Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Bikram Yoga Experience

Hi. I'm Mat.

So I tried Bikram Yoga on Mother's Day. I wanted to try something new. (That's what this year is about!) I got Bikram's book. I went online and read about the good, the bad, and the ugly about this type of yoga. I got a Living Social Deal for 5 classes for $25 three days before my class. I packed my gym bag. I even cut my toenails. My husband was like, "Is it that serious?" Yes. I need something new.

Boy, did I get it.


  • My teacher, Lauren Kaye, was AWESOME. Skipping to what happened at the end of class, in short: I cramped up. All ten of my fingers and my jaw (yes, jaw) locked up. I could barely carry my yoga mat out of class. I could talk, but I couldn't move my jaw. That scared the $#^! out of me because I've never experienced that before. I sat in the lobby and managed to get someone to grab Lauren. She said, "You need electrolytes. " She was on it like green on grass. Sarah, the owner of Bikram Yoga Hampden, got me a Vitamin Water and told me to drink it all. Lauren never left my side. She talked me down off my emotional cliff. That jaw cramping freaked me the hell out. I am not going to lie.
  • I learned my lesson: next time (not so sure about that) drink coconut water, Vitamin Water, whatever, just keep the electrolytes coming.
  • The studio was beautiful.
  • The in-studio shower was a relief.

  • That class was the hardest physical thing I have ever done, outside of giving birth naturally to two big-headed boys. No joke. I knew it would be. That's why I did it.
  • If you don't know about Bikram Yoga, it's 26 poses done - usually twice - in a room heated to 105 degrees. It is the original Hot Yoga.
  • I rested when I needed to do so. Again, Lauren was very encouraging.
  • In the locker room, when I took off my clothes, everything was dripping wet. It was like I had swam in the ocean. I am not exaggerating. I could wring the sweat out of my clothes.
  • My fellow students were cool too. I really did like this studio.

  • Here is where it gets weird. I'm been practicing yoga since 1999, and taught since 2000. I always feel better after a yoga class, no matter what style. Post-cramping, I felt great. The next day, I felt great. I was planning my next visit.
  • Then I hit The Great Wall of China.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, I felt completely NUMB. I could not feel ANY emotion. You talk about scared....I was scared, my husband was scared for me.
  • I know depression. It's something I've suffered from off-and-on since college. But that was Situational Depression. I can point to major events and see why I reacted the way I did.
  • This was Clinical or Chemical Depression. It was like the pilot light was shut off in my brain. Last week was a great one. I paid for my Kripalu reservation; my kids got wonderful news about their progress. Things were fantastic. Yet, I wasn't just sad. I felt ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. No joy. No pain. No sadness. No nothing. I was disconnected from everyone and everything. Feeling disconnected from humanity is headed toward the realm of mental illness.  I know I got issues, but damn!
  • On Friday, I spent an hour outside in the sun. That was when I started to feel like myself again. Friday was a sunny 80 degree day. It was beautiful.

  • The beautiful thing about life is that we can observe our own behavior. I believe in the "self" and "Self." Or the "personality" and "soul." Whatever you want to call it. My "Self" could see that I, Althea as a personality, was way off emotionally. I was drinking electrolyte drinks trying to come back into balance. I got back online to see if I could find if anyone else had had this same experience. I did not.
  • But when I searched "Bikram Yoga" depression, a result came up "can Bikram Yoga cause depression." That's when I knew I wasn't the only person who had experienced this phenonomena.
  • Will I do it again? I'd say no. If I did, I would not push myself as hard. I'd rest more during class.
  • One benefit was that I'm pushing myself harder in my home practice. I'm working on The Sun Salute A and B from the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series. I did 5 rounds of each this morning. I said to myself, "If I can get through 90 minutes of Bikram, I can certainly do this." And I did.
Should I go back? Should I not? I'd love to hear other people's experiences.



Saturday, May 19, 2012

I'm Going to Kripalu!

So why am I leading off with a photo of a Vanilla Raspberry Cake? I'll get to that in a second :-).
After 11 years, I am FINALLY going back to Kripalu, Center for Yoga and Health in a few weeks.
And I'm going ALONE! Hol-lay to the you-lah! Those of you in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts, if you see a sister with long locs driving with the window down singing Beyonce's "Love on Top" at the top of her lungs, that will be me!!
I'm doing new things in 2012. I'm actually checking off my bucket list of things I want to do. I've wanted to go back to Kripalu forever, and I took the plunge. I applied for a scholarship and I got one.
I'm attending Mantras for Spiritual Warriors with Snatam Kaur and her husband. She is a singer with the voice of angel. If you've never heard her sing, click on her name to be taken to her website. She is what Heaven must sound like. And I get back to a Kundalini Yoga workshop. I've been a lonely Kundalini Yogi here in Baltimore. I'm thrilled to be attending.

Another plunge I took was gluten-free baking. That type of baking was so foreign to me. Frankly, I was scared. After reading many books, I finally did it. I made a Vanilla Raspberry Cake from Sweet Vegan. I made the Vanilla Frosting too. For my first cake (and I haven't baked a cake, of any kind, in well over a decade) it came out perfect. 

Another view of the cake.

And then there's the chocolate cupcakes. This took much effort to get right. Sweet Vegan helped but I did alter the recipe a bit to make it mine.
Yes, they are as good as they look.

I've already had one client, Ms. Lisa Scott, from Fitness Chicks, a group I cooked for last month. (And subsequently joined!) I made more tonight for another friend. They'll be featured at her daughter's graduation party tomorrow.

If you live in the Baltimore area, and you want cupcakes (chocolate or vanilla), email me! I have worked very hard to pay off my Kripalu scholarship balance (and I have). I am earning even more money to travel with and am requesting your help. And if you don't live in the area, and would like a reading, let me know.

Thanks and love,



Related Posts with Thumbnails