Bikram yoga

The website said I should wear a top (sleeveless) and very short shorts, Hahh. Sleeveless. Very short. Do you guys think that I can’t stand a bit of heat? I love summer, even during the most unbearable heatwave I cross to the sunny side of the street to enjoy the light. An hour in 36 C is simply nothing. I could even wear a tracksuit to show those soft people that this is really nothing for me. I ended up packing a short sleeved T-shirt and cotton capris. Cotton is a good idea if you are going to sweat. And they promised a lot of sweat at this bikram yoga class. 38 asanas (poses) and some unearthly state of mind. Getting rid of toxins etc. So I went. After Spinning I had thought I knew everything about sweating, endurance and indoor heat. Hell, I was wrong.

The place was really nice, cosy. A mix of incense smoke and a musky, damp smell lingering in the air. Changing rooms are packed, you need to get changed right where you got a spot to be standing. Yoga mats are provided for the first class, but I was lucky enough to have my own. How professional. In the room people were lying down on their towel-covered mats, eyes closed, meditative atmosphere. Silence. I started to feel that it was going to be slightly warmer than I had expected. Sitting down, I placed my bottle of water next to my mat.

The instructor started the class asking about newbies. I put my hand up. Her advice was to try to stay for the entire 90 (!!!!!) minutes. Why would I have to get out of the room? I asked myself. I got the answer about 20 minutes later. Yoga itself wasn’t new for me. I had been doing it before, quite regularly. In the first quarter an hour I was just paying attention to the instructions as the teacher didn’t practice with us, she was watching and correcting the poses. Then suddenly I was hit by the heat. It was overwhelming, unbearable. I was suffocating and praying for a gasp of fresh air. I managed to keep going, but had to gulp down water every five minutes ( otherwise there are water-breaks, but I had to cheat to survive). The heatwaves kept coming back, every one is worse than the previous. It can’t be under 40 C- I thought. Must be at least 60. Harder than the last round in the sauna ever.

Sweat was dripping down from my forehead, nose, arms, legs, everywhere. Halfway through the class I tore off my T-shirt and felt much better in my sports bra. After about 60 minutes I was confident that I was going to make it. I did, but once almost slipped on my sweat covered mattress.

It was indeed an incredible experience. My bottle of water was gone halfway through the asanas and I drank another 3 bottles later that day.

My head -never before- was sunset-red on the way home. Thank God, it’s winter- I felt relieved leaving the building. I felt dizzy from the dehydration. I should have listened to the advice on the website and drank plenty of water before.

But I made it. And went back in two days. It was much easier than. More focused and smiling. You just have to get through your first class in tropical heat 🙂

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Did you like P.E. classes?

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I didn’t. I just hated them. Every day we had a P.E. class in high school I dreaded the moment we entered the changing room. Especially climbing the rope. That was a skill I never mastered. And sit ups, push ups, cross-country running, jumping and the kind. I always had the feeling that there is something wrong with the system here that girls have to do hard stuff like this.

For a few month I have had a new addiction. It’s called Cross Fit. The training schedule is simple. We do push ups, deadlifts, jumping, running, sit-ups… I love it. So simple, so straightforward. I just have to focus and do it. Amazing how effective it can be. All these movements create a sequence and it just falls into place at once. I tell everyone that they have to try it. You simply will have a fresh attitude to those I-hate-it-so-much exercises because they turn out to be really good for you:)

Glimpse into your lifestyle

There are so many things that define our lifestyle. One of my favorite examples is eating habits. What people eat reveals a lot about them. Not only their taste but their also their choices.

 It has become especially important since the food industry started booming in a way that they offer endless range of products. Before this era people’s nutrition mainly depended on their access to food and the quality that they could afford. Meanwhile nowadays the vast majority of the western world’s society can afford to choose from an uncountable number of relatively cheap products. Instead of eating what serves their lifestyle and daily physical exercise best they go for comfort. Furthermore our taste has been modified by all the process food we have been introduced to in the last decades. Flavors are enhanced so much that we don’t even remember the original tastes. You are what you eat- they say. It means that all those artificial ingredients become part of our body- and existence.

