Sooo...a little while ago I attended a Bikram Yoga session (otherwise known as "Hot Yoga", for good reason) with my sister. She had gone to a previous class and enjoyed it. So she wanted to share it with me. I was touched by her invitation since we don't have a lot in common, nor does she invite me out often. Although if you knew my sister, then you would also know there is ALWAYS an ulterior motive. Perhaps she believes it to be well hidden, but she doesn't often do things without considering what she's getting out of it. I knew she wanted a Yoga partner, and she's made it obvious to me that she would prefer me if I was slimmer. Don't get me wrong, I could lose a few pounds (who couldn't) but I'm not exactly in the WORST shape. Anyway...
The day started at 6 in the morning, when I woke up. Much earlier than usual - I usually wake up by 9. Why was I getting up so early? Well, it all started when my sister offered me a ride to my boyfriend's. This was a treat since it's a) freezing outside, and b) I usually take the bus. Yes, the bus. Motorcycles don't drive in snow. When my sister offered a ride, I was excited and said yes. I thanked her. She then said that she needed to renew her passport and go to Hot Yoga - since those places were not too far from my boyfriend's place...
Ugh. Yes. Exactly. Every favour comes with a price. She was very willing to drive me - as long as I woke up early, went with her to renew her passport, and attended Hot Yoga. The price was high but I felt a little pinch from my super-ego, telling me to go with my sister. So I agreed once more. You see, she had already trapped me with the first "yes". Clever girl. She knows I have a guilty conscience about everything.
Right - so I woke up at 6 a.m. and we left at 7 to get to Canada Place early (a magical, wondrous, beaurucratic place filled with government offices - mostly about taxes and what not). We arrived, parked out front (very lucky since it's downtown) and went inside. Despite being around 8 in the morning, there were people already waiting in the passport office. Seriously - days start way too early. Anyway, we got it done. It wasn't even 9 in the morning and our yoga session wasn't until noon. We had some time to kill.
What did we do? I was like, why don't we just go for a walk? Since we were downtown and there are connecting pedways between the buildings which allows pedestrians to stay warm. We wandered over to City Centre mall, then back to Canada Place before we left. We waited a bit more until we finally drove to a yoga studio located outside of China town, and beneath an attorney's office. Somehow, it seemed really funny to me - and now, it seems even funnier.
I don't usually give names for specific vendors for numerous reasons - mainly that I want to remain objective and I don't feel like I should influence people to frequent a place if I don't feel convinced. Well in this instance, I will mention the name of the place for many, very good reasons. The yoga studio is called "Bē". I have decided to mention it by name because it was incredibly professional, clean, and overall had a terrific atmosphere and ambiance. If Bikram Yoga is something you're interested in (and you live in the area), I'd look in to it. The prices are reasonable, and the schedule is filled with classes at different times. It's a perfect place for beginners since the first time is free. Very handy for a quick try.
The place was immaculate. There was handy shoe rack at the front door (along with a bench to sit on - it's the little things). Participants sign in with an account, using a tablet at the front desk. This makes it easy to track who attends what, since most of the pricing deals in numbers of classes you want to take. That sort of thing. There are enormous change rooms with hooks for jackets, cubbies for items, and of course attached bathrooms and showers. Everything was painted, tiled and designed to bring a sense of zen.
The yoga instructor informed my sister and I that she was starting to warm up the room, and we could wait inside - acclimatize so-to-speak. I nodded, agreeing that it was probably a good idea. It was warm and moist, but not quite there yet. I immediately noticed the interesting floor, it was so bizarre - like rubber coated string glued together. It's a special type of non-porous, water-proof, non-slip yoga flooring - ideal for use in Bikram Yoga where there is A LOT of "moisture".
Now, I'm no stranger to Yoga. In fact, my mother has been doing Yoga for something like 40 years. So she's definitely an expert. Of course, that means that I've also done some Yoga here and there. I've even done Yoga using Wii Fit. I'm fairly familiar with stances and what-not. However, I was not prepared for the inconceivable heat and humidity involved in Bikram Yoga. Let it be known that I've never been a lover of heat. I like warm sunshine, don't get me wrong, but there is a limit before I completely break down as a human being.
What is this all leading up to? What is all this preamble for? Well, I'll tell you. Hot Yoga is basically Hell. Not the fun kind of "just-suffering", almost acquiescent Hell - the kind where you're forced to work past your limit in stifling, choking heat. I have NEVER experienced anything like that before. I felt like I was dying.
In fact, I was so convinced that I was going to pass out from heat exhaustion or water intoxication, or something worse, that I felt suddenly grateful for my sister being present. If something happened, at least she was there, and even better, I had given the yoga studio my emergency contact information. Suddenly, it made sense why such information was vital.
I thought, if these are my last moments before death, I can at least be rest assured that wherever I'm going will be better. At least it'll be cooler. It would have to be.
