Get Your Sweat On!

by Vashte on July 22, 2013

Bikram Funnies

It’s hot. Boiling hot. The humidity is more stifling than a packed Turkish bathhouse. I’m drenched in my own sweat. Yes Sweat. Not perspiration. There is no way on God’s green earth you could say this is perspiration. Not even in your wildest dreams. I’m dripping, literally drenched in my own sweat.. its running up my nose and into my eyes. And I’m not supposed to wipe it off… just let it drip onto my towel beneath me, or up my nose…. or pour. Whatever the case may be. And now I am supposed to try to get myself out of the entanglement I have put myself in.. remembering to breathe. Apparently some people forget to do that… in this situation. So I make some feeble attempt to unravel myself with decorum, remembering to breathe, oh and to relax my even!! Actually it helps to laugh :) That does initially appear a little difficult as I’m heating up from the inside out; marinating in my own rivers of sweat and have managed to twist my body into something short of an ”upside down Japanese ham sandwich”. Well – at least that’s what my yoga teacher says I am supposed to look like.. whatever that looks like- I am pretty sure I am a long way off remotely appearing that way! And here is where you just absolutely cannot take yourself too seriously. Let it go, and have a giggle. And remember to breathe 😉

I have just started Bikram Yoga. Have you ever tried it? It is that stretching yoga where it has been decided stretching was not hard enough so they heat the room up to the 40C mark or so. :) Wow alright :) I decided to get back into it after my half marathon. I figured it would help with the inflammation my body was walking through after running that distance with little training. And in all honesty, I had lost my mojo for running as well as any form of ‘usual’ training I had been engaged in for the past 12 months. This year has been a series of 2 steps forward and 3 steps back. Joy. I knew there was a high chance of  losing  my sanity completely if I allowed this present stage of non anything to continue, so I took the reigns and made the necessary changes. It is paying off..and I’m only just looking into the start of my third week!!

The penny is dropping again, results are starting and we’re off once again. phew :)

Once you get your head around the heat of Bikram yoga, the fact you do marinate in your own river of sweat; understand no one is looking at you, nor cares what you are doing unless you are just plain distracting; get that all participants in bikram are working on healing themselves, changing themselves, bettering themselves without the need for competition or comparison, it becomes  quite addictive. Well has done for me at least :) So far I have made it to one class every day for six out of seven days. I didn’t make it yesterday so I went for a run instead.. the difference in my strength and lightness on my feet was amazing- in just two weeks. I am chomping at the bit to get back to class today for my hit!bikram

Now this little graph is interesting- don’t think by the third or fourth class you are ”enlightened” and breezing through class no trouble.. ooohhhh big mistake to think this way. Each class will be different- I was chatting to one lady who had been coming for 7 months and she was agreeing with me on how hard the week had been! So it would appear it all depends on what is going on in your world at the time. Just keep coming and keep practicing. What do I consistently say about sport?…BE consistent!

There is much to be said about calming the mind. The majority of my coaching in personal training and life coaching revolves around this very topic. When we become aware of the thoughts and the words we speak over ourselves, as well as how often the chitter chatter is blathering on in the background; it can at first be quite a shock at a. how often we chat and b. the amount of disempowerment we tell ourselves..on a daily basis! So that being said- when you opt to place yourself in a room, with a little yoga mat and towel (designed to soak up the sweat but lets not kid ourselves.. we need at least 3 ..on top of each other to absorb the vast quantities of human sweat about to be unleashed) – … you are either incredibly insane.. or making some attempt to preventing this from taking hold 😉 I’m working on the later, please don’t contradict me on this and allow me my fantasy of being somewhat sane :)

So in this 40C room, in this situation, wearing next to nothing (what is the point- you would only want to rip excess clothing off within 5 minutes WITHOUT caring what anyone else thought…) in this heat, attempting to balance on one leg, and twist your rigid body into strange peculiar positions then “hold it, hold it, hold it”.. whilst you drip, drip, drip… you very quickly learn to still your mind and focus on the task at hand: which is surviving!- Yes, remember to breath!!! ..Slowing your heartrate down… Or just breathing in to the space in your body that you didn’t actually know existed, but … through finding them you may ache, yet in that ache and in that place you find some welcome relief AT finding those places. Because somehow, someway you do know these places are all parts of your body and they DO need stretching, gently. 

