A friend of mine encouraged me to join her for her bikram yoga class this week. I had no idea what this meant until she put into layman's terms for me. "2 words," she said, "Hot. Yoga."
Boy o boy was I clueless about what this lil extravaganza would entail.
I arrived 30 minutes early per my friend's instructions to fill out the waivers and jockey for position in the back of the room (so I could watch the more experienced yogis do their thing).
Upon entering the studio, I was slapped in the face with a wall of some sort of hideous odor. I came to later identify it as the putrid stench of feet and sweat. I continued in and took off my boots and jacket per the signs in the entryway and shuffled barefoot up to the front desk.
After signing the appropriate waivers, I headed to the locker room after navigating my way through the coed naked shower line from the previous class. I found a spot to disrobe and looked around nervously to see what others were (or weren't) wearing. I had originally planned to sport a tank top; but, had a change of heart upon contemplating the 100 degree temperature I was about to endure.
I stepped in to the studio and set up my mat and towels and tried to sit down and relax before class began. I couldn't help but admire the lean and flexible people all around me and only hoped that being able to touch my toes was an appropriate pre-requisite.
Class began and the first exercise included deep breathing. I was already struggling as the first few beads of sweat began to trickle down my back. The next few postures didn't get any easier; but, I hung in there. The sweat became more and more intense and grasping my own limbs became a near impossible task. I highly suggest one bring along a minimum of 2 towels for these classes!
The class lasted about 90 minutes. Some of it was absolutely grueling. Listening to the instructor in his tiny spandex shorts clapping out commands in the midst of the downpour of sweat sent me into a trance. I was becoming one with the room and even though I struggled on just about every pose, I felt satisfaction in the fact that I was doing it. I was there. I set a goal to try something brand new that pushed me way beyond my comfort zone. And boy did it ever. I sat in a room drenched from head toe in sweat with racoon eyes from mascara (so much for waterproof) with nothing on but a sports bra and tiny shorts.
Talk about WAY beyond the comfort zone!
I left the studio really looking forward to the fresh, cool January air; but, I also left feeling extremely empowered. I conquered the anxiety I had felt about going in there and pushing myself to do something I had never done before. And that, my friends, is the wonderful feeling!