A Healthy Challenge: Hot, Sweaty, Bodies in Motion – Bikram Yoga

A few weeks ago, I realized this whole gym thing is not for me.

Like most people, I find cardio machines to be so boring and the more interesting classes are always at inconvenient times. I tried paying a personal trainer but she was pushy and forced me so past my comfort zone that I wrenched my shoulder and still cannot use it properly. But worst of all, no matter how much I stretched and took care of myself, I always left the gym exhausted, in pain and without any real relief of the emotional stress in my life.

I needed a change. I needed to find something that would heal me, inside and out. I needed Bikram yoga.

So, I canceled my gym membership and signed up for an introduction month at Bikram Yoga Portland, dedicating myself to going at least 5 times a week and documenting how I felt here for A Health Challenge.  The change happened just in time: about three days into my journey I got horrible double bad news and Bikram yoga became both as my therapist and my personal trainer. By the end of 20 days, I felt better emotionally and physically than I had in over a year.

I’m a total convert.

While the bad news I got has me moving to my hometown for a bit, far away from any yoga studio more or less a Bikram one, I’ll always be grateful to the wonderful people at Bikram Yoga Portland who supported and nurtured me during one of the roughest months of my life. I hope I can be back to practice with my new friends again soon.

Here’s my journey:

Day 1: WOOT! Look at me go! I’m so going to feel better asap! 4:30pm class, 8pm passed out asleep.

Day 2: Woke up at 4am, might as well go to 5:30am class. Feelin’ dizzy, dehydrated, but enthusiastic.

Day 3: Back here again.

Day 4: Double bad news on the way to class. My brother’s cancer is back and D.E.’s uncle has died. Too sad to move. Going home to eat gelato instead.

Day 5: Wanna cry. Don’t. Just lay there most of class.

Day 6: Ugh. It’s hot. Camel, rabbit and any other pose named after an animal can wait until next class, today I’m gonna sit here and focus on not vomiting.

Day 7: Oops, wrong class time. Oh well, the sun’s out, gonna see what it’s like outdoors instead.

Day 8: FUCK THIS! It is really hot. I mean reeeeaaaaallllyyy hot in this room. I’m just going to lay here and weep.

Day 9: Halloween! I’m dressed like a pirate! OUCH metal earrings in a hot room = earlobe burns! It’s worth it though; I got a popsicle afterwards for dressing up. My friend K from San Francisco and her friend K are my guests today, so that’s fun. Also, it seems cooler in here today. I even tried to do camel pose and that pose sucks.

Day 10: My instructor is super super skinny and can do all the moves because her boobs and fat don’t get in the way like mine do. But she’s nice so I don’t hold it against her. Instead I try to do camel again. It still sucks.

Day 11: Best yoga yet. Maybe it’s because I had that one class where we were literally as hot as the sun, but I think it’s gotten cooler in here.

Day 12: OMG my instructor has a huge penis and I can see it through his tight spandex pants. So distracted by the penis, I forgot the pain and tried every pose.

Day 13: Same large penis instructing me. This time I’m less distracted so I notice how hot and tight I am and don’t quite get to every pose.

Day 14: Sleeping cuddled against D.E. and having sex in the morning did something to my back. I have to sit out most poses. Ouch.

Day 15: Back better, instructor hilarious. It’s the most packed, hottest class but I don’t care I’m still smiling from the instructor’s singing. Her brother died and yoga helped her through it. After class, I tell her about my brother’s cancer and Gramma’s death and how yoga is helping me through it. We bond. I find out camel opens up your heart, making it vulnerable. No wonder I hate it.

Day 16: Tight pants big penis instructor is back. I like his enthusiasm, very fast speaker, encourages me to dig harder and deeper into a pose, so I do. Even stay bent back for camel. Still not touching my ankles, though and still hate the pose.

Day 17: OUCH! My knee. Dammit. That hurt. Sitting the rest of class out.

Day 18: Fuck that I’m taking a day off.

Day 19: Community free class means the room is absolutely packed, so absolutely hot. I bring my friend Bridget. She’s better than me. I try not to hate her for it.

Day 20: The time has come for me to leave Portland and I’m so sad I can’t move. I just lay there in class and only stretch when I can. I try not to try. By the end of class, though, I accept that I can’t always control what’s going on with my family and life and just have to breathe through the fear and pain and do the best I can. I feel zen and at peace. I cry on my way home, but I know I’m going to be ok.


About Queerie Bradshaw

Lauren Marie Fleming is a writer, speaker and motivator known for her intimate, informative and often hilarious look at sex, relationships and body-image. Lauren runs the critically-acclaimed QueerieBradshaw.com blog, writes for major news sources including VICE, Nerve, Huffington Post and Curve, and is the author of her memoir Losing It: My Life as a Sex Blogger. In 2013, Lauren founded Frisky Feminist Press (FriskyFeminist.com) as a way to enhance conversations about sexuality through educational guides, online classes and entertaining publications. A law school graduate, Lauren has spoken all over the United States and is internationally recognized for her dynamic, engaging style. In everything she does, Lauren’s goal is to educate, remove stigmas and encourage people to achieve their desires.
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2 Responses to A Healthy Challenge: Hot, Sweaty, Bodies in Motion – Bikram Yoga

  1. Jessenia says:

    I love this piece, Lauren :o) So sweet and vulnerable and completely open. It might be funny to say this but I truly feel privileged to read what seems to be all of your heart here on this site. I think it’s so beautiful. I can literally picture all the days you described. I loved day 12! Oh my gosh I probably would have had a grin on my face throughout the entire class and holding in laughter!! I especially love Day 15. I love that connection you made. Sometimes I feel like moments such as those are meant to happen in our lives to show us we’re on the right paths :o)

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