Beginner Bikram Yoga is a practice, one form of exercise I connect with so far through the challenge, through the slight pain, through the discipline, and through the mind control. I see quite a number of athletes from other sports enjoying this form of yoga. Perhaps it is the challenge, perhaps it is the discipline. It is certainly different to other more gentle forms of yoga out there. There is a time and place for any sport. We are all unique so that is why we all like different things. I like the intensity of Bikram yoga.  I like the fact I come out of class like a new person- a drowned rat. Devoid of any pretence or pompous attitude.

I like that Bikram Yoga does not have a lot of traditional meditation. I don’t subscribe to the belief of yoga and its origins as a religion.  I am very obviously Christian; through Bikram Yoga I can enjoy the medical, mental and physical benefits of this sport without it encroaching on my beliefs, nor I encroach on its. Every human being needs stretching and we in the modern day world, just don’t do much as a rule! Well not in my definition of modern day life  that is for sure! I participate to enjoy the benefits I have not been able to get lately from my other favourite forms of sports. I have lost the buzz, the thrill, my mojo and ….any quantifiable results! Bikram Yoga is allowing me to challenge myself without the physical stress, nor the emotional stress, and is helping me to overcome the inertia I was walking though coming out of illness.

I love the way the teachers are not all ”into” themselves. Previously my personal experience of yoga lead me to students and teachers who own attitudes I associate with carrots in places the sun rarely sees.. gross generalisation yes, and my own observation only, but definitely my observation. (There is enough of that on the Gold Coast without me going off and looking for it :) ) However, at Bikram Yoga Southport there is a tonne of laughter, the teachers encourage us not to take life too seriously, let alone the practice; and entice you to relax and have fun with it. They welcome new people and explain clearly the postures. They slow you down as a newby as we tend to be eager to get into pose (but can’t off the bat) and let you know it is no race, it is not competition. Just BE. All the things I teach and speak on every day. Lighten up! Its friendly. Its fun. Its a challenge.

Every time this drowned rat emerges from another sweltering hot Bikram Yoga class, I feel lighter physically and emotionally. Detoxing from the inside out and definitely helping me in my flexibility which has never been my forte given my choice of training to date!

I highly recommend giving Bikram Yoga a go if you are looking to recharge your mojo, if you like a challenge, and want to try something completely out of the current box you live in! Each day is different at Bikram Yoga.. in my two weeks so far, it hasn’t become easy, and it hasn’t become hard. What HAS happened is a dramatic increase in my flexibility, my mind, my thoughts, and more physical change than I have seen all year.. and that is only after two weeks. Touch base with me in three months on this topic! That’s when we can gauge what change have occurred. I love it! You may too?! One word of warning though – don’t just try Bikram Yoga for one class. You need to give it at least a week to figure out if you can handle it, how it affects you, and whether or not you enjoy it.  Lets get real- you are in a room set at 40C, you sweat,and then some; you are trying to get your body into unusual positions, in this heat- (well I had never voluntarily just sat in front of the TV and tried it at home personally)… so you will feel strange, you ought to be wearing less than you would normally choose to wear! It will seem weird. It won’t be easy. But isn’t anything you do for the first time this way? You need to give new situations, leanings, experiences a chance. A chance for you to understand them, and your body to get with the programme before passing judgement.

Bikram Yoga is changing my life at this moment in time. I love it. You could too. Try it on for size :) I dare you! HERE is the link for Bikram Southport. Google for your closest studio and get your sweat on!

xx Vashte xx


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