18 July 2009

Bikram: Yoga For The Clinically Insane

Take a look around upstairs at 26 Ponsonby Road and you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd walked into a sleepover party. This afternoon, I arrived at East West Studio for my first Bikram yoga class and was met by a bunch of scantily clad bodies laying out on mats in a room just slightly too warm for comfort.

Bikram has been a longheld obsession of mine and Sally's, and the other day when I happened to drive past the studio, I saw my chance to finally try it. So this afternoon I boldly ran up the stairs and registered. The idea behind the practice is fairly simple: 26 poses, performed in sequence, in a room heated to around 40 degrees celsius. Try it if you dare.

I had a good time. I'm sort of freakishly flexible, and overly competitive, so I usually get the wrong end of the stick with yoga and make it into a bend-off (unbeknownst to the other practitioners, of course). This invariably results in my becoming even more flexible, and my already ridiculous ego getting even worse. I tried a different approach this afternoon, and concentrated on posing the best I could (something else right up my alley, I'm sure you'll agree).

One gross thing: sweat! Seriously, kids, I've done a lot of running in my time, and I have never in my life egested as much sweat as I did in the 90-minute class today. I was repulsed when, two minutes into the class, the guy next to me started dripping onto MY mat. Gag. However, by the end of it all, I was just a big slippery mess. It sort of leaves you feeling detoxified, a little bit (after a good shower, anyway). My recommendation? Two towels. One to lie on (you spend a surprising amount of time in the creepily named "Corpse" pose), and one to wipe your face with. Because I estimate you will want to wipe your face at least 40 times.

My general consensus: ka pai. I'd go back every day, if I wasn't moving tomorrow (yeah, more on that later). There's just nothing like being limber.

Peace, love and... corpses.

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