I had completely forgotten about the beauty beside me, the space suit man, the smell of the carpet, and my imperfect body. Every single pose was a new challenge and a chance to succeed or fail. Every few minutes, I had the opportunity to fall out of a pose, look in the mirror, smile at myself, and start again. It’s not often you find a method of exercise that is so demanding on the mind and the body. Or that teaches you to simply do some sort of good for your body, whatever it is and however much you can.
Somehow in the middle of the slippery, drenched chaos, I was actually enjoying myself. And you know what? I think I’ll go back again. I can’t believe I might actually go back for more – if not to see moon suit man, perhaps to see how many classes it takes me to look like Braids. I may never be a tiny-waisted brunette, but I can sure as hell work my way up to a mean toe touch. ♣