Last Tuesday was the hottest day in South Florida for nearly 5 years! I went outside and thought, “Wow that’s refreshing!” I haven’t gone crazy, but I have picked up Bikram Yoga. Its nickname is hot yoga because you practice it in a room that’s 105 degrees (making our 98 degrees in West Palm Beach on Tuesday feel chilly).
I’ve never done yoga before, so naturally I decided to start with the most punishing version of it. Each class runs for 90 minutes as you work through 26 muscle and mind bending poses. It’s tough! In fact one instructor told me, “If you enjoy this workout there is something wrong with you.”
Despite the warnings, my only true fear was being the only man in the class. Boy was I wrong with that assumption. In each class there have been a handful of men, but women usually outnumber the guys 4 to 1. During my first class a fellow compatriot told me to take it easy since men can’t bend the same way as women. I soon found out he was speaking the painful truth. I attended another class where the instructor was a man. He proudly told me after class that men have it a lot harder than women during yoga. I loved the comment, but the ladies nearby did not!
During my first class I focused on just staying in the room and not passing out from the heat. After my second class I had to go to work and anchor 3 newscasts. I swear I didn’t make sense the entire night. Later, I asked if it was normal to be exhausted after a Bikram workout. I was told by two fit yogies, “Yoga is the only exercise that gives you energy instead of taking it away. You must not be focusing on your breathing.” I said, “Breathing!?! I’m focusing on not getting heat stroke.”
I didn’t give up. I’ve taken a few more classes and I am feeling energized afterwards. I sleep better, but best of all I handle my stress a lot better. Despite the benefits, during a hot yoga class I always think this is torture. The two fit yogies wouldn’t admit it, but I bet they think the same thing.
Eric Roby CBS12 News Anchor West Palm Beach