It started as an innocent suggestion. These things always do.
Last summer, Bob Dunning recommended I try his daughter’s yoga studio, Bikram Davis, 405 L Street, http://www.bikramdavis.com. For those who don’t know about this particular yoga method, it involves 26 postures practiced in 105-degree heat. My internal reaction went something like this: Holy God! That place is for weirdos.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had the ingredients for a column ratings sweep. All I had to do was to take Bob up on his “offer” and have him join me.
Bob said I needed CPR training first. I became certified in September. Then he said he’d go when there was “frost on the pumpkins.” Any bike-riding student will tell you; there was plenty of frost in the fall.
After that, I can’t remember all the lame excuses he came up with — something about his radio show and the red-headed girl of his dreams — so I finally gave up and dragged my friends Nancy and Liz along instead. Jilted and vulnerable, I needed their support.
The night before our first class, I received an e-mail from owner Erin Dunning. “It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, overheated, light-headed, annoyed, blissed-out, overjoyed and nauseous in class. All the BEST!”
Did she really expect me to believe barf could be blissful?
Nonetheless, Nancy, Liz and I collected ourselves like the “Sex in the City” cast and paid $20 for 10 days (the introductory special). After all, we decided 90 minutes of female bonding would be fun. And, as newcomers, according to the instructor, our only goal was to stay in the room. No problem for competitive spirits.
For the first 10 minutes, we were gloriously daring — no sweat!
Then, the invisible sledge hammer.
We spent the remainder of the class cocooned in silent survival modes.
During one rest period, I realized my CPR training was useless. I couldn’t even help myself. And in the final relaxation, I wondered whether Nancy and Liz would ever speak to me again, if they were, in fact, still alive.
Once outside the room, I vowed never to return. After soothing myself with a long shower, we headed to Bistro 33 for lunch and devoured a bucket of fries.
Was it heat exhaustion or Bikram’s sneaky rewards — I’ll never know — but we all agreed to try again.
There I was, choking on my own words.
It’s been a month since our first experience and I’m stunned by the transformation. We’re going regularly. And loving it.
No doubt, Bikram ranks high on the list of extreme physical challenges (somewhere below kidney stones and childbirth), but heat is surprisingly kind to the body. It enhances flexibility while making a cardio workout possible. In my case, it positively impacts arthritis, whereas other Yoga practices have been more limiting. Don’t get me wrong, there are poses I can’t do, but it doesn’t matter; there’s still plenty of benefit.
For me, the primary value is the sense of euphoria I feel for days afterward. As Erin says, it’s like showering from the inside out. All your stress, drained onto your beach towel and washed away.
Make sure you’re cleared by your doctor to practice, but don’t assume you can’t, even with tricky issues. As long as the staff knows your medical history, they’re equipped to support you.
Which leads back to the man who stood me up. The supportive staff includes your own daughter. You’re not afraid to take on Davis, so stop playing hard to get.
— Heidy Kellison lives and shops in Davis. Her column appears monthly. Reach her at [email protected]