Last week I worked back to back weekends in Massachusetts and decided to stay in Connecticut in my little room at the Hotel Sisbarro rather than suffer two more waisted airport days. My dear friend Scott has been practicing Bikram (hot) yoga for quite a while now and I thought it was a good idea to give it a try. He tried to tell me what to expect and even demonstrated a few of the postures I would be encountering. He also warned me not to eat anything and to hydrate myself the day before.
I was entirely unequipped for class so he took me to Target where I bought a pair of compression shorts, some regular running shorts to go over them (no one wants to see me in compression pants!) and a flashy neon sports bra! Fashion is usually half the battle when it comes to working out. I opted for a black t-shirt to tone down the bra!
Now you must understand that Scott has not one, but two hip replacements and seemed to do these poses with relative ease! I also get headaches from low blood sugar in the morning and lack of caffine, so….I can’t image going through and hour and a half class without eating anything at all or moving at all without a cup of coffee! I had a small adkins barre for protein and a cup of coffee for sanity that morning.
Before we left home he supplied me with a beach towel, a mat, another large towel for the shower, a hand towel for class, a large bottle of water and told me to pack dry clothes for after class. I could have gone away for an entire weekend with less than we drug to that yoga studio! I also had to fill out a waiver in case something happened!
I still had no idea what I was in for!
We arrived at the studio which was very nice. The instructor/owner greeted me with ease and told me that the hardest part for the beginner was usually the environment. We were a bit early because we “needed to stake out our space”.
After securing my extra stuff in a cubby hole in the locker room, we entered “the room”! I was surprised to discover that it was already full of people laying around on their towel covered mats in complete silence except for the Zen like music softly playing in the background. This is the type of thing that generally makes me laugh. I get very nervous in quiet places, but I soldiered on and picked a spot in the very back next to Scott and followed his lead.
To steal a line from Sebastian the Crab…..the room was oppressively Hot Hot Hot! At first as I laid on my towel in that heat it felt relaxing. Much like a sauna! Then it began!!!!!!
The instructor entered (all smiles and chill), stood on a wooden platform and began the 90 minute ritual! At first all was fine. The poses, although held for what I though was an unusually long time, weren’t too bad! I found out though that I was holding my breath and straining, which of course is the exact opposite of what I was supposed to be doing.
Ten minutes into class I was dizzy, a bit nauseous and getting increasingly frustrated. Scott, although sweating profusely was emotionally cool as a cucumber and seeming to enjoy his poses! I talked myself down from a panic of trying to breath in that extreme heat and sat on my mat to watch.
From my seat I learned quite a bit! The “regulars” were actually of every shape and size. Men as well as women. Watching them at different levels of the process and listening to the instructor verbally encourage and shape the different bodies was amazing. There were a few that were experts and one that just laid on his back in the shape of a star fish.
I joined in a few more times and with the help of the instructor, modified a few things for my knee that just doesn’t bend anymore. Amazingly, I wasn’t sore at all the next day!
In the end, I am very glad that I went! It was hard, humbling and probably something I will never do again but I have a healthy understanding and respect for those that do! I have since then attempted a few of those poses sans the heat and did Ok. I think it is vitally important as a dance teacher to find out everything you can possibly know about all types of movement and the somatic arts! I think I’ll stick to Pilates as a regular diet!
Thanks to Scott Sisbarro for showing me a part of the world I would have never venture to on my own. Namaste!