Have you ever tried Bikram Yoga? I’ve been (inconsistently) practicing for almost 2 years now, and sometimes when I mention I’m going, people ask me if it’s “fun”. Um, no. Not at all. I do not consider pushing my muscles beyond their flexibility wearing next to nothing next to a bunch of other sweaty people for 90 minutes fun (call me a party pooper). I do not go to class for “fun” – I go for the consistency of programming and the feeling of invincibility I get afterwards. I know, it’s very anti-yogi to go into class with a this-is-gonna-suck attitude – I’m working on it. So when I came back from a 3 week binge of conferences, company, cross country flights and a lower back and gut that were just not going to be quick to forgive my traveling transgressions, I decided I needed to commit myself to a few weeks of Bikram restoration. It helps my mind, spine and systems from the inside out, even if the 90 minutes are pure torture.
Currently, I’m on Day 5 of 21 classes in 25 days. While I started out optimistic of going 21 times in 21 days, I’m being realistic about what I can and can’t do – and there are times when life is going to prevent me from getting to class. It happens, I move on. The only person I’m accountable to is me.
But, I digress. That’s actually not at all what this is about.
I have a bone to pick with you Bikram Yogis. I realize many of you have been practicing longer than me, and perhaps you’ve gotten a bit too comfortable, or confident, or whatever it may be, but there are some ground rules that are generally established in the “Beginner’s Guide to Yoga” that you seem to have forgotten. I’m tired, I’m sore, and I’m here to offer you eight friendly reminders so that you can stop pissing me off before I’ve had my coffee while I try to find my Zen.
- Those mirrors at the front? Despite popular believe, those are only there to help you check your posture, not pop your pimples. I realize that your pores have never been bigger thanks to the 105 degree temps and high humidity. It’s like a facial waiting to happen, right? No. Just stop. I’m begging you.
- It’s amazing how we can go through the day without thoroughly examining the bottom of our feet, isn’t it? Yoga is called practice, so let’s “practice” making it through the moments before class without giving ourselves a fingernail pedicure. I’m sorry your polish is chipping, that blister is about to peel, or that toenail is just a little too long and begging to be groomed back. Again, stop it. Look at yourself in the mirror – you see that? You look like a monkey. Prove to me and your fellow classmates that, you too, benefited from the evolutionary process and know the proper times to groom.
- Leave your cell phone in the locker room. Seriously. There’s no need to check Instagram in the 3 minutes you’re left waiting for class to start, and there’s DEFINITELY no need to post a pre-class selfie #namaste #bestlifeever #fitfam #zen. Not only is it rude, that faceless belly roll that looks extra cellulitey under fluorescent lighting with a Valencia filter? Yeah, that’s me, and I don’t want it on the internet. You and the other 30 people in here paid good money to check out that mess – please spare the web images their eyes can’t unsee.
- Dear girl in the front, you look very fit – clearly a competitor in all areas of your life. You’re probably here because this is truly Yoga for the Type A Personality. Let me remind you, this is not a place to compete. Rushing in to Camel Pose just to show us that your head can touch your feet is not impressive; it’s rude and a little insulting. The instructor told us to “follow step by step, everyone together, no faster, no slower.” Do that. Practice following directions. If you want to race, we can meet on a treadmill later. You’ll win, I promise.
- Men of yoga, boxers are not shorts. Girls, if you bought it at Victoria’s Secret, those aren’t shorts either. Underwear is not appropriate attire (and I’m pretty liberal with what I wear myself). A swimsuit would hold you in better. Cover it up. Thank you.
- They give us two towels every class for a reason. Please use yours so that when we’re packed like sardines into the 5:30 you’re not dripping over my mat in the standing series. I’m sure your sweat is no worse than mine – which is why I’m fine with sweating right next to you beautiful people in close quarters – but I think it’s fair to request that you don’t get your leg sweat on the towel I’m about to wipe my face with.
- Ladies, take off your make up. Trust me; nothing good comes of even the best mascara after 30 minutes of sweating. You’ll spend the next 60 trying to rescue your raccoon eyes – and even worse? – I will inevitably get your Maybeline stained towel on my next visit.
- Before we leave the room, please take a look around. There are about 20 women in here, and 3 showers. Every one of us is drenched with sweat and, presumably, most of us are headed to work at 7:30 in the morning on a weekday. This is not the time to shave your legs when you get to the shower. Keep it to 5 minutes or less. I know you can do it.
Please read this with love. I really do love you all. I love sharing my mornings and evenings on a mat next to you, and I notice your little victories as we progress through our practice. Say hi, let’s make small talk, and maybe even grab coffee or a drink. But only if you don’t make me want to punch you during the 90 excruciating minutes we share together first.