Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Celebrating my First Year of Bikram

For most of my life, exercise has always been a chore and something ‘I'd rather not do”.  Being Asian and small boned, I was able to get away with that attitude until the last few years, especially when my hormones started acting up on me.  I had never tried an exercise regimen that trumped my urge to put it off till the next day or the next week or the next month, until last year…

Standing Bow Pulling Pose
Thanks to my friend, Sandi, I discovered the wonderful world of Bikram Yoga.  I had always been flexible in many ways but the other types of yogas always seemed to stress my joints especially with that famous downward dog pose.  But with the 26 poses in bikram yoga, I’ve managed to stretch my forever tight hamstrings so I’m closer an inch or two to finally touching my toes without bending my knees.  With the Pranayama deep breathing exercises, I’m learning to be more in the moment and actively meditate.

And how about that 105 degree heat and 40% humidity?  For 90 minutes in the morning, I feel like I’m sweating out everything that I wasn’t supposed to eat or drink.  Everyone always teased me that I never sweat.  In fact, I have never used an underarm deodorant.  But for the first time in my life, I am sweating profusely as if taking a shower.  It feels wonderful.  And in my own twisted way, I feel like acclimating myself to that heat helps me beat all those power surges (aka hot flashes).
"japanese ham sandwich"

A classmate of mine likened the practice of bikram to wearing braces.  The improvements are hardly seen then one day, you notice that your teeth have shifted and your smile looks nicer.  I have to agree.  Every now and then, I’ll feel like I’ll never be able to progress to the next step when suddenly one day, taadaah!

Stretching, balancing, cardio vascular activity testing one’s endurance – the latter of which served me well when I had to recently climb a 70 degree ascent to 1825 feet above sea level.  I thought I’d never make it.  But as my instructor Damon loves to put it “Mind over matter.  If you don’t mind it, it doesn’t matter”.

Camel pose
Standing Head to Knee pose

So next year when I celebrate my second year, I’m hoping to include some self photos of my Dhanurasana or Tadasana.  But for now, I’m going to have to use those of my mentors and classmates who'd been at it for years…
Balancing Stick Pose by Damon Abraham, co-owner/instructor Bikram Yoga Palm Desert

Bow Pose by Denise Abraham, Co-Owner/Instructor Bikram Yoga Palm Desert

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