Saturday, June 06, 2009

Tim does a downward-facing dog

Not in that way, you pervert; get your mind out of the gutter. No, what I mean is that today I did a yoga class. But not any old yoga class, I'll have you know…

Earlier in the week I was faffing about on iTunes where I discovered that Mini have released a new application in the App Store. It's called Openness, and ties in with the new Mini Convertible, and the basic gist of it is that it encourages you to try something new that you might not have considered doing before. Effectively, to be more open. Do you like what they did there? Anyway, while I was messing around with it, I found this (and this is where the iPhone's screen-grab facility comes in handy):

Yes, you're reading that right. Bikram yoga is yoga done in a room that's heated to ludicrous temperatures.

So I read that and, rather than think 'that's mad-bonkers crazy,' I thought 'that sounds interesting!' On the downside, the studio listed in the app is a bit out of my way. So I Googled Bikram yoga and found a class that is closer. Much closer. And so, while seeing my physio yesterday (yep, I'm seeing a physiotherapist to help me work out the kinks in my back post-accident) I asked if he thought it was a good idea to go along, and he said yes.

I've only done yoga once before, but I remember thoroughly enjoying it. The only reason I didn't do it again was that the class took place stupidly early on a Saturday morning, and I don't do stupidly early on a Saturday morning unless you're offering me cash. Since the accident, though, I was thinking that I should give some sort of stretchy-class-thing a whirl. Up until the day I downloaded the Openness app I was all ready to go to a Pilates class near Sparky Towers, but the yoga won out because it worked out as being more bang for my buck; I can do as many classes in the next 30 days as I want, all for just 30 quid. That's a bit of a bargain if you ask me, particularly as it's on my way home from work so I can swing by in the evening.

So Pilates be damned, and this morning I rocked up to the class at about half 10, filled out some forms (that probably amounts to them not taking any responsibility if you get stuck in a camel pose), and told them about my injury. The instructor then came over to me and asked if we'd met before; apparently I reminded her of someone off the telly. I assured her I wasn't off the telly (although I wouldn't be adverse to the idea if someone wants a hot, young, whiplash-afflicted chap on their show), and she then talked me through some of the things we'd be doing and how they would help me. All in all, a cracking start.

A few minutes later, I was in the studio waiting for it all to kick off. The studio was warm, but not uncomfortably so. This is nice, I thought.

And then the class starts and they crank the heating up big-time.

Let's digress here to dress code. The website for the class said 'men wear shorts. T-shirt optional.' I decided to go with the optional t-shirt, because when I go running I wear lycra shorts underneath regular baggy shorts, with either a wicking t-shirt or a vest on top. I get pretty hot and sweaty when I'm running, so I figured that if it's good enough for running, it's good enough for yoga and I'd go with the lycra, baggy shorts, and vest combo; they're all lightweight, and wick the sweat away from your body remarkably well. About 20 minutes into the class sweat was pouring out of me like I was a leaky water-filled balloon. Seriously. My vest's wicking properties had utterly deserted it, and every time I did a pose that resulted in my head pointing down towards the floor loads of sweat would slosh off my head and leave a puddle on the mat. Next time, and this will please some of my more lascivious readers no end, I'm totally going all Fight Club and ditching the shirt.

The lycra shorts are staying under the baggies, though; despite the fact they were sopping wet by the end, no one needs to see my gentlemanly parts mid-standing bow pose.

So anyway, the class lasted 90 minutes, and I'm happy to report that I held my own, for the most part. My balance is pretty good - I could hold some one-legged poses where some people who'd gone before wobbled a bit, and the instructor complimented me a couple of times (I do like a compliment - they make me smile). Towards the end, though, I did get a little bit overwhelmed and had to sit down for a bit - but that's OK; the instructor had told me that the aim of your first session is just to stay in the room, and I totally did that! In fact, I stayed in there for about 10 minutes after the class ended, although it was more to do with the fact that I was feeling a bit dizzy.

Overall, then, while I will concede that it sounds a little bit batshit crazy to be doing yoga in a room that feels like it's in close proximity to the surface of the sun, I'm glad I went and I really enjoyed it. And while I wouldn't quite say that I feel at one with the universe or anything like that, I do feel like I've had a quality workout, and I will be going back tomorrow - and as many times as I can until my 30 day pass expires. Just, y'know, with less clothes on.

10 comments:

Ponita in Real Life said...

Physio *and* Bikram yoga! Good on you, Tim, for taking your body seriously and working to get back into good health..

I've not tried Bikram, but I do have a brother who has a yoga studio teaching Ashtanga yoga. I have major problems with my hands (carpal tunnel in both, surgery already on one), so any poses that require leaning on them cause me great discomfort (ie downward facing dog) so I haven't done yoga in a while.

You, however, have inspired me to try it again. Especially considering I can get the classes for free...

I worked with someone who swore by Bikram yoga... and I thought she was nuts... Well, she *is* nuts, but that's besides the point. She was always very bendy and in great shape!

Hope it works well for you. :-)

Tim said...

It's great, isn't it? I did my second class today and felt like I did so much better than I did in the first - and I wasn't as disorientated as I was at the end! The heat of the room really hits you about 20 minutes in, but you kind of get swept up in what you're doing and end up forgetting about it.

I genuinely feel like it's making a difference already! If you get the chance to try Bikram yoga out, definitely give it a whirl!

Lascivious reader said...

There will be photos next time, won't there? There'd better be, otherwise I'm coming down there...

* readies stalking outfit *

Tim said...

And … he's back!

CyberPete said...

I thought Bikram yoga was the naked yoga thing. My mistake.

I'm glad it's working out for you. I prefer other sweat inducing activities that require less clothes but similar poses.

Tim said...

No, no nakedness in Bikram yoga. At least not so far. I don't want to risk getting chucked out by trying it.

watch*paint*dry said...

Maybe I should do Bikram, I fell asleep in the last yoga class I went to. Which is odd considering I don't tend to sleep much.

Tim said...

I'd be surprised if you fell asleep in Bikram yoga. Passed out, maybe; fell asleep, nah…!

Tara said...

I've only heard of the regular Yoga, never knew there was something like Bikram yoga! Hmm.

My mom and I took a regular yoga class once and it was kind of hard to tell if it made me relax. I spent most of the time trying not to disrupt the class with my laughter. While everyone was twisting and posing, there were many...uhm...noises that came out of relaxed bodies.

Tim said...

I'd heard that there were strange … um, noises in yoga, but fortunately I've not encountered any at Bikram yoga. Which is a bonus because I can only imagine the heat would accentuate the smell…