To celebrate the end of the summer semester, we went to a Bikram Yoga class this morning. I've attended yoga classes in the past, but if you don't know, Bikram's is a little bit different. It's yoga done in a hot, humid room.
My experience was a good one, but in all honesty, I'm not feeling so great right now. I'm light-headed and have a bit of a headache. My body is a bit sore and even though I've downed a lot of water, I still feel a bit dehydrated. As for the actual class, even though it was difficult, it was fun. And interesting.
What I really liked about it was lack of self-consciousness in the room. When we first went in there, I saw people in various states of undress and was a bit shocked. While I'm not a prude (pertaining to other people), I am shy. I rarely wear shorts and am not exactly adventurous in my clothing choices. These people were there for the yoga and screw what anyone thought. People in bathing suits, people in spandex, people in shorts and a bra. About halfway into the class, I understood. Just do the yoga, forget what goes on around you. Ha, I was almost close to taking my shirt off (I didn't). Next time, I'll be wearing shorts and a sleeveless shirt, at the very least.
I think yoga is great in that it connects people in what seems to be a non-judgemental way. I'm sure in some of the more upscale settings, this isn't the case, but where I did it, it definitely was. It's in direct opposition to what I see at the local gym. There, people are being checked out, gawked at and are flaunting around. Here, people were just doing yoga. It was very cool.
In an attempt to connect this to practice, I present to you Yoga Outreach. This organization does inreach work at prisons and teaches yoga to people who are incarcerated. It has expanded its service to include outreach to many different organizations in an attempt to reach people that would probably not otherwise have ever attempted yoga. Sitting in that room today, I thought of all those that have been ignored or oppressed, and what good it would be for them to sit in this room, do yoga and not be judged.
So will I go back? Well, I did pay for the introductory week, so yes, I will. After that, I'm not so sure. While I'd love to keep doing it, it's quite a big chunk of cash to lay out each month on a student's budget. I would recommend it, though, as it was definitely an experience worth doing.