Last Thursday, I convinced my significant other to do the one week Bikram Yoga trial. It didn’t take a lot of convincing really since he is a health buff, likes the idea of yoga, and is Finnish (which means he enjoys hanging out in saunas and other super hot places).
I was a little apprehensive at first that having him by my side would adversely affect my Bikram practice. I was afraid I would either: a) be obsessed with how he’s holding up, or b) showing off. Hey, I was a trained ballet dancer for 12 years, so it’s hard to kick that performing for an audience bug.
But I have to say, Bikram has its ways of making sure you do neither. On Day 11 we came in a tad later than I usually come for class so we were relegated to the hottest part of the room: back row, smack in the center, where all the heaters seem to blow the warm air. Since I’ve been kinda cheating for last week and staying near the window where a hint of a draft keeps the air a tad cooler, this was new territory for me. One third of the way into class, sweat was streaming out of my pores and I was starting to feel a bit lightheaded from the hot air swirling incessantly around me. It took all my effort to keep from falling apart, so while I did occasionally feel sorry for my assuredly dizzy man, I had to focus on myself.
A teacher once said in one of our classes that it’s very important not to talk in a Bikram class. When you start looking at your fellow yogis and start empathizing with each other about how tough this is, you start to break down. You start to wallow in how tired you are, how friggin hot the room is. Nothing good comes of it. I learned the truth in this during this class.
The only way we could both stay strong was to focus on ourselves. I was dying, but I did the best sustained standing bow pull of my life in this class! I did well enough to warrant a “You have a very good practice, Celine” from my teacher. I was giddy with joy!
My man also did extremely well for his first class in two years (really the second class of his life). He only sat out one posture, and powered through as much as he could despite the terrible dizziness and nausea first-timers always feel. He’s a determined man, after all—he’s done the Dublin marathon and is just a madman at working out.
The next day, no question about it, we were both ready to do another class. This time he was stronger and had a better understanding of the postures. I think there’s going to be a second Bikram addict in the household!
On my 12th day, I learned that the no-eating-2-hours-before-class is a solid rule. I scarfed down a bowl of ramen at 5:20 when I had a 7PM class, and felt completely out of sorts for the first 20 minutes of Bikram. Tis way better to practice with an empty stomach, for sure.
My posture breakthrough for the day was a higher than usual cobra. I managed to stay in a position where only my belly button touched the floor, and maintained it comfortably for the allotted time. So happy to feel my back opening up finally!
But back to doing Bikram as a couple. The best part, I think, is that it puts us on the same page lifestyle-wise. My guy is a nightowl who can stay up drinking til 5AM on a daily basis. I used to be able to match up with him until Bikram entered my life. Since I started, I’ve been drinking less and wanting to sleep earlier, which is no fun if you’re on the lifestyle we previously enjoyed. But these past few days, we’ve been completely in sync, which is a wonderful way to be. No need to argue about going home too early or wanting to just chill and watch a movie on the couch, rather than going out to party. That kind of peace is just as wonderful as inner peace, I have to say.