Responding to a remark that the Anti-Couric made about buying the Groupon for Bikram Yoga ($30 for 10 classes), I volunteered to grab onto her coattail (yoga mat?) and join her. Now, this might not be the wisest decision I’ve ever made. I have a little heart thing that makes me extra sensitive to heat — as in, sometimes I pass out…a lot. Exercising in a 100 degree room doesn’t seem like the best decision I ever made. However, as the A-C pointed out, it would either cure me or kill me. Even now, I’m not sure which one she was hoping for.
I messaged an old friend who had taught there years ago. She gave me the good advice to start drinking lots of water a couple of days early, and to go slow. Rather than feel pressured to kill yourself, to go at your own pace and ignore the instructors yelling at you. This was just to keep you focused. Okay, I could do that.
We arrived for a 6 p.m. weeknight class, and we could tell the place was going to be packed. We were two of over 800 people who purchased the Groupon. Unsurprisingly, the regulars who pay full price were pissed and their snide comments were very un-Namaste-y. I ran into the father of an old classmate, and he was very helpful. He’s been Bikraming for over eight years, and after his first class, he didn’t want to go back. This told us that we had to at least give it a couple of tries.
My first shot didn’t go so well. I barely made it through the warm ups before having to sit. In fact, I thought I was going to have to walk/crawl out. However, once I sat, others did to. I think me being the first to wuss out made it okay for others. I drank lots of water, the instructor didn’t push me to get up. I did get up and tried to do things when I felt a little better, but it never lasted long. I’d get through one and a half poses and have to sit again. But I did my best. By the time we got to the mat poses, I felt better. There was nothing zen about any of this, though. It was fast paced, and the instructor didn’t use nice, soothing tones, but was more like Fraulein Helga shouting at you.
The thing about being in extreme heat is not that you feel tired or sore. Or even that you feel gross and sweaty. It’s the fact that you feel like you might blow chunks all over the place. Or fall over. Or blow chunks while you fall over. Nevertheless, at the end of class, I felt disgusting but oddly detoxed. The A-C couldn’t feel her legs. The instructor was encouraging and said we did well, and told us to come back soon.
Saturday, after much hullabaloo, we signed up for an afternoon class which was just as crowded as our previous one. While lining up outside, I was witness to more regulars complaining about how many Groupon people there were, in a rather nasty way. It’s not our fault they sold so many. It’s not our fault we’re new. You were new once too. Not to mention, your precious studio is trying to gain new students to be a successful business. Just relax…we’ll all get our class in! Nevertheless, it was very packed. We’re talking mat to mat, cuddle up and prepare to knock sweaty elbows with your neighbor. The A-C was to my left and Mr. Clean was to my right. (He really did look like Mr. Clean!) I did much better this time and made it through a lot more of the poses before having to rest. Unfortunately, our instructor was worse than the drill master in Full Metal Jacket.
With many first timers (thank you, Groupon) in the room, she was utterly condescending and unsympathetic. She yelled at people for going to the bathroom (and you drink a LOT to stay hydrated…peeing is a must). She wouldn’t let one woman leave when she couldn’t take the heat anymore. She eventually unblocked the door, but how terrible of her! She called out people in class for various infractions like lying down too long, not stretching enough, etc. I understand correcting form, but there’s a nice teachery way and an evil Yoga nazi way. She was the latter. She even called folks to stay after class. As we were leaving, I heard her scolding some first-timers for lying down too much and not trying hard enough. Ouch!
While I’m sure we’ll go back for our remaining eight classes, it’s going to take a lot of “buddy system.” It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it. I felt great after. But it certainly wasn’t what I was expecting. I knew it would be hot and sweaty the whole thing would be a bodily adjustment. We’ll just have to check on who the instructors are and ignore the old timers who hate us newbies openly. I just didn’t think I’d be exposed to “mean girls,” yogi style.