Sunday, September 21, 2008


I've been meaning to start up a regular yoga practice of some kind for a while now. Like, 10 years. Yesterday, I finally took the plunge. Bikram. The hot yoga.

At first the heat felt kinda good. A somewhat humid 105 degrees. And the first few postures didn't seem too terribly strenuous. The guy teaching the class called out instructions peppered with a continual rapid-fire stream of little tips and motivations and information about the benefits of the postures, etc., and though this made him sound like some kind of crazed new-age county-fair auctioneer, it was actually pretty helpful and inspiring. I thought: "90 minutes of this? No problem."

After maybe an hour, I felt like I was being ass-raped by Satan.

I was pouring more sweat from every square inch of the surface of my body than I thought possible, and gradually I could feel the blood-vessels in my extremities constricting and my brain shutting down. Ah... severe dehydration. I had brought a decent-sized (or so I thought) container of water with me (they also sell large bottles of smart water), but I'd finished all of it and there was still plenty of class to go. And they don't let you leave the hot room under any but emergency situations. I wasn't sure if my situation qualified as an emergency, but that's probably only because my mind had ceased functioning. So I just sat down on my sweat-soaked towel. Then I curled up into fetal position on my side for a bit, trying to see if I could get some feeling back into my strangely tingling arms and legs. And face.

Lying down wasn't so unusual. Looking around, almost everybody in the class had to stop at one point or another. But they all still had water left to drink. So they weren't necessarily dealing with dehydration, but rather were just a bit overcome by the heat and the exertion. In my case, the heat and exertion weren't the problem. I had simply underestimated how much water I'd need to drink, didn't bring enough, and now I was dying. But the crazed auctioneer thought I was just slacking and so encouraged me to push myself. I did what I could, but it's not easy to do the postures on numb legs. But since my brain had gone numb too, I didn't really care.

After the class, I somehow managed to drag myself into the men's locker room. I went to the bathroom, and drank some tap water from the sink. It was just enough to return a tiny amount of limb and brain function, such that I could shower and put my street clothes back on. On my way out, I bought one of the smart waters and drank the entire liter down in one go. I immediately felt completely better. Suddenly I could think and walk and speak again like a normal human.

But I was a bit wobbly and cold on my bike ride home.

And today, I'm a bit achey, though not as bad as I feared I might be.

I'm not going to a class today. Still thirsty from yesterday's class. But I'll go tomorrow after work. And I'll buy two liters of smart water to bring into it with me. Maybe three.

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