Welcome to the torture chamber

Today was our first yoga class with Bikram, and to say I was nervous beforehand is an understatement. Mind you, it wasn’t the first time we had all met him, as he gave us an orientation lecture this morning. So I think we all knew roughly what we could expect.

Except nothing can truly prepare you for that hot room. Not even my three years of practice.

Today’s class was the worst class I have had since my first Bikram class in 2012. In fact, I think it was even worse. I found myself back to being a yoga yo-yo – up and down and up and down… I think I only managed to do one set of each posture in the standing series except for the warm-up postures and tree/toe-stand. I felt nauseous, dizzy, anxious, you name it. I’m not sure whether it was the jet-lag and consequential lack of sleep that did it, or the fact that I hadn’t been able to bring myself to eat much earlier in the day (probably a combination of both), but I was just really not feeling it.

But, as one of the teachers I took class with shortly before leaving the UK told me, TT is not the time for heroics. If you feel remotely sick, dizzy, nauseous, uneasy, whatever, sit your ass down! We do 98 classes in 9 weeks here. That’s 147 hours in the hot room… more if Bikram is feeling chatty. This is definitely going to be about stamina. No one is going to get an award for never sitting down throughout all of TT. And considering that, in just the first class, one person left the room because Bikram thought she looked like she was about to black out and two people threw up (including the girl right next to me!!), I think classes here for me are going to be focused merely on listening to Bikram, and listening to my body.

I can only do the best I can in the moment I’m in. Everything else is completely out of my control.

Now, I know you’re all going to ask me about what Bikram himself is like but, to be perfectly honest, it’s too hard to describe in words. And I’ve only just met the guy. But what do I know so far? He really likes cracking jokes during class, – i.e., during pranayama breathing: “You only have 6 seconds! It’s like high school sex – it’s over fast!” – he likes telling stories, he likes sporadically singing to us, he likes to keep the hot room HOT, and he has a good sense of humour about himself. His opening line during his orientation speech today? “Oooh you guys are in a loooot of trouble. You are the smallest class I have had since 1999. [NB: There are 128 of us.] Which means you’re all going to have to put up with listening to more of my shit!”

But hey, today was easy compared with how the rest of these 9 weeks are going to go. We were blessed with not having any lectures, posture clinics, or Bollywood-watching sessions this evening, so even though we’re all tired, I think we’ll all look back on this evening with yearning in just a few days’ time. Tomorrow the shit storm really starts. The two yoga classes are definite, but whatever else they have in store for us is up to them. Posture clinics? Lectures? Watching Bollywood films until 3AM? We have no idea what’s coming next. We just go wherever we’re told to go whenever we’re told to go there. And there’s a lovely sense of freedom in that.

It’s also fucking terrifying.

Considering that I’ll now have VERY limited free time until Saturday, I’m not sure when I’m going to get to post next, but I will update you all ASAP! Thank you all for reading and for coming with me on this psycho roller-coaster ride. We’ll all get through it together. In the mean time, here’s a picture of me looking very concerned just before heading to class today. X

photo (9)


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