Monday, January 28, 2013

Spring Cleaning and Bikram Yoga

You may be scratching your head and wondering how those two things can go together, but in the World of Erin there are many such strange pairs of things. In this case there is a natural parallel to these two things. 
It is nearly the end of January and though there is snow on the ground where I am, it is mostly melted in other spots and very soon we will be blessed with snowdrops (the flowers, not the flakes) crocuses, and daffodils outside. The arrival of the warmer temperatures and the longer and longer days (hooray!) puts thoughts to the projects outside and the cleaning and, well, airing out, that needs to be done inside after a long winter of closed doors and windows and recirculated heat and air.
My home is not overly dirty, but it is dusty with ash (a natural by-product from my wood stove) and since I have a forced-air furnace, there is also circulation of that ash and dust to all of the other rooms. In short, the house needs a damn good airing out and cleaning – but that won’t be tackled until the snow is gone and I have a warm (ok, I’ll settle for warm-ish – even 10*C would do!) day with sunshine outside to inspire open windows.
That will also, most likely, be the day that all of the window screens get a wash and get re-installed and that the front door screen gets put back on. 
Note to self, I seriously needs to wash all of my windows – so I will need to get my hands on a proper window squeegee (that would be an awesome scrabble word!!) and a decent (read: safe) ladder…
Spring cleaning is meant to let all of winter’s miasma and stale air out of the home, and to bring in the fresh clean joy of spring – along with clean new air.
To me, Bikram Yoga is like spring cleaning for the body, mind and soul.
A quick little bit of background: Bikram (or hot) yoga is a series of 26 Hatha Yoga positions and two breathing exercises that are practiced over the course of an hour and a half in a room that has been heated to a (stinking hot) temperature of 40*C with an approximate humidity measurement of 40%. In short, it is yoga done in a hot sweaty hell. The thought of practicing something I love (yoga) in temperatures that I hate (hot sweaty hell) wasn’t appealing to me at all – but I have a number of friends who have tried it and they swear by the benefits of it.
I did MUCH personal research before attending my very first Bikram Yoga class at Bikram Yoga Comox Valley. Bikram Yoga allows you to get the most out of your usual yoga practice. Since you are not starting from a “cold” position, your muscles loosen up much more quickly and you are less likely to injure yourself. There are some offsetting risks that need to be considered – Bikram Yoga practice can be dangerous for those with heart and/or blood pressure problems and there is, of course, a serious risk of dehydration – so being well hydrated before attending a class is a must. I have taken two bottles of water in with me – one to sip while in practice and one to guzzle when done. The need for water and electrolyte replacement is understandable when you realize just how much sweat can come out of your body during practice.
My first class was an awesome experience – I hadn’t taken a yoga class for roughly 3 years – I was on the Island of Jersey for my last class! I went with one of my girlfriends who had been to classes previously and I was way at the back of the room where, with my glasses off, I could look to the postures of the people around me so that I could adjust accordingly. The instructor (David Milanovich, also one of the owners) kept his eye out for me and made certain I was OK throughout the class – and in a room filled with 40+ regular participants, his attention to the detail of each student’s practice impressed me.
All in all, I had an amazing first experience with Bikram and promised myself that, when I could afford it (it is rather expensive) I would be back.
November of this year rolled around and - Woo Hoo – Island Daily Deals had a week special for Bikram Yoga Comox Valley – one week unlimited!! I bought my pass, planning to use it during my week of vacation in early December.
Well, I have been sick every month for the last three months – so that pass has been waiting and waiting for me to use it before it expires… I FINALLY made it in yesterday for the first of the three classes I will be able to attend this week. It was GREAT. I sweated out a ton of toxins, I am certain, and had loads of excess energy for the rest of my day. I am a little stiff this morning, but will be attending another class tonight and that should, hopefully, drain out some of that stiffness. I will be attending another class on Wednesday night and then my week pass will be kaput because none of the other classes offered through the week are ones I can attend because of my work schedule.
One of my dear friends, who also practices Bikram Yoga here in the Comox Valley attended a charity auction before Christmas with some friends – and one of her friends won a 10-pass gift certificate to the studio. That friend, knowing my friend practices, gave her the certificate – and since she and her husband already have their classes bought, she gave the gift certificate to me! So once I finish out this week, I can pare down to two classes a week for the next 10 weeks!
Next week I am seeing a Naturopath for the first time... I am seeing her to find ways to boost my immune system and general overall health so that I am NOT sick every month for another three months - so this spring I am looking forward to spring cleaning my home, my yard, AND my self.

With love across the waters,

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