|News Staff Illustration/Will Macowski|
By Marian Daniells, News Staff
I bought my first yoga mat when I was in high school, after my dad’s doctor suggested he attend yoga classes to help him relieve stress and relax. We probably went to three classes at the local YMCA before we lost our motivation completely, and I forgot about the mat.
Five years later, that same pink mat magically rose from the dead. It traveled 3,000 miles in my dad’s luggage at my request before it finally arrived in my hands in New York, where I was on co-op this past spring. I decided to give yoga another chance.
One of my best friends, Laura, had been blogging about Boston’s yoga scene for the entire semester I was in New York. I blog-stalked her as a way to keep up on her life and feel some sense of connection to the people I’d left behind in Boston. She made the Boston yoga community sound like the most wonderful, prestigious club. She described her physical and emotional transformation, the benefits of yoga and her obsessive love for lululemon, a store for yoga gear and clothing in the Prudential Center. I couldn’t help but find her enthusiasm contagious.
My first yoga adventure was trying Bikram yoga – which is commonly referred to as “hot yoga”–and is a whole different breed of crazy. It’s completely different than traditional types of yoga. In Bikram, yogis go through two breathing exercises and 26 postures during each 90 minute session. And it’s in a room that’s over 100 degrees. People who do Bikram seldom do traditional yoga and vice versa. Although Laura wasn’t a big fan of Bikram, I had to give it a try.
There’s really only one rule to Bikram yoga: you can’t leave the room. I, however, managed to break that sacred rule during my very first session. Sometime during the first half hour, I started seeing spots. Then I heard the telltale ringing in my ears, and knew I was in for a difficult next hour. Before the class was out, I vomited into a towel and came dangerously close to passing out. The instructor begrudgingly let me run out of the room to vomit properly in a toilet, but I did manage to return to the room and finish my session. I found some sort of sick pride in proving to myself that I could overcome my body’s limitations.
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