Monday, July 19, 2010

30% Miserable, 70% Amazing

July started with a week-long stretch of unbearable 100-degree days. A sticky, suffocating, everyone-on-the subway-smells heat wave the whole city was griping about. So, naturally, when my perky coworker asked me to join her at Bikram yoga- aka hot yoga- on the most sweltering Tuesday night of the summer, I agreed...then I Googled it...then I panicked.

I'm not the least athletic person I know. I take spinning classes and work out often. I've survived regular yoga, kickboxing, a class my gym calls "arms, abs and ass" and at least four semesters of GatorFunk sessions in college. But I do have a pretty scary tendency of fainting-- at the beach, at soccer practice, while climbing up the Acropolis in Greece. When I'm too hot, I pass out and Bikram pretty much revolves around getting too hot. It's a 90 minute class that includes 26 different postures that fold, twist, pull and stretch your entire body. A Bikram yoga room is heated to at least 105 degrees, an environment that's supposed to warm up your muscles for a deeper stretch, rev up your cardiovascular system and, through all the sweating, flush out all the waste and toxins in your body.

My coworker and her Jennifer Aniston arms swear by it so I figured it was worth a shot, despite the 50 percent chance I would pass out.

The class was jam packed with rows of mats and half-naked classmates. I wore Spandex pants. Rookie mistake. 10 minutes in, I envied the (probably gay) man stretching next to me in nothing but a black and lime green striped Speedo. 20 minutes in, I was drenched in sweat. Everything was slippery. 40 minutes in, after dipping my head and neck forward for a posture, I started to feel dizzy. I was either going to puke or pass out. I kneeled on my mat and begged for neither. The break helped and after I repeated "Relax, Vanessa" at least 50 times, the spins subsided. I was shocked to be able to finish the class faint-free.

It was 30% miserable, 70% amazing so I went back the next day and have made it to class at least every two or three days during the last 2 weeks. And, turns out, Anna Chlumsky (Vada from "My Girl") also takes yoga there.

Leave it to a Florida girl to find the hottest most humid room in Manhattan and pay to be there.


  1. You are crazy. I started sweating just reading this. Blegh.

  2. I've been wanting to try it, but I'm not a big yoga person. I really like non peaceful work outs, like crazy running and jumping and climbing. You should see the crazy gym I go to in DC, I do the most insane stuff. Next time ur here I will take you