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Bikram galore

Have I mentioned that every winter, I do a spurt of bikram yoga? It’s become a sort of tradition, when the bitter coldness of the Scandinavian winter becomes too much to bear. I retreat into the deep warmth of a mirror-lined cocoon where sweat drips from my every pore for 90 intense minutes.

my sweat-soaked towel at the end of class

I have a love-hate relationship with bikram yoga. I’m in the middle of a month-long spurt now, and am part counting down the days until it’s over, part wishing my last class would never come. 

In the hours leading up to each class, I desperately try to drink as much water as possible. And throughout each class, I play a fantasy of jumping into a cool pool of water – any water – over and over in my mind.

At the end of every bikram class, I’m beat. Beat in a good way, beat in a bad way – in either state, moving is a great effort, at least for a little while. I drag myself out of the studio and sit on the cool floor letting what feels like cold air (read: normal room temperature) surround me. It’s probably a breeding ground for getting a cold, letting my sweat turn so quickly, but there’s really no alternative if I ever want to leave the yoga studio.

With recovery and showering, it usually takes me about half an hour before I leave, but my face remains beet-red for at least another hour. I like to think of it as a healthy glow, but beneath my clothes is also a whole lot of “after sweat.” No matter how cold of a shower I take and how slowly I try to get ready, each layer of clothing must be peeled on over rising sweat. How can there be any left? I wonder in vain. There always is.

I love the sweat and I love how I feel after a good class. But I look forward to not spending so much time preparing for, doing, and recovering from bikram. And so, the end of my month comes just in time… until next winter, Namaste!

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