Biking vs. Bikram

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“What was I thinking?!” 

A while ago – I came up with the hair brained idea that my parents, brother and I should bike 25 miles along the coast of New Jersey on behalf of the National MS Foundation, which is an amazing charity that funds research, programs and support for people and families effected by MS. 

While MS Research is a cause very near and dear to our hearts, biking 25 miles is not. 

My parents have been riding semi-regularly for over the last year or so – each of them purchasing their own bikes and fancy-schmancy bike bags. But “riding” is a relative term – they’re casual riders; we’re talking 10 mile rides, around 14 miles per hour, with lots of photo opportunities. 

I don’t ride. 

I take that back – I do own an 80lb mountain bike that I take out occasionally to ride to the bank or the train station… both of which are about 1 mile from my apartment. 

Nevertheless – we decided that 1 week after my dad’s 60th birthday – we’d do this ride. 

GO TEAM! 

With the generous donations of family and friends, we raised over $600 MS, and packed up our bags on Friday to head to Monmouth, NJ. Before I left, my biker-boss (who has ridden almost 500 miles since January) asked; 

Him: Do you have bike gloves?

Me: … nope… 

Him: Do you have bike shorts? 

Me:… … nope…. 
Him: Do you at least have a padded bike seat?! 

Me:….. …….

Probably should have at least invested in that one. 

Saturday dawned cloudy and cool – making me long for my 105 degree sweat lodge in New York.  Like the troopers we convinced ourselves we were, we took off at 9am amongst a pack of enthusiastic riders along the Jersey shore. 

Beautiful houses and stretches of beaches were calling to me as I churned my sweating legs up and down and up and down and OMG WHY AM I RIDING A MOUNTAIN BIKE?!

I kid. 

The 25 miles was relatively flat – and the halfway mark offered fresh fruit, power bars and water to refuel for the ride home. 

Biking is sort of like running – (or so I’m told) – you sort of get into a “groove”, and just keep going. Read: the soreness doesn’t kick in until later. 

And yes – we all got medals 🙂 

Image

I had warned my Bikram studio not to expect much from me on Sunday – I told them I was biking, and they told me I was crazy. 

They were right. 

My tush was screaming, the inside of my left thing felt like a crusty rubber band and I was chugging coconut water like it was my life blood. 

I made it through the class – sweating like a nut, and yes, for the first time in a long time, sitting out Tulandasana and second set of Triangle. 

Totally worth it and all that – but if I had to pick – 

Biking: 1 

Bikram: 0 

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In Today’s “Obvious World News” : Bikram Yoga is Hot

Love & Life, Yoga

Bikram yoga is hot.

Very Hot. Ghost Pepper Hot. Florida in August hot.

Part of my 2013 New Years Resolution (which I swear I’m actually going to keep) is to do the Bikram 30 Day Challenge. Which (obviously) is completing 30 consecutive days of Bikram yoga. And if you’ve never done Bikram, it seems fairly easy. You may think, “People go to the gym for 30 days all the time!” (For an example – please see any topless Ryan Gosling photos).

However – Bikram is not the same. At all.

First, it’s 90 minutes – which is longer than most folks go to the gym. And it’s 105 DEGREES with 90% HUMIDITY. Do you know what that means? That means your body is crying sweat the moment you walk in the door. Your body looks like you swam the English channel about 5 minutes into the class. I bring 2 (count ’em, 2!) towels.

And then, there are the positions themselves. Have you ever tried to touch your nose to your knee, while standing, with your legs at a 90 degree angle?

I have.

I can’t do it, per say, but I’ve tried.

All that being said, last night, I went to my first Bikram class in about 8 months. I knew what to expect. I drank a lot of water during the day, I didn’t eat anything 2.5 hours before class, and, as mentioned, I brought extra towels. I thought, “I may not be able to do all the postures perfectly, but at least I’ll be able to do the class”

Nope. Not even close.

(What follows is a pretty accurate re-telling of my internal monologue)

Minutes 5- 7 : “Huh – it’s hotter than I remember in here…”

Minutes 7 – 10 : “Maybe I’d better sit this set out”

Minutes 10 – 12 : “What is this tingely sensation in my fingers & hands?!”

Minutes 12 – 15 : (cue wave of nausea)

Minutes 15 – 17 : “Annnnnnnd I’m seeing stars. I should probably leave now…..”

Needless to say, I stumbled my way out of the class room. What a flattering impression I must have made on all my new classmates/yogi. After a 5 minute cool down on the icy tiled floor of the ladies locker room, I decided to go back in. The nausea had passed, and while I was willing to let my fear of public vomiting stop me from going back, my fear of “not being able to do it” wasn’t.

I washed my face, attempted to tame the frizzy mess of hair on my head, and tramped back into the studio.

My yogi gave me 2 thumbs up.

And I’m going back tonight 🙂