For my birthday this year, I treated myself to my very first Bikram yoga class. I’m so excited to share my experience with you, and I encourage you all to try a class yourself!
I attended class at Bikram Yoga in Falmouth, Ma. If you’re local, please check out their website! https://bikramyogafalmouth.com/
Bikram yoga is a hot class, and every session is made up of the same 26 poses. If you’re interested in taking a class but nervous, YouTube some bikram classes online and learn the poses. I wanted to take this class for so many reasons, and it’s been on my bucket list for quite some time. Hot yoga is great for your muscles, stretching in the heat really loosens things up. These classes also incinerate calories, yet are still low-impact. Finally, I wanted to do something for myself that was new, and a little scary. As I work on my mental health, I find I am able to do more things on my own and try new things without a support person accompanying me. It was important for me to do this on my own, to prove to myself that I can handle my own nerves in intimidating situations.
It was 1000000% worth it.
I was pretty anxious about the class, so I called ahead to see if I needed to reserve a spot ahead of time. At this point, I was still unsure and ready to back out at any moment. When the owner of the studio called me back, she was so kind! She left me a very sweet voicemail, welcoming me to the class and suggesting I bring a towel, mat and a lot of water. Listening to her message made me feel more comfortable, and cemented the fact that I was going.
I think she could tell I was a little nervous when I first walked in. She welcomed me right away, and gave me a quick overview of the studio. As I stood at the counter signing my waiver and paying, other participants of the class made their way in. They were all so friendly, and started stripping off their coats and boots (it was 5 degrees on my birthday.) To my surprise, they kept stripping. Off went the sweatshirts, the long pants, the t-shirts.. Almost everything. Lots of bodies in sports bras, and men in teenie weenie shorts. I quickly became aware that you did not have to currently have an ideal body to participate in this class, and it made me feel so much more comfortable. I elected to keep my long yoga pants on, and my t-shirt.
When class kicked off, the heat really kicked in. It felt so good compared to the frigid temps outside, and my body was more relaxed and flexible than ever. It only took a few minutes to figure out why my classmates were so scantily clad. I was sweating everywhere, and we had barely started. I mean lots and lots of dripping sweat, from everywhere- even obscure places like my forearms and shins. I don’t think I’ve ever sweat there before.
This probably doesn’t sound like a big deal to you, but I spent 28 years hiding my upper arms. At my biggest, they were bigger than most calves, and so embarrassing. When I lost my weight, they turned into huge bat wings. Without sleeves, I look like a flying squirrel. And yet, there I was in a room of imperfect bodies, sweating my ass off. I didn’t give it another thought, I took my t-shirt off, bare arms and all. No one noticed my bat wings. No one was looking at anything other than their own reflections as we stretched. I finished my class in my camisole, and I was still so hot.
Walking out of that studio I felt so relaxed, so productive, so healthy, so proud.. So EMPOWERED. The physical aspect of the class made my body feel relaxed and healthy. The pace and tone of the class relaxed my mind. Overcoming my fear of new places had me feeling confident. Taking this yoga class organically provided so many feelings I’ve chased (improperly) for many years. I’ve spent too long being ashamed of my body, feeling like I had to cover it up with fancy clothes and a pound of makeup to feel beautiful- especially on my birthday. Now, I can tell you that it feels much better to love yourself the way you are. Every body has flaws, even when we try to hide them. Instead of focusing on the bad, or trying to hide it, let’s focus on the good. Let’s celebrate what our bodies can do by getting active. I felt more beautiful being myself- sans makeup, sweaty and half naked in a room full of strangers than I’ve ever felt all done-up at a bar.
Don’t be afraid of yoga classes. Don’t be afraid of being a beginner. Everybody has a first day, everyone has to start somewhere. Why not start today?
Yoga or not, I encourage you to love yourself the way you are. Celebrate what you CAN do instead of being upset about what you can’t. Baby steps will still get you to the top of a mountain, even if it takes a little longer.
With healthy hearts,
Kate and the Kids.