Yesterday, I went to Bikram yoga for the first time in maybe a year. After 90 minutes of pulling, stretching, tugging, flexing, pointing, and almost passing out, I walked about 4.2 miles home. I think the fact that the sun was still out and the weather was beautiful, it gave me extra energy. I felt extremely invigorated.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Bikram yoga, it is a type of hot yoga practiced generally in a 105 degree-Fahrenheit room for 90 minutes. Within those 90 minutes, you will practice 26 poses and two breathing exercises. Each posture is done twice. This type of yoga is known to heal bodies, increase metabolism, and improve your overall health.
I sat through about four poses because I felt extremely nauseous. It was as if I’ve never practiced it in my life. I decided to take it slow rather than kill myself. I concentrated on myself and applauded myself for the moves I did complete. My favorites remain the Garuasana (Eagle Pose), Dandayamana-Dhanurasaya (Standing Bow Pulling Pose), Savasana (of course because you just pretty much lie there), and the Final Spiral. My least favorites are the ones that I’m probably never going to be good at because of my body structure. I think because my legs are very long, much longer than my torso, I will not be really good at the Dandayamana-Janushirasana (Standing Head to Knee Pose) or the Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasana (Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose) no matter how often or how long I practice.
Bikram yoga picked me up, shook me up, stretched me beyond imagination, and pretty much kicked my ass. And here’s why:
- I didn’t drink enough water.
- I didn’t sleep enough the night before.
- And I ate just two hours before class. Although it was just a salad, 40 minutes into the class, I felt all the kale, pear, chicken, and cheese, I’d consumed hours ago.
In class my body pretty much cornered me and screamed at me non-stop, “This is for all the martinis you’ve had! This is for sitting down for as long as 10-12 hours in front of a computer in your office without exercising! This is for being a lazy bum! This is for all of the brownies!” And so on… I accepted it. It was true. I am extremely out of shape. Sometimes being in shape has nothing to do with your size. Despite my harsh class, I felt good afterwards. I started to walk to the subway, then realized I could keep going. I’ve done it before—walk from Harlem to Midtown, back and forth, just not in a while. And so I started my journey, yoga mat, bags and all.
From Midtown East, I crossed over west and headed up north until I reached Central Park South East, then made my way up to Harlem to Central Park North West, where I live. Instead of walking around the park, then crossing over west, I decided to zigzag, take little paths I’ve never taken before, up bridges, down walkways. It was just so beautiful.