Monday, February 16, 2009


Yoga is something I've always 'thought' about. Sure I grew up with everyone's favorite PBS braid on Lilias, Yoga & You, sure I own a yoga dvd (watched it once), and most assuredly I have always had a huge trepidation about taking a yoga class.

Which means I ain't never taken no yoga class.

In general I am not a 'class' person any way, reminds me too much of *shudder* gym in school; but I have taken various classes from time to time in my life. The worst of which being the spin class my beloved trainer-turned artist, Rafael, agreed to take with me just so I'd try it. That was once. We both nearly died - spinning sucks! (she says cheerfully while vowing: NEVER AGAIN!)

So taking a yoga class has been one of my many fears. One of those things I kinda wanted to try but never could get myself to do... like swimming (which I can do now thanks to a ten-minute swimming lesson from Gary in Mexico.)

Yesterday Miss X's mom and I were planning to take a yoga class together. She's done it before, a pro that girl, but she had agreed to try something new: Bikram yoga. Yes, the one that's done in a crazy-hot room for 90 minutes. Prior to the event she sent me these three stages to prep me for the challenge. I reprint them here for your amusement.
for me there are 3 stages of yoga:
1. the "yoga is a good idea" stage before going to yoga.
2. the "why the fuck did I decide to do this it's too fucking hard" stage while doing yoga and
3. the "that wasn't so bad and I feel really good" stage when I'm done.
Well, as it turned out the poor thing came down with a tummy flu on Saturday night and if there's one place you don't want to be when you're sick is in a 105 degree room doing yoga. Uh-NO. So sadly we were not going to take the class.

Thing is I had gotten myself VERY excited about trying this, I mean I made a commitment to buying a mat (very pink and floral, so girly) I really wanted to use it - at least once - before it got relegated to the back of the closet. The only problem was the fear. The fear of yoga. The fear of the class environment. The fear of the goddamned heat. And the fear that if I didn't do it now I never would.

I did the back and forth with myself for hours: do-it. No way. DO IT. No WAY. DO IT I SAID! (oh shit was that my mother's voice?)

The two things that pushed me over the edge to just go - alone and terrified - were

1) the class for beginners was given only on the weekends. Beginners are welcome to all classes, but the beginners-only class is just on the weekends. I didn't want to wait until next weekend, and I didn't want to go into a full-out class unprepared. I figured since this particular class is limited to 10 students the worst that would happen is I embarrass myself in front of 9 students and 1 teacher maximum. I can deal with that.

2) I realized that if I could go swimming with dolphins in a country where I barely speak the language, when I didn't know how to swim and I was traveling solo, that there was no logical reason I couldn't haul my ass two blocks away from my apartment and take a yoga class. So I did it.


And I'm going back this morning for another session.

Yeah. It was hard, but it was great. I was the only one of the 10 beginner students who had to stop (more than once) because I honestly thought I was going to throw up.
BUT the teacher was really encouraging and the whole deal is to do your best, listen to your body, keep trying, do not compare yourself to anyone else in the room, and most of all just stay in the room. As she said: As long as you're in the room, you're doing yoga. Just stay in the room.

Staying in the room is hard enough, let me tell ya. It's a sauna, not that I've ever been in a sauna either, but you get the picture. I felt sick and dizzy and nauseated... but I stayed in the room. I stopped when I really needed to and then got back into it. And you know what? I did 100% better than I could ever have imagined. No one was more shocked than me that I could do some of these crazy poses and not tear a ligament or fall on my face. So I'm going back today to try again. Maybe I'll do better than yesterday, maybe I'll do worse but the main thing in Birkram, as in life, is "stay in the room".

Not such bad advice, is it?


whimsical brainpan said...

Good for you for going! I am so proud of you. :-)

I tried Yoga once (but not Birkram). I kept falling over and felt like an idiot. I never went back.

BetteJo said...

I've got a yoga tape that I did once. And I felt nauseous halfway through and never did it again. Then I bought a yoga for dummies tape - (ok - it's a DVD) which I have never even watched. So I give you lots of props for just going - sticking it out and going back again is HUGE! Congrats!

Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Sorry about the tummy flu and glad you're better. Keep at it, you'll be glad you made the commitment to yoga.

Anonymous said...

you are hilarious!!! i laughed out loud

Salty Miss Jill said...

You are so smart. :) Love you.
And have fun with the yoga!

Bella said...

I am really glad you "stayed in the room," and found you liked it. I tried yoga a few times in the past and could never get into the poses, but when I tried Bikram, I loved it. I like the hotness of the room because I think it limbers me up a bit. And while I still can't get into every pose perfectly, there's something about the slowness of the movements in Bikram yoga that I love.

You know, it's been months since I've taken a yoga class, and maybe it's about time I got back into the studio. Thanks for reminding me.