The class dragged on and on and on. I was beginning to wonder why it hadn't ended yet. Even by my internal clock it was past an hour. What was going on? How was I going to be able to stay in there any longer? I had to - despite every inch of my body desperately clawing to get out of the room, I had to stay in there. It's a sibling thing largely. If my sister wasn't there, it would have been much easier for my ego to allow me to leave. Instead, I suffered while I performed slippery, strenuous yoga moves.
Finally, the instructor told us to lie down while she turned on the de-humidifier (whoever knew that could be a good thing, I live in a dry climate). Then she turned off the lights and said that we could remain relaxed and quiet for as long we liked. I was like - "fuck this shit" and immediately informed my sister that we needed to leave. I rolled up the rented mat so quickly there was a cooling breeze and waited in anguish while my sister dawdled. Eventually we got out and I breathed the biggest, most grateful breath I've ever breathed. That's when my dear, loving sister informed me that we took part in an 85 minute class (although I think she meant either 75 or 90 minutes). I was exhausted. She asked if I felt "refreshed". I was like, who feels refreshed after working out in the smelliest, sweatiest place ever?
To summarize, Bikram Yoga or "Hot" Yoga should actually be referred to as HELL Yoga - in all caps just as I've written. That name more aptly portrays the true torturous nature of performing difficult moves in an even more arduous climate. If you dislike the heat - stay the HELL away from this type of yoga. You will die. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but I do it to save your life. However, if you enjoy the heat and like being stretched like taffy - please feel free to enjoy the many...pungent wonders of HELL Yoga. If the heat doesn't kill you, the smell will.
I have been exercising continuously for 6 weeks now. At the beginning of September I purchased a home treadmill in order to help with my goal of losing weight. I use it at least 3 times a week (more when I have the time). Right now I'm experiencing the phenomenon of putting on weight. It's very demotivating. For much longer I've been doing my best to improve my diet by eating less and eating healthier choices (sometimes I make an exception). So after a lot of reading I've discovered that some people put on weight before they take it off but it's usually muscle. Muscle is denser than fat and so makes you think you've put on weight. What a cruel world we live in.
Lucky for me I never check the scale so I'm not obsessed with obviously misinforming numbers. I do look in the mirror though and I can tell when there are differences in my body. If the only thing I was experiencing was weight gain I would be concerned but there's something else. I'm starting to feel healthier. I'm not really sure how to explain it but I'm starting to feel a little better when I exercise. Not only that but my muscles feel like they're becoming a little tighter and a little more effective. I can actually feel my muscles, I know that they're there somewhere.
I've always been strong. I've never had a problem lifting heavy things so I knew I had muscle. In fact I'm sure that with my body type I could be a professional weightlifter but unfortunately it's made it hard to keep weight off. I have a fat protein efficient metabolism, meaning my body more efficiently stores fat. People with this metabolic type store fat and muscle all over their body. Now apparently cardio exercise is the toughest one I can pick for my body type but I know it's what I want and need.
Although weight loss was my initial motivator, I find running is good for other things as well. Not only does it make me feel healthier but the resulting endorphins make me feel happy and relaxed afterward. That's a big positive for me since I tend to worry. Running can really feel great. I used to run more often when I was in university. I would have to make it across campus in less than 10 minutes so I was practically forced to run. Now that I spend even more time at a desk writing I needed a way to keep in shape. The best part about running is the feeling. Sometimes when I used to run I would feel like I'm flying, like the world would disappear. I'm looking forward to feeling that again.
For everyone else out there, be it someone looking to lose weight or in the process of losing weight, just know that there's someone else out there too going through the same thing. For the people who have never had a weight problem, try not to judge. You don't know what that person has been through or tried. Besides, someone's weight doesn't determine what they're like as a person. Just remember that.
Quite a while ago I discovered I have a few white hairs. I was in denial at first because it seemed so unlikely. Then I came to accept they were in fact real. I haven't the foggiest why this has happened. People always suggest it's stress related and if in fact that is the case that makes sense. I have indeed experienced enormous amounts of stress in my life. However I've performed a Google search and discovered it could in fact be a vitamin B12 deficiency. So I think the first thing I'm going to do is increase my intake of vitamins. Luckily for me I've started to eat more fruit.
Sometimes when I brush my hair and see those white hairs I find myself filled with questions about mortality. We're aging all the time. We're constantly growing and changing on a molecular level. I have to admit I've taken my youth for granted. It was just so easy to be young and ignorant but now I realize I can't live like that anymore. I need to face the fact I'm not going younger nor am I staying the same age. I'm getting older.
So what does that mean? It means I need to treat myself better. Instead of shrouding myself in ignorant bliss I'm going to do my best to live healthier. I want to feel healthy. I want to feel young. I don't want to feel old. I don't think anyone does. There is no better time than right now. That means eating healthier and getting more exercise. The age old solution. Everyone repeats those words but does anyone really understand what that involves?
Live life like you mean it. We've only got so long before we move on.
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