I was terrified and very nervous before my first Bikram yoga class. I generally don't like sweating and I don’t fare so well in hot climes. I’m the flushed, sweaty foreign girl who gets major headaches and dizziness whenever she goes somewhere tropical. Not even after living through a summer in Japan did I make peace with humidity.
So how did I ever end up in a hot yoga class? Amanda’s brother was adamant it would do me good. I hadn’t been feeling in top form - sluggish, fatigued, bloated. My regular exercise routine and healthy diet was not doing what it used to. I was looking for a way to change up my regimen and get my energy back. And so, I found myself in a super hot room full of people wondering why the heck everyone was wearing such skimpy attire (I made the mistake of showing up in pants - I still hadn't come to terms with how much heat and sweat I was in for).
In hindsight, that first class is a bit of a blur. My body was doing and experiencing things it never had before. And my mind was fighting back big time. "This is too hard, stop it." "Eww... sweat is trickling everywhere." "Why is the heat on so f***ing high?" "Are these people insane?" And on and on. My body was struggling too. I felt super naseous and dizzy. I could not do all the poses and had to take tons of breaks. I seriously questionned whether I would be able to stay in the room...
... but I did!. And I didn't throw up. I made it through. Yes, I had a monster headache afterwards. Yes, I felt weak the rest of the day. Yes, it took a while for my face to return to its normal colour from the lovely shade of tomato it had taken on. BUT, deep down inside I felt good. I had released some major toxins. I had never used my muscles in such a way and they were thanking me. And I was proud of myself. I has done something I was scared of, went way beyond my comfort zone and I stuck with it.
I went back... again and again. And with each class under my belt, I felt better. Eventually, I never had to take any breaks and the major discomfort passed.
Now, as I am pushing myself in class beyond my limits, reaching new lengths, I think back to that first class and how far I’ve come. Sometimes, it's the things that you really don't want to do that end up giving you the greatest benefits. I started in Bikram hell and now find myself in hot yoga heaven.
And yes, I now LOVE to sweat!
Written by Martina - Bikram yoga convert