BIKRAM YOGA FAIL

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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Gearing up to the month-long yoga project, I went to class once this week.  Awesome, right?  That’s what I call preparation!  It was particularly crowded at Yoga to the People on Wednesday evening, so much so that they opened up the rarely used 4th floor, which was subsequently packed with ten (10!) people per row.  Normally this type of crowd doesn’t bother me at all.  Though meditation has never been my strong suit, I can usually zone out enough to ignore the sweaty dude(tte) doing sun salutes four to six inches away from me.  Sadly, this was not one of those days so it is my pleasure to introduce a new feature!  That’s right, there are gonna be FEATURES on this blog.  And now, without further ado, I bring you Nincompoop Corner!

 

My spot of choice at this particular free yoga studio is by a wall where I can put my glasses near me without them getting stepped on.  Those, however, are plumb spaces so whenever I see one I jump on it without much notice of who might be next to me.  NYU must have just gotten back from winter break because the place was full of stupidly young-looking kids, like the pimple-faced little scamp next to me.  He was not in track shorts or yoga pants and a tee-shirt like the other guys in the room, but was wearing a baggy pair of jeans and a flannel shirt.  I’ve seen people wear jeans in class before so his attire in and of itself wasn’t THAT weird.  (Actually, the flannel shirt was pretty bizarre.  What kind of kid doesn’t wear a tee-shirt under a flannel?)  It got super strange when, two minutes before beginning child’s pose, he TOOK HIS PANTS OFF and proceeded through the entire class in his TINY BOXER BRIEFS.  This was entirely too shocking for me to hide my reaction, and his response to my double take was something like “huhhh huhhhhh, my shorts are real short, right?”  Yes, child.  Too short and too UNDERPANTS.  The flannel shirt, however, stayed on; his typical college-boy “I’m too lazy to shower” musk that was already pretty strong before we got started got WAY worse as the class wore on.

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January 13, 2011

I have a deep, highly illogical fear of the button that says “start blogging,” and an even deeper fear of the button “publish post.”  The existence of a blog does not imply that anyone will actually READ it; in fact, I doubt I will even tell anyone that I am doing this.  My friends have suggested that I start writing again in some form for quite some time, but my argument against it is that my life is just not that exciting.  Regardless, here we are,  birthing a little blog baby in the hopes that it might become something one day and I don’t wake up one morning working on a dock somewhere, lamenting that I coulda been a contender.

In light of the new year (and maybe the last year EVER), this “blog” WILL be posted.  I have gone to yoga for three consecutive days this week, making this the most physically active week of my life since before December 13, 2010.  All the reasons I didn’t hit the gym or my yoga mat for such a long time are flimsy, bad excuses which boil down to a simple truth: I do not like to work out.  Whatever gene or nerve that makes people enjoy sweating, soreness and feeling winded does not exist in my body.  The gene that makes people love cheese, gin and making cream-based pasta sauces-  I have that.  Lots of that.  I also don’t like being bad at things, and I especially don’t like doing things I’m bad at while surrounded by people who are really good at those same things.

Thus is my yoga conundrum.  I have been practicing on and off for almost four (!) years now, though with absolutely no consistency and months-long gaps of nary a downward dog.  The class I attend, while convenient and an enormous bargain, does not lend itself to improvement.  So what’s an eternally novice yogi to do?  All signs point to paying some big dollars to join a legitimate studio and that, my friends, is the only new years…ugh…resolution I plan on making this year.  Starting after a quick trip to see my folks on the weekend of January 21, I am going to shell out the money, join a legitimate studio and begin a strict regimen of yoga every day for 30 days.  The reward: a birthday trip to the Big Easy, for which tickets have already been purchased.

Please note, whoever you are, that this is not a blog strictly about yoga.  But I am going to try and chart my progress, such as it is, for the whole world (read: no one in particular) to read about.  And now the time has come: PUBLISH POST!