53

(warning this is next-level obsessive Bikram stuff)

After our second Bikram class, 3 months ago, Polly asked me “How long does it take until it stops being just awful?” and I kind of laughed and said maybe 10 or so classes, probably more like a month, which is why studios give you their generous intro passes (10 days for 20 dollars, 30 days for 30 dollars and the like). Obviously Bikram yoga is an expensive hobby, as a casual class will set you back 20 dollars and most people get monthly passes well over $150.

Anyway, I personally found it only took 2 or 3 classes this time around to not find Bikram just awful. But today I found out that after 53 classes, you will feel just… speechless with happiness.

Today wasn’t even meant to be a yoga day. I was just dropping by Prahran after work to pick up my mat (equipped with the Fitzroy mat bag I successfully collected yesterday!). I always carry Bikram gear with me, because you don’t want to be caught unawares, and I stood in the hallway chewing my fingernail and questioning whether it was a good idea, given I’d been eating BBQ crisps just an hour earlier. Did I really want to go?

The teacher told me “Just do it, if you feel sick or feel like shit, you can just go. I don’t care about people leaving if they have to leave.” I changed and on my way into the room, I asked how out of curiosity how many classes I had done in the 3 months I had been at the studio. 52 — today was number 53.

So I went into class pondering the 73.5 hours I had already spent in there, and it turned out the most ecstatic Bikram class I’ve ever experienced. Not because my postures were particularly strong or deep, but because I was able to stay so focused and give 100%. At one point in wind-removing pose, I realised I was thinking about work, and scolded myself, because I know that if I’m thinking about work, I’m not trying hard enough. “How much harder can I try in WIND-REMOVING POSE, AKA THE MOST BORING POSE IN THE WORLD?” I complained internally, and then just focused on obeying every single instruction exactly and precisely, and continued to do so to the very end of the class.

And the end of the class! I had an incredible shavasana. Over the last few weeks of high stress and anxiety, I have established a little hippy ritual following the last pose. I hold my hands in prayer to my third eye, and thank the yoga for bringing me clarity of mind, then I drop them to my lips and thank the yoga for bringing me kindness of speech, and then to my heart and thank the yoga for bringing me peace, and then I bend and touch my forehead to the floor. And then I lay down for shavasana.

And today’s shavasana… quite literally blew my mind. I felt as though I had stopped breathing and was hovering just a few centimetres above the ground, outside of my body. I have sometimes almost felt this way and then by becoming conscious of it, it immediately slips away. Tonight I was entirely conscious of it and it lasted and lasted… it was a very special experience.

When I emerged from shavasana and exited the hot room, the other teacher at reception saw me and exclaimed “Wow! someone just had an amazing class!”. The teacher who led the class (who is the owner) was also grinning about what a great energy we all had and how glad she was that I stuck around. When it came time for me to leave we had a sweaty hug goodbye and then she told me that she and the owner at Richmond would work something out so I can keep practicing at both studios… what an angel.

Sorry for long yoga-obsessed post. I had to share my joy… and I can’t wait for class 54.

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