Thursday, January 13, 2011

Y is for yogini

I've made two new resolutions for 2011. I've already dropped the ball on one, but the other, well, hey, it's January 13th, and I'm still going strong!

Actually, I'm pretty confident that I can keep this resolution because it's something that's been coming for a long time. Meaning, this is something that I've known  for years that I should incorporate into my daily life.

Yoga, every day.

Now, does this mean a class in a yoga studio every day? Unfortunately, no. I wish it did. My current schedule does just not allow for this. I find that the kids that I've birthed over the years actually need my care. Plus there's my pesky full time job. And all that go into having a job and a family. I've been telling myself for years that someday I'll be able to make 4 or 5 classes a week, but then I went and had another baby, so what the hell do I know?

But this is one of the very reasons why I've finally decided to bring my practice into my home. It does not need to be something that I only do in a heated stinky yoga studio. I can start stinking up my very own house.

So far I've done yoga podcasts, followed videos online, utilized a yoga-at-your-desk website for practice while in the office, and I record a yoga show daily that I can always use. But the most exciting change is that I've joined another yoga studio.

I've been meaning to try one forever. The place I joined offers a week of free yoga and has for years, but year after year I resisted even trying it out. Why?

Why? Well, I'm a Bikram girl. It's been my yoga life for 8 years come April. It's changed me in lots of ways: mentally, physically, and yeah, I guess spiritually too. It's got me through lots of turmoil, and is a refuge, even if it is akin to a 110 degree torture chamber.

I've been indoctrinated, I suppose.

And Bikram's a character, no doubt. Sometimes called yoga's bad boy, Bikram is flamboyant, and controversial, a millionaire who has copyrighted and patented his yoga sequence. He's a tiny man from India who talks crazy shit. But a lot of it makes sense to me.

Things like, "If you can, you must," and "The right way is the hard way," resonate with me. And in my experience are true. Over and over in life I've found that "if it sounds too good to be true," it sure the hell is. A Bikram class is a grueling, sweaty 90 minutes. It's hot. It stinks. You are sometimes the recipient of your neighbors flying sweat. It's no blissed-out Shangrila.

But it's simple, and it works, and it creates discipline. It's true hatha yoga. No music, no props, no "flow."

So Bikram quotes such as those below:
"An Iyengar class looks like a Santa Monica sex shop with all those props."

"American Yoga teachers are clowns. Circus clowns. They completely fucked yoga. They crucified hatha yoga in America. There is no yoga called kundalini, power, vinyasa, dog yoga."

"Downward Facing Dog? That’s not yoga. That’s American circus."
I kind-of agree with him. I hated the Iyengar class I took. A chair, a block, a band, and blanket? What's the point to doing the posture if you need all of those?

But I joined a second studio nonetheless. A studio that offers hot yoga (yes, ripped off from none other than Bikram) and "vinyasa power yoga." I'm still not sure exactly what that is. But you know what? I'm loving it. I'm learning new things. New postures. The classes are generally 60 minutes, which fits in with my busy schedule. They have a studio right down the street. I could ride my bike. (Of course I haven't, but still.) I'm still not sold on the music, as I think it takes away from what the teacher is saying and is generally distracting, but there have been moments when the right song at the right time has been, well, right.

And all their studios are new, and modern, with nice showers and sinks, and they offer candlelight classes and spray aromatic water at the end of class. They even have a schedule app. I can find the daily schedule of any and all of their 5 San Diego studios in seconds, on my phone. They offer free classes, interesting workshops, all sorts of creative yogi junk.

Will I give up Bikram? Nah, not a chance. That's still "real" yoga to me.

But I'm really starting to like the American circus.

So Happy New Year.

And Namaste.


Pat said...

Good for you, Beth--keep it up.
And I have kept to my New Year's resolve of only 1 diet coke a day. doesn't involve the lotus position, or sweat or a fancy outfit but I am no longer 42 (thank goodness!). Where I live they offer chair yoga. Now give me a break.
Love, Mom

Me, You, or Ellie said...

This all sounds so interesting, Beth. And vaugely rebellious and certainly torturous but I'm so happy it's working for you.

And I really like the fact that you get to be warm while practicing, because you are one of the two coldest people I know.

Hey, wait a minute. My other cold friend is a yoga enthusiast too.

Coincidence? I don't think so.



Me, You, or Ellie said...

Ellie, I assumed that Bill was the other cold person you know. My Bill is as well. Neither of them do yoga, though. Hot yoga to me sounds like the cruelest form of torture. I would die. Literally. Dead.

Beth, so happy that you tried the new place and like it! I think the pros totally outweigh the cons, and diversity is the spice of life. You should send this to Aline, she is a yogini too.



Me, You, or Ellie said...

Yes, from what I undertand she is now a clown, lol. More power to her.


Me, You, or Ellie said...

My cold, yoga-loving and heat-loving friend is Jennie. If Bill did yoga he would surely be dead too.


lazy ass in PA said...

I can tolerate ALOT when giving birth...other than that, I'm a total wuss.
Yoga in a hot room with someone else's sweat touching me sounds miserable! Clearly, you can kick my ass on the will power, and exercise front.
Way to go, Beth...keep it up (for both of us!)