Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hulk Gets Hooked on Bikram, Again.

What exactly is Bikram Yoga? I explain it all in this quick vid.

I winced as the soft-spoken Granola grabbed my credit card like a handful of Jacks - her to-go carton of Whole Foods vegetarian chili waiting impatiently by her computer mouse - and she says, "It's 95 the first month, but goes down to 76 each month after that, for a minimum of two months.

And just like that, I'm hooked again.

Besides doing Bikram Yoga for a feature report over the summer, I haven't practiced regularly since April of this year. But all this talk in my last few posts about how I'd never been thinner (I was 15 pounds lighter) or more clear-headed made give it another go.

My Bikram ritual is back on: High bun, and after-class coconut water (for max rehydration).
The price of Bikram gives me dissonance, because I believe yoga should be free and accessible to anyone. But I do believe in perpetuating the practice; giving teachers incentive and means to provide a venue, so I'm all for donation-based systems that allow people who CAN pay, fto pay, and people who can't pay right now, to pay when they can. And though my budget doesn't allow for many extras, right now, I can afford to lump this into my "wellness" budget (alongside $30 random Whole Foods outings, the occassional nail appointment, and the even more rare $35 massage from the local massage school). I'm considering this my $95-then-$75-a-month-for-three-months donation to myself, to get back in shape as fast as I know how.

I am in easily the worst shape I've been in all year. Luckily, decent eating habits saved me from total obesity, but I am still softer than I'd like. So forgive my vanity when today, I break down and go crawling back to my former addiction, lured in by its sure-to-slim fitness system and powerful detox properties.

Speaking of detox, I almost threw up multiple times because, I feel, there was so much gunk in my glands. Wine at all the wedding festivities; medication from the Thailand bug bites; and stress-induced free-radicals had taken over the command center; blocking fresh blood from oxygenating and spreading nutrients throughout my body. That's my feeling, anyway. So, during the squeeze-your-thyroid stretches, where the sweat poured down my neck and over my upside-down head like a floodgate, the release of toxins was so intense that I had to "take a knee" several times throughout the 90 minutes.

At least I learned a lesson in my recent, near-sedentary state: Hulk doesn't have to Hulk It Out, all the time. I can rest when I need to rest, because I know that will keep me going for a greater time in the long run.

I stared at my glistening, bikini-clad body in the wall of mirrors, under the prison-esque fluorescent light. Surrounded by hard bodies, I expected to look at my less-than-carved abs and see failure. But instead, I smiled at my body, and gave myself a nod that I put on these tiny clothes and showed up, ready to put in the work that, with baby steps, will get results.

I breathed through the parts of practice where the thought, "I quit" needled my brain. But I never considered that an option. I was too invested after forking over that large sum of money, plus pushing through the "I should just nap instead of starting my workout today" phase.

I still believe yoga should be accessible to everyone, and honestly, I think Bikram could stand to do more donation-based classes. But for now, a proven way to get back in (mental and physical) shape FAST is the one reason I'm putting my money where my mat is.

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