It’s Gettin’ Hot In Here

Yoga Bikram style

Photo courtesy of Bikram Yoga in Seacliff (I am the one in the blue)

Do you have that post-holiday (Easter, Passover) feeling that something is missing? Are you feeling let down by the experiences with your faith community or your family?

I think I know what you are missing, and I have just the thing for you.

You are missing a key insight that will help you understand the neurosis that is Outlaw Mama’s modus operandi.  In the back of your mind I know you have been wondering, “What makes her tick? Why does she move from a fan letter to a scathing book review of The Hunger Games? Is her medication off?”

The questions, cumulatively, are like an itch you can’t reach. Consider this post a nice, long (hygienic) fingernail to hit that spot on your back that is begging for some scratch.

You may know my thoughts on yoga as I posted them here. The nutshell version is that I stink at yoga, which is hard on my tender ego, but helps me understand how my children must feel when I implore them to act like rational human beings at key moments during the day, say, when they eat their snacks, or put on their shoes, or have a screaming contest that drives me head-first into the kitchen to raid my stash of chocolate-covered smoke Gouda balls. (Yummy!)

You know that old saying that if you are not great at yoga, you should do the yoga that takes place in a room heated to 105 degrees to see what happens? Well I took those sage words to heart and took myself to a bikram yoga (“hot yoga”) class today.  I figured that even though I suck at room temperature yoga, I would see if my Texas genes lent me any yogi cred when I took the show to the sweat shop.

It was like doing yoga on a tarmac at high noon in Las Vegas during an August heat wave.  Holy Mother of Kevin Bacon– it’s no joke that the room is hot.  I kept thinking I smelled curry, but it was my finger tips because Sadie and I made a curry stew for the slow cooker before class. (Look at me– going to bikram yoga and making curry stew with my daughter. I win! I win! I am the most enlightened mother of all goddamned time!)  (Please note: My tip is to wash your hands thoroughly before going to bikram yoga class.)

The class was full of stuff I was expecting like women with eight-packs and people who could snap my substantial childbearing hips like twigs.  It was also full of unexpected things: Um, like the lady in front of me who was 8 months pregnant.  I am no doctor, but is that an ok thing to do? I couldn’t take a hot shower for 9 months, but she can come to 90-minute bikram yoga classes?

Life isn’t fair.

Anyway, I hung in there pretty good. It was disorienting to do yoga in a room where over half the people were wearing swimsuits. (One of suits was maternity, and yes I am obsessed with bikram mommy-to-be.)  I was amused.  I didn’t feel like I fit it, but I did feel like I had a right to be there.  It was fun to be drenched in sweat from doing nothing more than trying to balance on one leg and grab my toes.  I enjoyed the teacher’s intensity.  She didn’t appear to care what I wanted to work on because the routine is always the same.  She didn’t do any demonstrations so I had to watch all the swim suit models bending and folding and dripping all over their mats to understand what was going on.

The sign outside the door to the studio room said, “Be willing to suffer.” Hello! This is my kind of yoga. Suffering is my bailiwick. I love suffering; I am part Irish!  Overt masochism: that’s the best offer any class has ever made me.

The sign also said you are only allowed to breathe in the room– no talking or socializing. I am pretty sure that included whistling “It’s Gettin’ Hot In Here,” which I was DYING to do the whole time. The bikram crowd is a serious, quiet and intense lot.  I may fit in after all, except for the serious and quiet part.

My only regret (besides my curry nails) is attending the class alone. No one should do bikram without a buddy. It’s criminal to sweat that much alone. I am still trying to think of how to describe this to Jeff so he will come with me next time.  I am pretty sure I will just leave out the part about the room being 105 degrees.

I didn’t spend much time in my competition brain, mostly because I was trying to stay alive and calculate when I could have my next sip of water.  I will humbly admit that I smoked the pregnant lady– she couldn’t even do a single cobra, what with that almost-full-term baby in her belly.

To recap: The Outlaw Mama philosophy is that if what you are doing isn’t working, you should just turn up the temperature and see what happens.

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