The Bikram Diaries

Searching for bliss through 105° of heat

day 19: the more the merrier! April 13, 2009

I always wonder how my friend Kathryn and I are friends. We’re soooo different. She’s super athletic and does things I can’t even imagine doing, like ice-climbing and football. Me, I can’t be bribed into playing a contact sport. I hate getting roughed up and up until recently, was not really into the idea of sweating. But we all know that’s changed.

Well today, Kathryn decided to add one item on to the three things we have in common (we like clothes, we like to eat and we love to get our drink on) by joining me in Monday Bikram class. I always get a little scared when some of my friends come to class because I think they’ll blame me if they hate it (which is highly possible since I tried it and hated it three times before I finally liked it). Well thank goodness, she liked it! Kathryn handled the class better than any first timer I’ve seen. She did all the poses and never stopped to rest.

I was exceptionally focused today and I’m not really sure why! I stayed in the back row so I could be beside Kathryn, and the class was so packed I could only see the top of my head. But maybe that’s why it was easier to focus. I couldn’t be distracted by stuff like the little flab rolls I see when I do the half moon pose, or how much further the people around me seem to be able to bend forward on their standing head to knee pose. I just felt my own body and pushed it as far as it would go, not trying to compete with the yogis around me and not berating myself for having that second piece of chocolate (and thus not helping the flab roll reduction cause). For the first time, I found myself okay with the fact that the class was packed wall-to-wall. The more the merrier!

 

day 18: to the beat of the drum April 10, 2009

Filed under: my bikram diary — Celine @ 12:32 am
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drums
Image via Diafragma66’s photostream

Today’s class was unlike any other Bikram class I’ve ever taken. To celebrate Bikram Yoga Union Square owner Otto Cedeño’s class, the studio held its annual drum class. It’s basically Bikram Yoga done to the beat of Afro-Cuban drums. It was a unique experience, to say the least. First of all, there’s no script during the class. The teacher, Otto, only says “begin” or “change” and he does the poses with the class. So definitely not a class for beginners because you will get no instruction whatsoever.

During the breathing exercise and the first few postures, I felt a little out of sync with the drums. But when we got to the balancing series, I began to enjoy it. Aside from the drums, they also used the shekere, a percussion instrument made out of a hollowed gourd and strung with beads, during the series. Its strong, rushing rhythm propelled me through the postures and gave me a bit more energy, I felt, to hold my asanas. For the rest of the class, however, I still missed the dialogue. Being quite the newbie, I still need those reminders, I still get motivation from the script. I guess the drum class is best done by more experience Bikram practicioners.

That said, it’s always great to experience something new and different. I would never trade traditional yoga for the drum class variety, but I would definitely take the class again next year!

 

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
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monkey-buddha-and-bonnie

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 14: those ZZZs make a difference March 31, 2009

Filed under: my bikram diary — Celine @ 8:59 am
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sleep

Amazing image via cmrowell’s photostream

I used to say things like, “You can sleep when you’re dead.” In my early 20s, I always chose fun drunken nights over a full 8-10 hours. Ok, who am I kidding, until now I still do. But the thing is, I was never really convinced that my body heals and is restored to good health while asleep. I thought that was all mumbo jumbo conjured up by mommies until yesterday.

Over the weekend I felt fantastic everyday. No aches and pains from the Bikram classes; quite a contrast to how I felt on the weekdays. I concluded that I felt better because those were the 4th and 5th consecutive days I’d done Bikram and my body was getting used to it.

WRONG.

Monday morning I had about 5 hours of sleep and I woke up with those familiar twinges of pain. My practice was a little less stellar. I felt tired. I concluded that I needed a break from Bikram perhaps.

WRONG AGAIN.

Today, after a good 7-8 hours of sleep, I woke up feeling like a million bucks. No major aches. I don’t know that I’ll have the most fantastic Bikram class ever, but I do feel good enough that I’d rather take class than laze at home.

Sleep does make a difference after all.

 

bye bye moisturizer March 30, 2009

Filed under: pretty yogini — Celine @ 4:14 pm
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This body butter by Cozy Moments looks good enough to eat but I don’t need it! Since I started religiously doing Bikram, my skin has been in excellent form. My cheeks are soft and supple, and I have no dry patches on my face or my body. It must be the combination of constantly sweating out toxins and gulping down tons and tons of water. I find myself every now and then balking at the cost of taking Bikram yoga, but if I think about the cosmetics it cuts out of my life, I guess it’s a price worth paying!body-butter