Always stopping me was the "intimidation factor", I like to call it. The uncertainty felt when you want to try something new but you're not sure whether you're capable of it or not, have the endurance to see it through, wondering whether you'll look stupid and what other people will think of you if you get it wrong.
I've wondered about it for at least a year. Longer, I think. Possibly almost 2 years and today I finally took the step to go try it. They were offering a free class. Come see if you like it.
Bikram Hot Yoga.
What an awesome and enlightening experience it was. Everything was accepting, calming, soothing, challenging, and cleansing. The people were welcoming and encouraging. They call them "Yogis". I guess I might be on my way to becoming a Yogi, because I loved the whole challenge of it all and felt so lifted and soothed and proud of myself for completing the challenge once I was done that I signed up for their 2 week unlimited package. $20 gets me what I figure will be 9 sessions. That's a tremendous savings. It's 9 for the price of 1. I'd say 10 sessions, and I'd go Monday thru Friday for the next two weeks, but tomorrow I have a previous engagement with my cat and the vet at 9:00 and I hope to speak to SSD after that. So in 9 sessions, I will decide whether I will remain a Yogi or not.
Sweat. The sweat is INSANE. It literally just pours out of your body and puddles on the mat. You go into this long rectangular room and are literally just an elbow's distance from your fellow Yogi's mat. The room is kept at +40C, I believe. It's hot and humid. There are ceiling fans, but they barely even touch you. You're instructed to lay on your back and breathe until class begins.
3 Breathing exercises, and a collective drink of water. Silence. Nothing but the sound of breathing and the instructor's encouraging words to make you reach and stretch to your maximum ability. Standing poses are the first 40 minutes after breathing. It requires absolute dedication and concentration, and the use of your entire body. It's amazing. A 2 minute break, then all floor poses. You'd think that it'd be easier laying down, but it's just as challenging. Thankfully there's a "dead pose" in between each for about 30 seconds to gather yourself and ready for the next pose. Drink water by sips only, in between poses if you must. Sit and breathe if you feel dizzy. Do only what you can.
Nobody cared that I couldn't hold all the poses for the required amount of time. It's very difficult. And your entire body is covered in its own salty water. It makes it nearly impossible to keep a hold of the ankles, feet.. even the hands are sweaty.
At the end, the lights go off and you stay in the room until you're ready to move. A refreshing shower and people sitting in the common area, smiling... a collective of individuals of all ability levels, all pleased with themselves for making it through. Only one woman walked out, after about 70 minutes of the 90 minute routine.
"Hi, I'm Sabrina... maybe I'll see you again here?"
I say: "Yes! I'm going to buy the 2 weeks, and come to the morning class, it's the only one that works with my schedule. It's nice to meet you!"
"Was this your first time doing yoga?", Sabrina asks.
I reply, "Yes, it was... any real yoga, that is, aside from a bit of 5 minute warm up prior to other workouts."
She says, "Well, you did really great!" and then an older more advanced lady chimes in: "Yes, you both did and congratulations! This is a very difficult yoga to do. Great job!"
I went there feeling totally overwhelmed, scared, intimidated, shy, and unsure about being seen in such little workout clothes. I left there feeling acceptance, accomplishment and a sense of renewal.
I think I loved it.
I know I liked it....
Time will tell if I'll be a Yogi or not.