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Posts tagged ‘bikram’

How to Spot a Yoga Poser

It seems virtually everyone, including yours truly, is getting into yoga. Entire retail chains are dedicated to properly outfitting the truly committed “yogi” as well as those that want to lead a “yoga inspired” lifestyle – i.e. those who are inspired to not actually practice yoga. Perhaps that is best because I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a world shortage on yoga studios. I showed up to mine the other day and the line was out the door to get into class and around the block. I had to scalp tickets to get closer to the front of the line and mow down a nice lady just to grab one of the last spots. The mark from my It’sJustZen(R) new yoga sandals were still on her back when I left which seemed rather un-Zen like in retrospect.

In the 14 weeks since I started hot Yoga (which more than qualifies me as an expert on the subject in my warped protocol of written subject matter justification) I’ve come to the conclusion that mixed among any class there are the true Yoga disciples and then there are the Yoga posers.

Yoga Disciples – Dedicated, Disciplined, Spiritual. In other words..boring!

Yoga Posers are much more fun to observe because they come in various forms and almost assuredly provide delightful material for an observationalist like myself. I say this with the full disclosure  and humility that I’m a card carrying Yoga poser myself. Until I can actually sit in a lotus pose for more than 30 seconds without sobbing uncontrollably from pain and find enough mind discipline to not get distracted by the hairy guy in front of me who is wearing Yoga shorts atleast 2 sizes too small, I am far from disciple status. That said, regular class attendance has allowed me to observe that there are distinct classes of Yoga posers you’ll find in a studio at any given time. Surprisingly I have yet to find any of these types published in any yoga journals I’ve browsed so consider this an unofficial list until they are formally recognized. There’s a higher likelihood that I’ll be kidnapped by the Yoga secret police and put in Yoga jail and made to sit in a Lotus position for the entire term of my sentence. Here’s the list

The “Whoa I didn’t sign up for this!” Yoga Poser

There’s nothing easier to spot than someone in a hot Yoga studio that is not sure how they actually got there and clearly wants to leave immediately once the wave of heat hits them. My statistical calculations conclude that 37% are those who were talked into going by a friend, 17% went because they are trying to date the aforementioned friend and wanted to get them in bed to try all those poses that only yoga masters can accomplish, and 100% are male. You see a few of these guys come in and know they have no chance of survival just from the sheer look of terror in their eyes.  A few are blissfully ignorant like sheep being lead to the slaughter house but most accept the fate that awaits them and revert to the fetal position around the 2nd or 3rd pose and spend the next 87 minutes trying not to die.

The “Weapon of Mass Destruction” Yoga Poser

I think it was the 3rd yoga class I ever took I was in a forward bending position and a momentary lapse of strategic “clenching” resulted in the escape of a nano sized package of poisoned air from my backside. I was mortified and immediately tried to pass it off on the cute girl next to me who probably has never farted a day in her life and if she did it would smell like plumeria. WOMD Posers laugh at that. They live in a clench-free world where whatever escapes from their body is as its meant to be and typically park themselves in the first row of class to more efficiently distribute their fermented concoction to the already hot room. And they take pride in their output capabilities. The first time I experienced this I thought it was a joke until I saw the guy directly behind the culprit taking a direct hit and was mere seconds away from passing out due to oxygen deprivation. It was anything but a post yoga meditative state in the mens locker room after class when he confronted the violator who clearly forgot to check his weapon at the door. The only thing keeping this guy from body slamming guru McNoxious and put him in a savasana like coma were me and my posse of fellow posers holding him back.

The “I invented this pose” Yoga Poser

For every sport and other discipline that requires time and effort to master the craft there’s always the poser that wants to take the short cut. “Nice new impulsive $5000 road bike purchase bro. I’m sure that’s going to be the motivating key to finally getting rid of your beer gut” Yoga is not immune to these kind of swaggy bros. I’ve seen a few deviations but the proper recipe for this kind of yoga poser is 1 part loin cloth, 1 part male ponytail and 98 parts chutzpah. These posers walk into the studio like they are Bikram Choudhury himself, the pioneer of hot yoga and the reason you willingly plunk down $100+ per month to sit in a hot box for 90 min straight.  As a IITP poser they flaunt it like they have mad flexibility skill(z)s and could literally bend to kiss their own ass if they felt like they wanted to, but they don’t. The move is to work the room like they own it and slyly chant to themselves using sounds like resemble a 1st  century ancient language that only 3 people currently alive in the world can speak. Then they find a spot in the back of the class so they can minimize exposure on the fact that they really could care less about class, can’t hold the positions and spend the majority of the class transfixed on the hot girl they have strategically parked their mat behind.

I look forward to more yoga observational adventures once I come up for Yoga parole in 2020.

Namaste

Hot Yoga (Baking Times May Vary)

John Isner playing a Wimbledon match over 3 days…

Michael Jordon in triple overtime in 1993 NBA finals…

Ali vs Frazier in 12th round at Thrilla at Manilla….

