Monday, August 15, 2011
12:37 PM | Posted by Lady Gray | | Edit Post
I do not give up easily. I'm going to go ahead and blame my maternal genes for that one. Stubbornness is almost a virtue in this family.
About a year ago I decided to try out Bikram Yoga. There are a number of studios in the area and I have a few friends who swear by it. As I am no stranger to a rigorous yoga practice, I was excited to see how this would challenge me.
The first class went well. I got a bit woozy before the standing poses were finished but nothing unexpected. I left feeling amazing. My clothes were soaking wet (gross) but I felt cleansed, renewed. I wanted more.
Second class did not go quite so well. Three to four poses in the wooziness came back with a vengeance and I ended up needing to leave before we got anywhere close to the seated poses. I was embarrassed and humiliated. The teachers encouraged me to work through it and stay in the room for the maximum benefit but I simply couldn't handle it. I've always been really sensitive to heat and am prone to fainting spells if I'm not careful. Needless to say I am VERY careful as fainting is overly dramatic and irritating. Frightening for others and irritating for me.
I decided to give it one more try and loaded up on ice cold water and coconut water before class. I made it about halfway through the standing poses before I had to escape into Child's Pose again. I didn't leave the room, which was a tiny victory, but I didn't see how just sticking around in the heat was doing me any good if I was just sitting there.
I hate not being able to finish something. There are many things I'm not great at. I'm not super coordinated and sports have always been disappointing to me. But Yoga I can do. Having my body quit out on my was infuriating.
I took a few months off and then saw a discount for five sessions at a new studio in Takoma Park. Deliberately forgetting what had happened the first time around I signed up and gave it another shot. The first class went ok. I made it through the full 90 minutes, but maybe did 1/3 of the poses. I left frustrated and embarrassed, again.
Then I had this epiphany. I had read an article in Runner's World a few months back about dealing with running outside in heat and humidity. A study had been done on the best way to keep an athlete's body cool so that they could perform better in races that would take place in extreme conditions. The solution? Drink a slurpee. Something about the combination of ice and sugar helped keep the body's internal organs cool enough to maximize endurance before the outside heat catches up to you. They also found that it was sugar, not sugar substitutes, that had the best results. Sugar when combined with the ice helped keep the body cooler longer than sugar and water or a non sugar sweetener and ice.
I decided to give it a try. What did I have to lose? I had pre-paid for five sessions and wanted to get as much out of that as possible. Saturday, I drove out for the 8AM class and stopped at 7-11 for a child's size slurpee. I generally don't drink beverages so high in sugar, but I thought it more important to really test this theory with a small drink.
The result? After being able to barely complete 1/3 of the poses just two weeks before, I finished the entire class without having to take a break ONCE. I was floored! What a simple solution to a frustrating problem for me. Needing to confirm that this was not a fluke (or physiological) I repeated the course the following day and grabbed a slurpee like before. I had almost identical results! I had minor wooziness during some of the floor series that is intended to produce some of that feeling so I'm not counting that.
I left the class for the first time in a long time feeling amazing. The euphoria that comes from finishing a Bikram class is what gets people hooked and brings them back. I'm hoping to add this practice into my weekly routine as well to get that release in my muscles from the heat and stretching as well as the cleansing component.
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