it’s normal to feel weird, and weird to feel normal


26 poses over a duration of 90 minutes in a room heated to 105 degrees.. Why haven’t I experienced Bikram earlier in life?

1) I am (or used to be) a yoga-hater. Sure I occasionally go to a Hatha class, but only because it provides a great stretch after a cardio sesh. However, I typically wouldn’t do yoga to actually get a workout – I lack the patience needed for slow-moving exercises. I know it’s supposed to help you become spiritual and strengthen your muscles and purify your soul and all that good stuff… but I hate being still (and teetering side to side every so often due to imbalance doesn’t count as movement). I get all jittery, and then I just want to shout “OKAY CAN WE PICK THE PACE UP A BIT?” but I’m not very rude so instead – I hold my tongue, hope the CD playing waterfall music will overpower the sound of me tip toeing out of the room, and take it to the treadmill. (..or is peacing out in the middle of class rude?)

2) 105 degrees sounds intimidating. The Asian genes passed down to me include being allergic to alcohol (it sucks, but I make do) and not sweating very much during exercise, or in general for that matter (it does not suck). You’d think I wouldn’t be too phased by the heat, but in fact, I can’t stand it (unless I’m in or around water). I know of someone who sticks pads (..as in the feminine pads) in the armpits of his shirt to soak up his sweat, so I don’t really have the right to hate high temperatures like he does.. but I do. And the 105 degree room has intimidated me for a while.

…until today! My first Bikram class would have happened at some point in my life, so why not this evening when I was so utterly craving a good sweat but just couldn’t muster the strength to go to the 9:30 am spin class? Let’s be honest, if I had done any form of cardio, I would have been the first to die in the Hungover Games (ha ha).. (or maybe second, right after Jenina :P)

Unlike the other classes I’ve been to where a minute would feel like an hour, this Bikram session flew by. We were encouraged to completely clear our minds, and to just let go of everything, which is usually a challenge for someone (me, specifically) who’s always daydreaming about this and wondering about that. Looking back on today’s class, I’m pleasantly surprised with my ability to block out what usually clouds my mind. (I’ll just go ahead and give myself a little pat on the back). Frankly, I was so focused on

  1. the amount of sweat literally juicing from each and every pore. “Juicing” sounds revolting in this context, but there’s no other way to describe all that was pooling around me. I was astounded, I didn’t know I was physically capable of exuding so much sweat – not even the most intense cardio has gotten me that good.
  2. holding my pose in the sweltering heat without passing the f out. That was the hardest part (aside from stretching my limbs to their full capacity) – a few times I had gotten so dizzy, I had to sit down and take a break. I felt weak, but I just need to get used to the temperature :)

I’ve always been partial to cardio workouts, but I’m starting to grow pretty fond of this hot yoga trend. I want to be able to do all 26 poses with agile flexibility and strength – no teetering or taking breaks from being lightheaded. So excited for my next class already!

After successfully sweating out what seemed like a lifetime of accumulated toxins, I was feeling so simultaneously dizzy, happy, energized, relaxed and weak. It was such an incredible natural high, but at the same time, all of those feelings hitting me at once felt very unusual. But in the words of the Bikram instructor.. “it’s normal to feel weird, and it’s weird if you feel normal” – looks like I got it right.

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Categories: reflections & musings

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