We all know these and have our individual attitude. Some of us are just ignorant, since this is the way the world is set up today. Is it worth all that energy to try to find out what would make you healthy when you have so much to do every day that all that you have time for is to eat something you get access to? Of course most people consider paying more attention to their diet when they have a reason to. Having health problems, which are related to being overweight or undernourished are the most common symptoms that we have to deal with in the 21th century. When an illness makes us think about it we might try to change our eating and exercise routine. And there are plenty of fashionable diet trends to help us. Except that they just make you feel confused. What one recommends, the other one would forbid. The more you learn about healthy lifestyle the more you feel that it’s probably best to enjoy your life and put up with the results of civilization diseases as there is no right way to prevent them. Unless you move into one of those communities where people live for a hundred years by eating sparsely, having no stress, remaining active and being a member of a close community.

 Is there any solution for the right kind of change which anyone can accomplish regardless their age and circumstances? I believe there is. All those diets share one common thing. They generalize people. Either making groups or just give us advice as if we were uniform: here are the steps that you need to follow to become healthy and slim-they all say. But they don’t fit everybody. As I mentioned at the beginning- we all have our taste, our approach and our body works in its own, unique way. I think we should respect that. This way it becomes much easier to understand how we can be good to ourselves. By listening to the responses that our body gives to the way we treat it. This is how we can create our own custom- made diet. Listening to your body is fundamental to learn how to improve its performance. This may sound complicated, but a guide can make it easier for you.

Let’s go jogging

First time I went running was on a summer holiday. I was staying at my cousins’ family in New York. My aunt is a good cook, there was food everywhere I looked and I didn’t want to put on weight and decided that some exercise would help.

So, I thought, I might as well try running. It can’t be that hard, I saw runners in the parks,  it’s something that everyone can do, plus it’s handy. You don’t need any special equipment either. There was a park nearby- actually they were living in the middle of a park, I just had to walk out from the building. Which I did at about  9 in the morning. I started jogging very slowly. I jogged around a playground, passed a few squirrels. It was very nice for about 5 minutes. Then I felt like stopping and sitting down on the grass. My calves started to hurt and I just wanted to head back. There were other joggers around who seemed to take it seriously and I felt quite stupid being so lazy. I kept going and after some time which felt like ages I turned back home.

Stepping into the apartment I felt incredibly proud. I really did it, now it’s official. I’m a runner.

 

Standing In Line at the Cashier

Standing in line at the cashier there was a young woman in front of me, who had long hair, pale, acne-prone skin and was slightly overweight. I tried to guess what kind of things she was getting and checking out her basket I saw some frozen fries, frozen nuggets, white toast bread,  ham, fizzy drinks, and some sweets. Our great-grandmothers wouldn’t have found anything edible in that selection.

I also see a lot of women in offices, who are trying to lose weight by following different diets. There are so many- from the low-carb to the caveman style. Depending which one appeals to them, they do one after another for a while. However I have met only one of them who started thinking about a change in her cooking style to find her own healthy diet. What I really like is that she is doing it learning how to achieve her goals by implementing recommendations to create her own diet.

I need to look good for the bikini-season or a party and I am trying this new diet or go to the gym twice a week or take fat-burning pills or have a treatment which kills cellulite without any exercise. The list is endless and probably sounds familiar. I just don’t know anyone who accomplished long-term results by any of these. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t met them, or maybe because the way to get what you want is different. Maybe it’s an ancient secret that has been there for thousands of years.

Maybe it’s something that you have always been able to do, just haven’t been practicing for so many years, like riding the bike. But it doesn’t mean that you have forgotten how to do it.

Why do I think that your appearance, your weight, your level of fitness are important? Why am I talking about diet and exercise as ways of improving the quality of life? Because by gradually changing these there are positive side-effects: you are building self-respect and learn how to teach yourself other things.

What is this method then which is a fundamental skill to learn and use?

It’s simply the way to remember how to work with your body and not against it.

This is what we were all doing when we were babies, and little children. So  it must have been fairly easy.