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25km bike ride vs. bikram yoga

After missing two weeks of Bikram classes (well, really only 2 days since I only go once a week), I finally got a chance to go this past Saturday. The problem with missing classes is that every time I think I’ve taken a step forward, I end up taking 2 steps back. This 1 step forward 2 steps back is driving me absolutely crazy. Believe me, I try not to miss any classes but sometimes, life gets in the way.

I’m one of those odd balls who welcomes challenges. I think it has to do with having something to focus on, something other than watching the many TV shows I’m addicted to. So that’s why I’m killing myself with Bikram yoga, and that’s why two Sundays ago on June 3rd, I participated in Ride for Heart even though the last time I actually went bike riding was 6 years ago in 2006. Of course the main reason I chose to participate wasn’t necessarily for the challenge, but to show support for all the people in my life who have been affected by heart disease in one way or another.

When I first signed up for the 25km ride, hubby thought I was nuts. Others might think that 25kms is short and easy but considering I had not been on a bike for the past 6 years, I thought I’d better be safe than sorry. Plus, my 10 year-old nephew, 5 year-old niece and 2 year-old nephew came along for the ride and I’m not sure that anything more than 25kms was doable with them in tow.

Hubby and my mom kept telling me that I needed to practice. So I did. I went bike riding with my mom twice in preparation for the ride – the first time for 30 minutes and the second time for 10 minutes. That was practice enough for me. The bike ride, however, turned out to be easier than I had expected. At no point during the bike ride did I question what I was doing or if I was going to make it to the end or feel the need to collapse.

When I went to Bikram however, I was only in my fourth pose when I started wishing that I was near the end instead of the beginning. I felt like collapsing and I questioned why I keep coming back. Temptations of leaving the room filled my head throughout the entire practice. It was truly one tough battle just trying to convince myself to stay. But I did end up staying to the very end.

I know this might be hard to believe, but a 3-hour 25km bike ride is peanuts compared to 90 minutes in Bikram’s hot torture chamber. I’d rather do the ride again then have to go back to Bikram. But yet, I go back anyway, week after week. Really, I have no one to blame for the exhaustion and soreness I feel after every Bikram class but myself.

You know you’re a Bikram newbie when…

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A friend sent me a link to a blog post titled, “Are you a Bikram yoga addict?” a couple of weeks ago as food for thought for my practice.

I couldn’t stop laughing throughout the entire post. First, I could totally see truth in everything that was listed. Second, I’m so far from it I actually do the exact opposite of what an addict does.

So I thought it might be appropriate to post what it’s like to be a Bikram newbie.

  1. You bring 2 bottles of iced water to class.
  2. You can’t wait until the first four poses are done so you can take your first water break.
  3. You take large gulps of water in between every posture.
  4. You use words like ‘brutal’, ‘torturous’, ‘killer’ and ‘painful’ to describe Bikram yoga.
  5. You miss Moksha yoga.
  6. You swear under your breath every time you lose balance or can’t hold your pose anymore.
  7. Instead of feeling good after your practice you feel completely drained and unable to move or do anything else.
  8. You need to eat a chocolate – just one small piece – to get your energy back after your practice.
  9. You have a love-hate relationship with Bikram yoga.
  10. You dread your next class already even though it’s one week away.

Now you’re probably wondering why I even torture myself with Bikram yoga. Well, I believe in the health benefits it claims to have. I believe that this initial phase of “newbieness” will pass and that I will eventually start to feel pleasure instead of pain after each and every practice.

I do this because I refuse to give up. Every pose is a challenge that I have to overcome. The feelings of mastering a pose is truly indescribable. I do this because it teaches me patience. And it teaches me to push myself but also to know what my limits are so I don’t get hurt.

I do this because it’s good for me. I do this because I have to lose 8 lbs. so I can fit into my skirt.

Namaste.

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