I have something wrong with my left shoulder. It’s been painful to move for months. The pain makes lifting weights and traditional yoga uncomfortable. I can’t even get my arm above my head in child’s pose.
There is a Bikram Yoga Studio five minutes away from where I live. This morning I attended my first class hoping the hot room would give me a better range of motion in my shoulder and perhaps allow some healing.
I was apprehensive going into the room. I had read about feeling dizzy and nauseous, hating the heat and wanting to leave. Other people’s accounts sounded like an exercise in endurance rather than a mind/body/spirit experience. I’d even heard that Bikram was yoga without the spirituality — a commercialisation of an authentic yoga practice.
I didn’t feel any of those things. Although the room was hot, it wasn’t unbearable. I didn’t feel nauseous and only light-headed a couple of times. Towards the end of the class I was fading, but the only thing I had to resist was lying down on the mat and succumbing to the bliss of total relaxation. I stayed in the moment, breathed and connected with my body. It was a spiritual practice just like any other class.
I feel like I’ve had a good workout, even though I didn’t push that hard. Now it’s all over, I’m feeling totally relaxed and at peace like I do after a good massage or great sex. And although I couldn’t do all the poses because of the pain in my shoulder, my shoulder feels better now — somehow looser.
I sweated a lot. I felt chunkier than all the other waif-like yogis in the room. My reflection in the mirror brought up some negative thoughts about how I look. I let all of that go and just did the class.
I’m going to go back because I’m almost certain I’m going to love it. And if I’m telling the truth, the promise of visible muscles, weight loss, and injury recovery is very attractive.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
Have you done Bikram/Hot Yoga? Did you love it or hate it? Did it transform your body?
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