It was a year ago today that I finally decided to see what my friend Laura had been raving about for the previous 6 months. I was once again having to take a break from the run so I decided to join her for a class. We met at Bikram Yoga Durham where she introduced me to the teacher for that first class, Adrian LoMonaco. We went into the studio about 15 minutes before class and it was 107F. I was not feeling very confident ! My only exposure to hot yoga was a fast paced 45 minute Vinyasa class 3 years before and I thought I was going to die and had no interest in going back.
Somehow I made it through that first class with just a couple of short breaks and afterwards I was ready to go through with the two week introductory plan. I surely had no idea that i would still be going an average of 4 classes per week a year later.
For those of you unfamiliar with Bikram Hot yoga. , it is a 90 minute session in a room that on average is about 105F and 45% humidity. Every class is always the same beginning with a breathing exercise to warm up. It is followed by a sequence of 26 postures done in 2 sets each that never varies. Class ends with another breathing exercise and savasana.
After a year I still struggle with some of the postures but the key is to have a consistent practice and you still get the benefits. Over this period of time I have seen great results in improved posture and stability which has been a major factor in keeping me injury free over the past year. It has also helped my running by helping to extend my stride thanks to more flexibility, especially in my hip flexors.
I don't expect I will ever master some of the poses and although I see some improvement in my flexibility I will not ever be the rubber band type of yogi but I'm ok with that. Its enough that I am seeing so much improvement with my overall physical and emotional health and I have been welcomed into a new community of wonderful people. I'll always be a runner first but i expect this will be a part of my life from now on. I have even began to add some extra work at least 5 days a week now at home or the gym.
Thank You Laura for getting me into this. now if you would just start back running with me every now and then !