Monday, March 21, 2011

Bend it Like Bikram

The high temperature in Williston, Vermont yesterday hit 39 degrees.  After a long winter that was both snowy and cold, 39 degrees feels fairly warm.  For yesterday's run I felt that the weather was warm enough for shorts, a light long sleeve shirt and a vest. To be honest about a two miles into my run I had to pull up my sleeves and unzip my vest a little.  Reality though, is that when I head to California in just over a month the temperatures will more than likely be over double what it is currently at my house.  

To help prepare my body and mind for the heat for my race in April and for WS, while also strengthening everything I have started doing Bikram. For those of you who are acquainted with me understand that my body likes to do what it knows best which is the running motion. Beyond striding, leaping and quick steps I feel like, and perhaps look like, a fawn walking for the first time.  To make things even worse envision me in a 105+ degree room filled with people as I try to stretch and contort my body while wearing hardly anything.  Can you picture my face?  If you know me, then you know I am not smiling, I am not relaxed and I am having a hard time staying in the small area of my mat while making small movements. There is no clock, there is not anything to really gauge myself against besides how I feel from moment to moment and movement to movement.  Once and a while the instructor makes adjustments to my position, but beyond that it is just me, my thoughts, my mat and my sweat.  
Dead Body Pose Savasana
Speaking of mats it isn't hard to recall my favorite pose, which is called "Savasana" or "Dead Body Pose" and I wouldn't mind doing this pose for the entire 90 minute class.
Standing Deep Breathing Prana Yama
Now for my least favorite I have to choose two because they are so different yet I currently despise them both for very different reasons.  The first is "Prana Yama" which is the first posture of the 26 posture series.  It involves focused breathing.  I hate to hear myself and others breathe so these five minutes or so is absolute torture as I pretend to be making noise as I exhale out.  
Toe Stand Pose Pa Dan Gust Asana
The second pose that I despise is "Pa Dan Gust Asana".  Just look at the picture and you will probably understand why.  My body is not a pretzel,  my feet are bony and typically have issues so there is no way my toes on just one foot are going to support and balance my entire body.  Just even trying to attempt this position would probably mean a trip to the ER.  I watch in awe as others around me enter and exit this pose and wonder, "could I do that if I really worked at it?"

I think that my mentality for life is that if I am going to do something than I am going to do it - all or nothing.  For me it is a challenge to go into something new and struggle in front of others.  I wish I were more patient and connected with my body, yet know that at this point I know I don't have the ability to commit the adequate time and energy into the process.  There is no doubt in my mind that this practice would/does benefit both my mind and body, but for now only once a week I will be able to say "namaste".


  1. Funny that you posted this. I have been thinking about doing it as well. Partially because my body has the flexibility of Swedish steel, and partially to get ready for the heat we are going to face. I'm looking forward to the training camp and seeing those trails with you!

  2. I hate that first breathing and pretend to opne my mouth along the count, but breathe at my own pace as well:) And hey, I used to teach this yoga! I still think it's one of the best for the body.

  3. Funny stuff. Kind of brilliant heat training really. Hope you grow to like it more!