I decided I would go for it; I was going to attend my first Bikram hot yoga class with my daughter. I stood in front of a mirror, sweat dripping from my blood-red face. And this was just while I was getting dressed for class.
I entered the yoga facility with lots of energy and a desire to show my daughter that I wasn’t too old to master this feat. She had described the session to me and told me it was pretty difficult. I said, “I’ve been a woman for 52 years. That’s pretty difficult too. I’ll be fine.”
So I walked in the door with my 24 ounces of water, my flip-flops, and my informal yoga outfit which consisted of shorts I’ve owned since college and a dri-weave t-shirt that describes my life . . .it says Eat, Drink, Run. I felt qualified to wear the t-shirt having conquered two of the three words.
We put our shoes under a bench, walked to the locker room, dropped off our bags and took our towels, yoga mats and water into the yoga room. One foot into that room and I wanted to run, screaming, in the other direction. It was like I had stepped into the inside of my body during a hot flash.
“How hot IS this room?” I asked my daughter, who saw the panic on my face. She dragged me out of the room since I was not supposed to be talking in there, much less panicking.
“It’s 105 degrees, with 40% humidity. The class lasts for ninety minutes and you’re not allowed to talk or leave,” she said. How did this place know my two greatest fears?
“What do you mean I can’t leave? What if there is an emergency? What if I have to suddenly go to the bathroom or drive to Taco Bell? There are a lot of reasons to leave this room,” I said. ”And, by the way, I can’t be silent for ninety seconds, much less ninety minutes. What if I see a black widow on the person in front of me or a rattle snake in the corner? What about that? I can’t even warn those people?”
My daughter ignored me and gave me one final warning through gritted teeth, “Just . . .don’t . . . leave . . . the . . . room.” So, we walked into the furnace and I faced my certain hell. Would I burst into flames when a hot flash hit?
I put my mat and towel by the door so I could feel the cool air under it. There would be times during class when I actually pressed my face against that small crack between the floor and the bottom of the door and frantically sniffed the nectar of cool air like a dog.
After twenty minutes of exercise, sweat was dripping off of me and I was telling myself, “Don’t leave. You can do this. Stop thinking you’re taking your last breath. You can breathe in here.” When the man in front of me put his stinky feet in my face, I dialed up the self-encouragement.
I Survived, I Thrived, I Showered
Ultimately, I LOVED the experience. I’ve since taken three more classes, and my frozen shoulders and aching feet are, miraculously, feeling much better. I not only survived the silence but found it incredibly calming. The ninety minutes seems more like thirty minutes, and the instructors were amazing.
Our Dame fitness experts Kathy Phillips and Lorri Hanna are right — exercise makes a huge difference with aches and pains. These maladies seemed to go away. I swear I’m even a little taller.
Bikram hot yoga is awesome!!
Any Dames out there ever tried this? Or maybe some other form of exercise that you loved?