This week I tried out Francisco's newest fad: Bikram Yoga.
I went with him to the studio in Sunderland where the instructors crank up the heat to 104 degrees (before counting the body heat that will then raise the temperature to what must be at least 130). I started the class by lying down in the relaxation pose that I will not even try to spell (I am not afraid to admit that I am a complete yoga novice, having only ever taken a few classes here and there throughout my life). When they had us stand up the wall of heat that had risen to the surface literally took my breath away, and the oxygen breathed in felt like fire in my lungs. Good times.
Then came the sweat.
The only way to describe the amount of sweat coming off of myself and all of the other bodies in that room is to say that we could only have been wetter had we been underwater. Sweat from my eyes, my shins, and my elbows. Unbelievable. So. Damn. Hot. Our towels were soaked underneath us after the 90 agonizing minutes of twisting and bending into unlikely positions, and I felt a strong urge to throw my clothes out before leaving the locker room.
The yoga itself was not all that impressive. It felt like I was in a military boot camp of flexibility. The man yelled at us to stretch to the point of pain (something I don't remember happening at other yoga classes I've attended), and the woman instructor barked out orders like a tape recorder, clearly she has this script memorized. It seemed almost dangerous, the commanding voices yelling at us to push harder when my head spun from the heat. Several people had to sit down, and one girl had to leave, even though the first thing we were instructed was to try and stick it out.
I am proud to say that I did not leave the room or pass out from the heat. I was by far the oldest and fattest woman in the room and I made it through (barely) two days in a row. I think if I kept it up I might not be the fattest person in the room for long, as it does seem like the pounds would probably sweat off quickly . I'm just not sure if that's worth the unbearable pain of a room that hot, staring up at the fluorescent lights and praying for the instructor to open the door for only a few seconds.
The good thing about Hot Bikram yoga was that the next day I definitely felt rejuvenated and limber. I had more energy than I've had in a long time, and my body felt healthier. I've been motivated to take up salad again, and fill my body with better things, so this might be worth the torture. I have never experienced anything so simultaneously hideous and fantastic. Maybe that's part of the appeal.