Thursday, February 24, 2011
I have practiced yoga at at least 16 different places in Chicago, and my Bikram Yoga experience ties with the Chicago Park District and the strange place in Edgewater for "Worst Experience at a Yoga Class Ever." Bikram Yoga is practiced in a 104 - 105 degree room with 40% humidity. I love the sauna, so I really did expect to like Bikram. I arrived at the studio and was taken aback, not by the heat, but by the horrid odor permeating the room. Oh my gosh. People were beginning to fill the room, so I strategically picked a spot next to some who I believed would not stink as badly as others. (I can't share my method, as it is sure to be). As I rolled out my mat, panic set in. What if it became too hot and smelly for me to finish the class...should I stay in the room and try to get used to it....should I go outside of the room and wait until the class started?! I ended up leaving the room and came back to find that now the room was mat-to-mat full and although annoying, I found it comforting that there were so many people in the class - it couldn't possibly be that bad. I was glad that I had worn a tank top, really glad I had not worn yoga pants (thought about it because I biked to the studio), and even more glad that my yoga capris easily were turned up to be long shorts. I was less thrilled that every guy in the class wore shorts more revealing than a Speedo. The class was alright, basically it was just yoga in a super hot room. I decided that my neuroses and the smell got in the way of enjoying the class, so I decided to go back and try it again. The second trip to Bikram was the same story of being smacked in the nose with the horrible smell and leaving the room to wait until class started. When I came back to my mat this time I was mortified to find that there were dudes all wearing the skimpy Bikram uniform directly to my left, right, and both back corners on my mat. The fella to my left smelled like a guys' college dorm room and was dripping sweat onto my mat. At one point, I reached down for a drink of water and the instructor stopped instructing and said, "You in the front, what is your name?" I told her. "Ok, Frances don't drink any water. You cannot technically breathe and drink water at the same time." What is this, Guantanamo? Also, one cannot technically breathe if she passes out and dies. I had to talk myself out of leaving the class six times. At the end of the class when the instructor attempted to shame everyone into staying for a two minute savasnsa "corpse pose" saying, "This two minutes IS included in the 90 minutes you signed up for," I bolted from that hotbox of hell. Goodbye Bikram.