March 16th, 2009


Adventures in Yoga Classes

Saturday morning I woke up early and got myself to the Bikram Yoga class. I found the studio to be convenient, close enough to my place, and the staff cheerful and helpful. The workout? I can only describe it in one word: Brutal. (Not that this is a bad thing. It just is.)

Why brutal, may you ask?

Well, the routine in itself is strenous and challenging, which is fine and what I am looking for. You can also adapt it to your own level of expertise (none, in my case), which is fine too. What makes it really brutal is the fact that you are doing all of this in a 105 degree room with a high degree of humidity.

And you do all that for a span of 90 minutes.

In their website, they tell you that you should dress as if you were going to the beach, and to bring a large towel. And they were not kidding! Everyone was dressed in sports bras and shorts, and the guys wore no shirts. Boy, was I was happy that I had acquired some Underarmor Dry Fit shorts and sports bra the night before! The reason for all of this is that you are going to sweat. Really sweat. And this is true even for someone like me who, due to very low blood pressure, rarely does.

Good gravy! By minute 30 I was drenched. By minute 80 I was about to pass out (I was informed that this was not unusual for a first timer). By minute 90, I was crying uncle.

Did I like it? Well, as grueling as the workout is, you walk out of there feeling like a million bucks. This is probably because at that point you are only too happy to get out of the heat and the dark and walk into the sunlight.

You are also overwhelmed by the compelling desire to cover yourself in woad, moon everyone around, and start running around in your underwear yelling "Freedom!"

The other two plusses is that the heat and humidity will do wonders for your skin and that it is probably the best Pennsic training that you'll ever get. That is, except for the small problem that unless you do this 2-3 times per week, it will never get easier and you will make no progress. Or so I was told by the fine folks at the studio.

So here is the quandary, if my practicing yoga of any brand is for me only a means of incorporating an element of flexibility to my workout routine as opposed to becoming a yoga master (or mistress), is there any point in starting this from scratch every single week? I am not sure.

This is especially true since I slept most of the afternoon, and next day I was so tired that it wasn't even funny. (Plus I caught some kind of bug that made me feel queasy all day. It's got nothing to do with the yoga class, but it certainly didn't help.)

I think that Bickram Yoga is a fabulous fitness tool, but I am not sure that it is for me. For one thing, I don't have 90 minutes to spare during the week for this, so I am not sure how it would fit in my fitness plans. Instead, I will try other types of yoga classes that are available on weekends, and see which one works better for me.

I hear that the Gold's Gym in Ballston has some available on weekends, and those would be free with my membership, which is a plus.

Stay tuned for the next chapter of "As the Belfebe Turns."