As you may have guessed from the title, I went to Bikram Yoga again tonight. I have been very bad the last month, and instead scurried home every potential yoga night on the grounds that it was ‘too hot’. Since Bikram Yoga is done in fixed sauna-like temperatures, it doesn’t matter a cooked fig whether it is a sunny day out there, as I knew full well even when making excuses to myself. I just wanted to eat naughty food and flop around the house watching TV.
Sadly there is a downside of naughty food and flopping, and it was with a heavy heart that the heavier me stomped off the tube at Portland Place to haul myself into yoga. It didn’t help that I had five minutes to throw myself out of my work clothes and into what passes for my yoga outfit - I aspire to one day have an outfit that matches from Sweaty Betty. Until then, I slink into the hot room in a pair of sport shorts I bought in the early 1990s and a vest that was my mum’s. I never really think these things through.
The first hurdle was the fact that the 6pm class is packed. It is always packed, and if you get there too close to the start then the only spaces left will be for the super bendy at the front. I am scared of the front row. They all sit with zen-like calm concentration reflected back at them from the front mirrors, yet at the drop of a head-band they will all twist into yoga contortions last seen when I twisted my Sindy doll the wrong way. Luckily I avoided the front row, but the only space was in the second row, which is just as bad. People expect the second row to be at least able to do the full series of postures without collapsing into a heap on their mat. I took my place, fearing that people might be rather disappointed with me.
The first series of postures are fifty minutes of standing exercises, and by posture three I am feeling rather good. I can twist, I can bend, I can crouch low down, I can balance on my toes. Go me! And then it all goes horribly wrong. Everything aches – I can feel every single one of the missed classes. Why doesn’t my body remember and snap back into shape like an elastic band? Why do my arms sag? Why has my hair gone into a frizzy enormous halo yet everyone else’s looks sleek and normal? Why am I here when I could be lolling around at home eating chocolate? Why for the love of God why?
By the time we get to the forty minutes of floor postures I am as weak as a cooked piece of spaghetti. By now my main challenge is staying in the room and not running for cool freedom. If I at least stay in the room then I have achieved something, even if I haven’t managed to do all the postures. And so I stay, dripping sweat, and feeling once again as lively as a hot damp slug. As soon as we are released I stagger out, and have to sit outside for a while before I attempt the crush at the showers. I am so flummoxed by the fact I have forced myself into exercise that I almost lose my locker key, forget my water bottle and put my top on the wrong way around. Also why is it that after yoga none of my clothes will fit when I try and put them on again? I force my fat self into my work outfit, which someone has sneakily swapped for a size 8 in my absence, and then slap out of yoga with the usual shell-shocked expression and wild hair.
I get the feeling that the love affair may sadly be over! But I will go again tomorrow just to see... the second class of the week usually goes a lot better than the first. And aching is good, isn't it? Tomorrow I'll probably wake up all refreshed... *flops into bed*