Sunday, September 23, 2007

Some Like it Hot...REALLY Hot

I have been going to the gym for oh, almost two-thirds of my almost three decades on this planet. And this past spring, I got tired. And bored. But I was a bride-to-be. It was not the time to lose my athletic religion, yet my feet just wouldn't walk me to the gym anymore. I needed a change.

In addition to my gym addiction, I have tried all the exercise trends. In the eighties it was Mousercise with my sisters in our leotards and legwarmers. In the early nineties, the Cindy Crawford workout. The late nineties, step aerobics. The millenium, I pushed myself to Billy Blanks' Tai Bo and cardio kick-boxed my way out of the college puff. Mat Pilates, Vinyasa Flow, Total Body Conditioning, Ashtanga yoga...the list is endless. All the while running, lifting and ellipticalling on the gym floor day after day.

So its no surprise that when the need for change came, I found Bikram Yoga.

Bikram Yoga is the brainchild of legendary yogi Bikram Choudhury, who overcame severe physical injuries by practicing this particular 26-posture sequence. The postures are uncomplicated; anyone who has downward-dogged their way through a standard yoga class can easily handle it. The sequence emphasizes balance of your systems and addresses your circulatory, digestive, endocrine, nervous, and immune systems. Sounds good, right? But here's the catch - the room is hot. REALLY hot. 105 degrees hot. 90 minutes of 105 degrees hot. So those uncomplicated postures suddenly become a lot more challenging.

There's reason behind the heat, it helps you sweat out toxins, regenerate cells, and loosen muscles, tendons and ligaments. I shiver at 80 or below, and after 8 hours of suffering in an office that feels like a Sub Zero, I embrace the hot. But if you blast the AC in April, this might not be for you. If you don't like to sweat, this might not be for you. You will sweat more during this 90 min class than running 9 miles. Oh, and the guy next to you will sweat that much too. You know, the one with the hairy back and the banana hammock that you concentrated very hard all class to avoid seeing. So if you can't handle a little skin, this class might not be for you. But if you like a challenge, want to feel healthier, look leaner, and gain physical and mental strength, this class may be for you.

Luckily, at Center Siddhi Yoga, they know its not for everyone. But they want you to give it a good try, so they offer a $20 unlimited week for beginners. If you go, drink A LOT of water before, during, and after. And bring a towel. Namaste.

Bikram Yoga of India
Center Siddhi Yoga
1520 Sansom Street, 3rd floor

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