The Bikram Diaries

Searching for bliss through 105° of heat

day 17: random acts of kindness April 8, 2009

I remember talking to my sweetie once about how people in Bikram class seem to be SO NICE. The locker rooms can get horribly crowded but everyone seems to be polite and patient amidst the chaos.

Today I wasn’t one of those terribly nice and patient people. I’m PMS-ing so I’m just not the nicest person to be around, period (no pun intended). My crankiness extended into class because I had skipped four days and felt like I’d regained flab and lost flexibility. I was cranky up until my head hit the towel for final savasana. I trudged out of the room and lined up to take a shower with a cloud of gloom over my head.

Then suddenly the girl in front of me turns and asks, “Do you need a bag?” I was so surprised by the question that it took me a few seconds to answer yes. When she went to grab a plastic bag for her wet clothes, she took an extra one and handed it to me. Such a simple gesture but it lifted my mood considerably. Why hasn’t it ever occurred to me to do that? Definitely have to start.

In other acts of kindness news, I paid up for the special one-year offer at Bikram Yoga Union Square which cuts down the price of unlimited yoga with towels and free mat storage to less than $80 a month (normally approximately $133). My entire year of Bikram is courtesy of my sweetheart/Sugar Daddy. So sweet! In related Sugar Daddy news, Monkey was also gifted with one year of Bikram by her darling Buddha. Gotta love these guys! Hey, I think it’s a win-win situation. They cough up the moolah and they get a girlfriend who’s hot, perpetually happy from the endorphins, and grateful all year long. If I had the money (and um, if I were a guy?) I’d pony up the cash too!


happy bikram birthday & day 16 April 3, 2009

blowing-candlesImage from Conde Nast Archive/CORBIS via Foxtongue’s photostream

Otto Cedeno, owner of Bikram Yoga Union Square, is celebrating his birthday this month with a bang—literally. On April 9 at 8PM, BYUS is having Otto’s annual Birthday Drum Class, where yogis and yoginis get to do Bikram to the beat of Afro-Cuban drums. Food and wine will be served after class.

Quite possibly more fun than the idea of a birthday drum class are the great discounted rates they are providing as part of Otto’s birthday celebration. If you have the cash (I mean this literally because the deal is only if you’re paying with cash and not plastic), you can get an entire year of unlimited yoga with towels and mat storage included for just $939. That is an AMAZING discount because it means you’re just paying about $79 per month! I don’t see any studios beating that sick deal. If you’re paying with a credit card, you can get the same deal for $1,257, which is not as impressive at $104.75/month but still great nevertheless. If you’re not liquid nor willing to go into debt, there’s an annual debit monthly special too for $140/month that includes free towels and mat storage. Still $26.50 in savings per month.

My sweetheart, who can hereafter be dubbed Sugar Daddy (he said it, not me!), offered to help fund my yoga habit as my birthday gift! Sweet. I love birthdays.

On my Day 16 of Bikram: I landed a front row, center spot today where hot air was blowing at me from the heater above for most of the class. I handled it quite well, I thought. I had a pretty strong class and I wasn’t overwhelmed by the heat. It’s a sign, I guess, that I have to start weaning myself away from the spots by the window. Time to grow up yogini!


day 15: it’s contagious April 2, 2009

Filed under: my bikram diary,the significant other — Celine @ 8:40 am


First I infected my significant other with the Bikram bug. Then, our friends Buddha, Monkey and Bonnie voluntarily signed up for Bikram without my having to bribe them with bolognese sauce! Absolutely amazing.

On Day 15, they joined me at the 8PM class in Bikram Yoga Union Square. They were heavily forewarned about the need to hydrate and possible nausea. I’m proud to report that they did quite well! None of them up and walked out of the class, which I’ve seen some newbies do. And they certainly did much better than I did on my first class (not that my first class is a proper benchmark; I started hyperventilating after the awkward pose). Buddha and Bonnie struggled midway but stayed in the room and kept themselves acclimated. Monkey was a rock star! She did every single pose and only stopped to rest once. I knew that the stubbornness she applies to pool would translate to Bikram. She has been going to class everyday and I am sooooo proud of her. Can’t wait to see the hotness Bikram will bring to Monkey’s physique.

I did a relatively good class, but I am still struggling with the same old poses. I need to improve the strength of my standing leg for both standing head to knee pose and toe stand.

On the upside, my back is getting stronger. I used to dread the full locust but after a marked improvement in the height I can lift my legs, these days I’m always curious to see if I can lift my legs a little bit more off the ground. The head to knee pose on the floor series and the situps also make me happy because I can see that I’m stretching closer and closer to my legs.

Had a Bikram yoga break yesterday but will take class tonight with the significant other, who has gotten as addicted as me to Bikram. Fun times!


day 11 & 12: bikram pour deux March 29, 2009


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.