On Saturday I tried something I’d been incredibly curious about for the last year (at least).
Yoga itself is something I’ve only just begun to accept as okay. I was raised by a pair of free-love, marijuana-smoking, hippie types in Berkeley, California and since my mother never shaved any part of her body, invited strangers into our home on the regular and practiced yoga – I discounted it as hippie hoo-ha and refused to even consider it.
I’m 47 years old, my hippie parents are even older and while they still have some hippie traits about them, I can’t deny they are incredibly educated (both are now retired attorneys) and my mother, who sometime over the last 20 years started shaving her legs and underarms, is a pretty fit “old lady” who I love and adore more than most.
All this to say Yoga was back on the table as “possibly acceptable.”
I bought P90X for my son a few years ago and when he quit acting like he was going to use it, I used it and fell in love with it. I did the whole P90X thing from beginning to end a couple of times EXCEPT I skipped the yoga. Wasn’t interested. Guess 44 wasn’t old enough to appreciate change.
Then the last time I started the rotation I decided to give the yoga my time and I loved it. Loved it. It calmed me after an awful day at work, took stress away without much effort and let me just focus on me, my breathing and my poses. Magical. Kind of like running, except I can do it in the evening.
Rolling back up to how I started this, I’ve been curious about Bikram yoga for a while because, well, yoga isn’t easy. If you’ve never done it you may think that it is, but it isn’t. And doing it in a hot room seems crazy. Still I was intrigued.
I’m a little neurotic about cleansing toxins from my system on the regular. I’m a little neurotic about what I’m eating, why I’m eating it, where it comes from, is it organic, will it harm me to eat it, etc.
I’m a vegetarian all the time, a vegan most of the time and a raw foodist a good portion of the time. Because I’m neurotic. And well, yeah, maybe because I was raised by hippies, one of which is a woman who chose 12 years ago not to do chemo when she had breast cancer and instead healed herself (and is currently cancer free) with a raw food diet. Yeah, that may have something to do with it.
So my mother and I just went through the ten day Master Cleanse. If you’re not familiar with the Master Cleanse you live ten days on a lemonade concoction of lemon juice, water, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. No food. It’s hard, it’s easy, and it’s boring. That’s what it really is. But I do it regularly because I’m neurotic and I always feel good on the other side, like I’ve pushed an internal reset button.
Friday was day 10 of the cleanse. Friday I asked my mother if she wanted to go to a Bikram Yoga class with me on Saturday morning. She did her research about it (because she’s retired, and used to be an attorney and is all about research) and when I came home on Friday she said “hell yeah” she wanted to do the Bikram, it was all about releasing toxins from the body with the heat, etc., and would be a nice complement to coming off the cleanse. Well alrighty then.
Day 11 of the cleanse does not find you eating, by the way. Day 11 and Day 12 you simply get to drink fresh squeezed orange juice instead of lemonade.
Saturday morning at 6:40 we were at the studio. Filled out the paperwork, made our way into the room. Put our mats down and laid down in Savasana. As I laid there in the 105 degree room with 40% humidity I thought, hmm, I am not a fan of heat, but this isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
When the instructor came in and we started moving through the 26 poses I wanted to slap myself. 105 degrees with 40% humidity is fine when you’re lying on your back breathing, but the second you start twisting your body all around in a room with 30 other people it’s cruel and unusual.
But when those 90 minutes were over I had to admit that I enjoyed it far more than I expected to and I looked at my mother and said “same time tomorrow?” And she said “hell yeah!” So there we were on Sunday, Day 12 of no food, sweating more than I ever thought humanly possible through 90 of the longest minutes of my life, but again, when it was over I was happy to have done it.
It’s an experience like no other.
A weird experience.
Now, a day later, I’m eating (raw) food again and life is generally back to normal, but I can’t deny that I’m looking forward to next Saturday’s class. I’m thinking it might feel different after a week back on this thing we call “food.”
Bikram and I have a relationship now and I’m interested to see where he takes me.