Monday, September 13, 2010

Bikram Beginner: Week 1

It's been one week since DH's yoga torture party, I am five sessions into my Bikram odyssey (or "trial membershit" as I often mistype), and I love/hate it. Now I don't mean to be one of those THIS will change your life message people. No, I like to be the skeptic, the contrarian, the voice of snarky dismissal. But after only one session, I had an inkling that, if nothing else, dedicated Bikram practice would be the way to the body that I want to have, and which has previously only been attainable as a result of disordered eating (medically induced or otherwise).

And after one week, which I've also worked some running and biking into, I think the Bikram will produce benefits in all other areas of physical activity, where I can already feel myself becoming more focused and breathing more effectively. And knowing that I can push through the 90 minutes 100+ degree heat standard Bikram session keeps me from flagging or taking it easy on myself. I think I may be sleeping more effectively too.

Although I am coming at this new venture from a state of relative fitness (I exercise regularly, have plenty of energy, and enjoy physical exertion), I am not a flexi person and have never participated in any organized sport or exercise. I struggle with the postures and have to do the bare minimum expression on many of them. I am not a slow or calm person either, so even deep breathing is a challenge.

Every session (at my studio) is identical, and this may seem odd to the outsider. But everyone is coming to this with a different level of fitness, flexibility and experience. All the studio websites that I have perused market themselves as beginner friendly, which is good business of course, in addition to encouraging for those just getting started. And once you're in, you realize that even within the "constraints" of this identical session, the point is to keep working yourself harder - improve your postures, increase your flexibility, increase the frequency of practice. For me, with my unstretchy legs, it's going to be a long time before I'm even working correctly; outgrowing the class is not even in the realm of possibility.

I was looking for some good pictures of postures and found this non-CT website (for Bikram Yoga Portsmouth - I'll be sure to visit if I ever get to leave the state again) which has lots of great pictures, and also has lots of good and encouraging information for beginners.

Local to the Scenics, you can jump start your Bikram journey at Bikram Yoga Simsbury or Bikram Yoga Farmington, which both offer the first thirty days for $30 - a really amazing deal for newbs, and good business too, no doubt, since it gives more people the opportunity to get hooked (conventional wisdom: it takes 30 days to start a habit). You don't need a lot of special gear to get started. If you can set aside your inhibitions, be as naked as possible, because the sweat will be dripping and pouring off of you and the heat is quite oppressive. I've been working the sports bra and shorts look (great stuff available about Marshall's and The Lot, as previously noted). DON'T wear your long, official yoga getups. You will bake. I got a yoga mat for $12 at Marshall's too. I splurged and spent $6 (highway robbery!) on this thingie from EMS to keep my glasses on my head, because I couldn't find such a thingie anywhere else.

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