You're cold? Really?!
*Originally posted May 11, 2016
This has little to do with my actual challenge but if you’ll indulge me in a little teacher rant.
Bikram Yoga is supposed to be hot. The heat allows ones muscles to warm up quickly so they can get a deeper stretch. It also allows you to sweat more to which rids the body of toxin and sheds water weight. It’s a useful tool and I think some people get addicted to the heat. If fact, I know some people do because if the condition of the room doesn’t meet there standards they go ballistic. I’ve seen people take class in long sleeve shirts, pants, and a beanie, to keep their body temperature up. I’ve even seen people practice in trash bags. Those are the people who especially freak out in the temperature dips below blistering.
In 12 years of Bikram Yoga practice I can count the number of cold classes I’ve had on two hands. These were flukes, something had been wrong with the heaters, so it wasn’t the teachers fault. When I say cold, I mean, I was still sweating but I wasn’t dripping. My hair was damp, sweat was gathering on chest but my hand and feet were dry. To an average person that would be warm but to a Bikram Yogi that’s conditions where we feel oh so chilly. I took class the other day and we hadn’t even gotten to eagle pose and a woman put her hand up complaining about the heat. I was surprised because I looked at my own hands and they had already started to prune. I wasn’t the teacher but I really wanted to turn to her and say, “Well, work harder.”
The heat in the room is supposed to be an aid not the main event. The heat is the Foggy to your Dare Devil. It’s something that we like, rely on, and maybe root for more than Daredevil. But make no mistake the only reason that show exist is Dare Devil. And the only reason yoga works is because you are there working hard in asanas (postures). Yoga has helped people through the years and has been around since forever. The only reason Bikram started heating the room was to simulate the conditions he would practice in when he lived in India and practiced in a non-air conditioned facility. I’ve heard (though I wasn’t there so who knows) that when people were first heating rooms for Bikram Yoga they only got the heat up to 85F or 90F. Then being American, we super-sized it to the 105-109 degrees we know and love today.
If you are taking class and you find the room cooler than you’d prefer I challenge you to use it as an opportunity to work on something in class you don’t usually work on. For instance, I make sure that my core is activated to the point I give myself small stomach cramps. Personally, it’s the first thing to go in my own practiced when I can’t think through the oppressive heat; plus working on your core strength will help heat you up and flatten your stomach. I believe they call that a “Win Win”. And if you are really cold. If you do feel so chilly in class you have to put up your hand to complain. Never, then have the audacity to sit out a posture. It goes back to my first point. If you sit down you’re not working hard enough. So get up, and kick your own ass if the heats not doing it for you.
Ok, rant over. Must go take class now.