February 3, 2011

Note: This entry was meant to go up on Sunday evening, but I was too lazy to finish it until now.  I mean, the SAGs were on and I HAD to know who said stuff and wore stuff!

Upon entering Week 2: Yoga Boogaloo, I experienced my first real yogi disappointment, all thanks to one man: Bikram Choudhury.  There is a Bikram studio 10 blocks away from my apartment, and taking a class there seemed like a good alternative to making the 40-minute subway trek to my usual studio in Manhattan.  Furthermore, this particular brand of yoga has such a fervent following that I had become increasingly curious about it over the past few years.  So, armed with my rarely used hot mat, an enormous towel and very little clothing, off I went into my doom, and the undoing of what was supposed to be a really fun Saturday night.

First of all, the entire Bikram Yoga South Slope facility smelled awful, except for the tiny bathroom adjacent to the ladies’ changing area.  There was a pretty powerful air freshener in there.  I have never done yoga anywhere that smelled continuously of roses, but even the airy, seemingly well-ventilated lobby area of the studio made me wretch a little.  The temperature of a Bikram space is always 105 degrees according to Mr. Choudhury’s patented* style, and I’ll be damned if walking into that room wasn’t like entering someone’s exceedingly smelly armpit.  The studio’s website neglected to mention that another key atmospheric trait in Bikram is 40% humidity- a fact that, if I had been made aware of it, would probably have kept me away altogether.

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