Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Hot Yoga

A few months ago a white colleague of mine enthusiastically told me that he was a regular member of the Bikram Hot Yoga class. I only knew Karma Yoga, Bhakthi Yoga and Gnana Yoga. I already struggle to do whatever little Aasanas that are part of Sandhyavandhanam. Plus - Shilpa Shetty or not - I was never impressed with the Doordarshan 6AM chics doing Yoga. Being Indian and all that - I had always thought yoga was like homeopathy. In that it offered some psychological comfort but pretty useless otherwise. This colleague then went on about how hot the 'Hot Yoga' really was and asked me how come I was not interested in Yoga despite being a desi. My only response at that time was that I had seen too much mumbo-jumbo in my life and so didn't care.

Then I met more and more people - some desis included - who raved on and on about Bikram yoga. And how the muscle tone one got there could never be got via lifting weights. Its a rage in Seattle to the point where my gym is kick-starting classes on this. So I decided to give it a try. Joined the Bikram hot yoga class. I have to say one thing though. The word 'hot' in the phrase "Bikram Hot Yoga" is really really r.e.a.l.l.y. hot. I think the temperature in there must be 120 degrees or more. I am a Madras guy and I think this is hotter than travelling at 1PM in the afternoon inside a Matador wan with all doors closed and no A/C on. It is unbelievably hot. I am in the middle of the Sun hot. Scotty beamed me into planet Mercury hot.

They do 26 aasanas in a space of 90 minutes. In my first class I felt like some alien inside me would tear out of my body and explode. And there are people in there who are spectacularly well-built and who do the aasanas with the precision of a Jedi master. I was told long ago that these Yogic poses were what the ancient Rishis used while performing Tapas. And the poses these jedi-type people seemed pretty much like how the rishis stood in the Amar Chitra Katha cartoons. Of course this was way beyond my range. Just standing in the hot room for 90 minutes was too much for me. Maybe I could have breezed through it with a bag of potato chips and some TV time. But standing and doing all these poses felt like murder.

I do have to say the people who are good at this seem to be built like greek gods. I don't think I will ever get to a point where I will bend my right leg upwards, my back downwards, stand on my left leg and touch my right hand to the right foot as the right foot touches the ceiling and all that crap. But here I am - 30 classes later. Still none the better in terms of flexibility. But I can sit 90 minutes inside the class and not feel like reaching for the remote. One 90 minute session burns 1000+ calories. And you do find out more about yourself in this class. About what you can do and what you cannot. Where your personal edge is and how you can move that edge a little bit farther etc. I am actually surprised because I was cynical enough to think this was worthless and it was not. I actually learnt something about myself in this class. I didn't think I'd last more than 2-3 classes but there is a mental and physical discipline about this class that makes you want to come back.

Of course there is no lack of motivation. Because 'hot' in Bikram Hot Yoga has another meaning as well. It is "girls come there in bikini" hot. It is "the class is 70% hot girls" hot. It is "all the strange poses affect my blood circulation" hot.

16 comments:

MLC said...

u did 30 classes???:-0 WOW!! appo neengalum "greek god" types-a?;-).. if nt now, @ this rate, u wl get there soon! appo photos post pannunga!:-p
LOL abt the last para.. keep it goin.. nothing like yoga fr fitness & bettr health & i wl vouch fr tht!

Hawkeye said...

mlc,

i think you missed the thayir saadham post and the other 100 posts on saapdu.

MLC said...

aw c'mon! 1000+ cals per class lose panravangalukku wat's some thayir saadham & othr desi, veg food goin to do?? u can still get to tht 'greek god' types! no??

aparna said...

Thirty classes? Wow! I went for one, came out feeling like I was stuck in Madhya Pradesh heat wave with no way out, came home an hour earlier from work the next day. Never set foot despite a 50$ prepay -decide to neve3r be part of the hot girl league

Babs said...

wats next machi...Isha Yoga shambavi..and sadguru is ur man....slowly u change learning more about urself deeper n deeper....:-D
let the mystic in u come out...

Alan Smithee said...

Aww.. someone is getting old. When you abandon creatine laden muscle milk and weight lifting (obviously for lack of results) and start talking burning calories, that is an inflection point right there.

MaySan said...

LOL :)

I hope u will not move to Inner Engineering...

Neon said...

your final argument for bikram yoga is extremely convincing

Deepa said...

hmm.my hubby too has been talking abt. hot yoga his colleagues are into..the 1000+ calories seem inviting more than the HOT factor ;-)
For now I am content attending the yoga classes at my gym where we are sweating at the end of the class despite the cold temperature..But I saw a 30$ for 30 days in one such hot yoga center and am mildly tempted.

Raghu said...

Minsaram went for 1 class and refused to go in there again. Although the 'HOT gals' club is tempting for her to become one but the motivation levels are not that 'HOT'...:) !! 'Bout time I come there to push my boundaries...and u can use yr imagination what those would be...sabalam yaaarai vittudhu....now I mean the calorie burning here...!!

Anonymous said...

At 120 degrees, body becomes more flexible. But Yoga is supposed to be done when the body is cool and calm. Always, we have been told to practice Yoga early in the morning, preferably after a cold head shower. Practicing Yoga at 120 degrees will cause damage. I advise you to stop it immediately.
- A long time Yoga practitioner

Sundar Narayanan said...

http://www.boingboing.net/2011/02/06/database-to-foil-yog.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+boingboing%2FiBag+%28Boing+Boing%29

Anonymous said...

please learn Yoga from the right person,not from Swamijis,corporate craps,never from these hotyoga , ice cold yoga
and naked yoga fools.Yoga is always fruitful and it needs years of practice and patience.

surya

Anonymous said...

//please learn Yoga from the right person,not from Swamijis,corporate craps,never from these hotyoga , ice cold yoga
and naked yoga fools.Yoga is always fruitful and it needs years of practice and patience.

surya//
Surya, Who else is teaching Yoga apart from those mentioned by you? as NOTs.

Kokki Kumarru said...

I managed some 5 classes. Apron i had an arrear in college. Was preparing for the reevaluation. When i came back 20 days later, i was asked to pay some 500 extra. Poda vennanutu i started practicing whatever i learnt from the earlier few classes and added somemore with precise videos. I just feel sick looking at people commercializing things like these beyond a limit.

Hawkeye said...

aparna,

the second class makes is much easier. infact the delta b/w first and second class was huge for me. the first class felt like i was doing yoga in sahara desrt for 3 days. the second class felt like 90 minutes. thats why they ask you to come back for second class asap.

babs,

whats siha yoga sambavi? I am only doing this to lose some quick pounds. I wish I had the horse sense that you had to do body building/fitness thing when i was a bachelor. i am 5 years late. but better late than never.

alan smith,

those arent abandoned. i am following a process. its all a process now.

may san :-)

Neon,

Then I hope to see you in my class soon :-)

deepa,

totally worth it for me

raghu,

come and join :-) althugh i think you may have bikram cclasses closer to where you live (issaquah has terra yoga which is supposed to be good)

sundar,

that is actually one of the most urupdiyaana things the indian government did. almost ramanujaesque.

surya,

dude. I am all in for the puristic pursuit but I dont know who will teach it the correct way for me hear. unlike religion - i need help here to be puristic and all that. until then i buy whats on the truck.

kokki,

hot yoga in india. seriously. endha oorla?