All legends in the game but I claim none of these guys even got close to sweating as much as I did when I took part in my first ever Bikram yoga class. Referred to as hot yoga, you voluntarily place yourself in a 105 degree Fahrenheit room where you perform 26 different postures over 90 minutes, after which you’re baked to about medium rare depending on number of bastings. I was a little hesitant to try it but a friend who swears by the discipline and has the results to show for it convinced me to give it a shot and I figured the worst that could happen is I have a total body core shutdown so what the hell.

I walk in for the 9am class about 30 min early to ensure I get a good spot (next to the exit for a quick getaway if needed) As I enter the main lobby a wave of heat hits me and I think it’s tolerable until I realize it’s just a small sampling of the escaped heat from the main yoga room/oven. The earlier class is letting out and people are emerging from the room looking like they were just rescued from a week trapped in death valley. I consider a fast getaway but the receptionist still has my credit card. I try to remember if I bought the credit card insurance for purchases that could actually kill me. I did not.

Finally our class is let into the room and as I’m literally hit with a wall of heat that makes my eyebrow hair spontaneously combust I’m thinking 90 minutes my ass..my initial goal today is to last 90 seconds. I now long for the tranquil 85 degree environment of the reception lobby. Too late. I’m in and I’m committed. The very nice teacher spots the rookie in the class immediately (Hint – the guy looking on the floor for singed eyebrow hair) and formally welcomes me to Bikram. I suspect that is the insider language to coily announce that side bets on my survival are now being taken. I’m able to decipher that the over/under number on when I run screaming from the room is 37 minutes. The woman next to me clearly has the under number as she hauls out her own portable humidifier. Like 105 degrees is not enough for her. I make a mental note to sweat directly on her when possible.

Let the class begin. We start with some deep breathing exercise but I’m already way ahead of them with my own hyper ventilation technique to keep the air from starting a fire in my lungs. It doesn’t work. Then 3 minutes into the class I have to pee. Seems I took the pre-hydration warning a bit too seriously. 26 postures to go and fortunately the first one puts my bladder in a knot so I’m temporarily out of danger. .

Pose #2 . They call it Pada Hastasana  or Hands to Feet Bend all the Way Over Pose. I call it “Person in front of me please consider not wearing the shorty shorts for your next visit. Spandex can be your friend and mine” pose.

Pose #5 called Dandayamana (Standing Head to Knee Pose) My head has not touched me knee since that hard check I took on the boards at hockey game last year….by my own teammate none the less. He’s not here so I crash and burn pretty hard on this one

Pose #12 called Padangustasana (Toe Stand Pose)It’s as hard as it sounds. Support all of your weight on one set of toes. They might have just as much asked me to levitate off the ground in the seated position and I’d have about as much luck.

Pose #13 called Savasana (Dead Body Pose) Nailed it on the first try! It’s now 38 minutes in class. Dollars are exchanged between classmates. Humidifier girl turns up the dial just to spike me since I cost her $20.

Pose #14 called Pavanmuktasana (Wind Removing Pose) I quickly realize this refers to “inner” body wind and it’s at this moment I realize why there was a bit of a distinct smell emulating from the room when I first entered. On the plus side I’m one class in and my colon already feels 3 years younger.

Pose #16 called Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) This represents the first pose where you are lying on your stomach and I realize very intimately that it’s been quite a while since I last cleaned my yoga mat. I’m extra motivated to pull my head off the matt but no matter how hard I try I can’t kiss my big toe which is what the woman next to me is doing….while applying nail polish at the same time. Showoff.

Pose #20 called Supta Vajrasana (Fixed Firm Pose) Instructed as a pose easy to accomplish, I find that to be true as I start in a seated kneeling position and bend all the way back until Im on my back, knees folded in. Feeling quite studly until I realize I have no idea how to get out of the pose. Thinking fast I announce to the room that I’m going for the fixed firm pose hold record which evokes cheers from my class brethren. Once I can no longer feel my lower extremities I am able to finally break free and revert back to the dead body pose.

Pose #21 called Ardha Kurmasana (Half Tortoise Pose) Im way ahead of the game as most of my external extremities went “full tortoise” atleast an hour ago from the heat.

Pose #22 Ustrasana (Camel Pose) Bend your head and neck all the way back while on your knees. This is when I realize Mr. Bikram was a visionary. Over an hour into class one might feel like barfing from heat exhaustion but in this pose he has ensured that you will only to puke on your own face. Genius!

85 minutes into the class the heat finally gets to me and I start to display rapid shallow breathing. The Yoga instructor is speechless and quite impressed at my ability to quickly adopt as it turns out this happens to be the final breathing exercise called Khapalbhati (Blowing in Firm pose)

90 minutes. Done. High fives all around save for mean humidifier girl. I gather my mat, exit the oven and feel the glorious 85 degree lobby air embrace all around me. For a moment I’m speechless until I instinctively shout out “SOMEONE GIVE ME MY FUCKING KLONDIKE BAR!!!

BTW I really loved the class and officially addicted!  🙂