Bikram Yoga -- The Great Equalizer

[caption id="attachment_6798" align="alignright" width="173"]bikramyoga_triathlon_ironman_endurancesports Source: Bikram Yoga Musings[/caption] Bikram yoga has long been on my radar.  For years I was doing yoga at a studio and loved.  My first instructor, Tao, was an 85-year-old woman who could bend like a pretzel and always took time out to use me as a guinea pig for the class to see.  I was never so flexible and then I stopped going.  I had a hankering to get back to the studio and started doing it again with a young instructor who seemed to focus her poses on strength building.  I always walked out of that class feeling as if I just spent and hour lifting weights.  I was much leaner and stronger and then I stopped going. When endurance sports and triathlon entered my life I tried to fit yoga in.  It was a great way to relax and get away from the grind of swimming, biking and running. In addition to that it helped me stay grounded with my surroundings and I needed that since I had just moved 1600 miles to Dallas from New York and knew nobody.  Then triathlon started to take more hours and thus I stopped going to yoga. Now that my first season of 140.6 mile races is over I want to get back to it.  Last week I chose to go to Bikram Yoga (finally!) and was sort of persuaded by Michelle to join her.  Our Twitter conversation went something like this:
  • Me: Hey @ultradrum are you going to yoga tomorrow?
  • Michelle:  Yes.  Are you going?  Does 8:30 or 10:15 work for you?
See what she did there.  She baited the hook with are you going and then dropped the hammer by giving me a time to choose from.  I chose the 8:30a class figuring that I could get a liquid breakfast in and then a decent recovery shake afterwards and have the rest of the day to rest my aching muscles.  I knew it was going to be hot but I was in good shape......I just did an Ironman. I spent all day Thursday drinking water, water and more water.  I was so nervous about dehydrating in that yoga room.  See, Bikram Yoga is done in a room that is above 100* (our room that day was 111*) and I am a person who sweats.  I was also nervous because of the simple fact that I was coming off of an Ironman and my flexibility was limited but I am also competitive so not pushing my poses never dawned on me.  I figured I would go to this class and do all the poses no matter what. Finally Friday morning came and I was headed to the studio more nervous than I have ever been, and that is not stretching the truth.  I was scared about what might happen in this class.  This was a great unknown.  This was an opportunity for me to try something new and doing something new is always stressful.  When I walked into the studio my fears dissipated but only because my sweat started pouring down my face.  I was just standing there......oh boy! Throughout the class I recalled all the poses we were doing.  I was having fun and it was just like riding a bike.  I was not nearly as flexible as I had been with Tao and I was not as strong as I had been in my second go round with yoga but I felt good.  That was until about 45-50 minutes into the class.  The heavy cotton t-shirt I was wearing was a solid grey without a dry spot to be found.  My mat had a pool of sweat in it and the towel I was using looked as if it had just been dropped in the ocean.  There was sweat everywhere and that is when I finally had to stop. I had to sit down and bow out for a pose or two.  As much as I tried to continue my body, and more specifically my light-headedness, wouldn't allow me to continue.  I drank water and I drank an electrolyte filled water bottle but I just could not get going.  Finally the floor poses and I figured I could get back to it and I tried but I was only able to do one of the two pose sets.  I was wiped out.  Bikram Yoga had handed me my ass on a platter and yet I LOVED IT. When class was over I got dressed and went and got a green tea and a recovery shake.  Within a few minutes I felt hydrated and ready to head home but with a new plan of attack for this off-season and upcoming Ironman Texas training cycle.  Bikram Yoga was going to be a part of what I did to get to the finish line in The Woodlands in my already determined goal time.  Yoga will help me get flexible which will help with cadence on the bike and on the run.  Yoga will help me acclimate to the high temps in Texas in May which will help with a strong race.  Yoga will help with clearing my mind and focusing on the goal at hand which will come in handy when I am running the marathon. Like The Sufferfest.......Bikram Yoga kicked my ass that day so that I can kick the race courses ass tomorrow.

Do You Do Bikram Yoga?  Got Any Tips And Tricks.

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Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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