from bikram yoga

I haven’t done yoga in many, many years. In fact you might say I have had a yoga phobia. I’m not even sure why.

When I was in college (like a million years ago!) my boyfriend and I took up a home course in Bikram yoga after seeing the extremely sexy and appealing yoga-in-a-Turkish-prison scene in Midnight Express. It looked pretty irresistable. So we bought this book, and I bought a Danskin leotard (LOL) and we commenced to learn the poses along with Bikram and his cast of inflexible movie stars. (he had these hilarious pose photos – you can do it perfectly like Bikram here, but if you are a normal person with hamstrings of concrete, you may do it like … Debbie Reynolds!) But seeing the imperfect movie stars was kind of reassuring.

After that one stint of doing yoga in- what – 1978? I stopped and actually have not been back since. I’ve had a weird chip on my shoulder and I don’t even know why. At some point I came to associate yoga with sanctimonious Cafe Gratitude– type vegans AND with women who put on makeup and $150 Lululemon clothes to exercise. I mean, if you’re going to do yoga, I kind of think you ought to be doing it while wearing rags on a concrete floor. LOL. It’s supposed to be a spiritual practice, not a practice in consumerism and looking stylish.

Also, I can’t sit upright with my legs extended and since you have to do that ALL THE TIME in yoga, it makes me feel cranky and inadequate. Maybe that’s the REAL reason.

BUT… my friend who moved to New York was back in town for just a few days, and she invited me to her favorite yoga class, and said the instructor is AMAZING, and then we were going to go to the Bakesale for Japan together, and it’s really the only opportunity we had to get together, so… what the heck. I went.

First of all. This was a Level 2-3 class. Hahahaha. Second of all, it was PACKED. (popular teacher/ Saturday morning) Thirdly, I thought it was an hour class but it turned out to be 90 minutes more like 100 because he went overtime. YOW.

It started out innocuously enough. Some “getting in touch with your breath/body” stuff which segued into some very gentle neck stretches, and it had been going on forever, and I thought, not so bad.

Then it got bad.

There was a lot of downward dog and plank activity, and warrior pose stuff and even flying on one leg, but the thing that got to me was the Rabbit. (picture above) Except we not only did it like the picture, we also did it while our back quarters were still downward dogging, and one leg up in the air. We were to put all the weight of our bodies on our HAIRLINE. I mean, ow.

This yoga is no joke, people. I have had a few forays into “gentle” yoga or “restorative” yoga and this was a total kickass workout. I was shaking and trembling and sweating and really FEELING IT. It felt like it went on and on forever, but in fact it was around 95 minutes. Give or take.

When it was over, I was trembling like a scared Chihuaha for about an hour. I felt really… shaky. But then after that I felt good. Really good.

That’s my takeaway message. I’m probably going to do more yoga because it’s like good medicine. I think it’s good for me and does things that my other workouts don’t do. I’m going to start investigating different classes and see which ones might be a good fit for me. This one was pretty hardcore. At one point people were actually doing HEADSTANDS and I was like… whaaaaattttt? No way I was even going to go there. But it was good, and I do think another barrier was broken in Foodie McBody-land.

After the class we went over to the main Bakesale for Japan location. In my mind I was thinking this might be a day when I’d break my chip vow and try some sugar. Everything looked freaking AMAZING. But in the end, I decided it wasn’t worth it to me. I took a tiny nibble of something called a “sesame stick” and it was on the sweet side so I didn’t eat any more. But I also got some miso pork (made from Sendai miso, how perfect could that be?) and some farm eggs and little cheddar crisps made from cheese and black rice – wow, right? Yum.

It was a good day. And I definitely stayed on track, both exercise and sugarwise. Yay!

Tell me: what do YOU think of yoga? What kind do you do? What kind do you like?

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