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.