I broke my vow to myself… I find myself again at Bikram… I hated to admit it, but after the first class, I took a two hour nap and felt like I had slept for ten hours and had more energy (with the exception of phentermine-induced energy) than I could remember in years.
I go in, excited to have Bikram appropriate clothing, having gone shopping after the last class. By Bikram-appropriate clothing I mean lack thereof. I’m donning my new coral sports bra and matching booty shorts and feeling underdressed for the set of a rap video. I look cute… since a lot of class involves staring in the mirror, I’m excited about my new outfit’s role in engaging in my favorite hobby: staring at myself in a mirror. Now I see why this is so addictive.
Okay… here we go again with the crazy breathing… I can’t help but wonder How do they make that god-awful noise? Now that I know the drill I start listening to Bikram’s trademarked dialogue and wonder where he got his bizarre analogies: A Japanese ham sandwich? Who wants to look like a Japanese ham sandwich? How is a Japanese ham sandwich different than an American ham sandwich? And in what way do we look like ham sandwiches? We look like sweaty half-naked people… more like 80% naked… people with our heads below our knees. They should just call it naked yoga; that would increase class rosters immediately.
Today’s instructor, Frank, calls out for us to “go back,reach back, lean back, waaaay back, fall back” and I mentally respond f-that. All this way-back leaning-back in heat in making me dizzy and nauseous… I’m seeing distinctly purple spots. “Look at the mountains behind you. Put your weight on your heels.” Mountainswhat mountains? There are purple blobs. I guess those would be the mountains if my vision would clear. Calling attention to the mountains reminds me that we are in Vegas and adds to my mental chastisement for the utterly ridiculous notion that I am intentionally subjecting myself to heat in Vegas. Clever.This would be great in… London. I would do a 60-Day Bikram Challenge if I lived in London. Time to return to default pose of squatting with my head over my heart until I can see again. The nausea subsides… slowly… and then immediately returns.
As we make our from Tree Pose into a Toe Stand, I watch the Rastafarian-looking guy in front of me with waterfalls of sweat cascading from his dreads. And he doesn’t flinch a bit. Or wipe with a towel. What is wrong with these people? The man just produced enough sweat to provide water to a small village and didn’t flinch. And there I go. I fall out of my toe stand, finally succumbing to the dizziness. I’m going to be sick. Maybe I’m pregnant. Would that even be healthy? What if I am and Bikram causes severe birth defects? I should Google that. Oh well, like any proper writer, I drink enough to drown Liza Minnelli, so I couldn’t damage the imaginary baby more.
In our first savasana, I can’t help but notice copper rivulets running down my body… that’s bizarre… who ever heard of copper sweat? Maybe this is giving me some kind of internal defect… as we do our Bikram sit-up I have a moment of startling clarity: I am sweating out my Mystic Tan. Great. I’ll probably look like a Cullen by the time class is over. So much for my coral sports bra. And my good towel. Can you sweat out saline too? I hope not. Anything seems possible in Bikram. My lifelong quest to look like Donatella Versace has been abruptly abated as I see my tan flowing to my towel with increasing rapidity.
I’m reminded to be “present” in the room. Who could be present when they’re worried about internal chemical leaks and deformed Bikram babies? Or worse, being pale? Wow, looking at myself in the mirror is much less fun than it was at the beginning of class; I resemble a less put-together version of Courtney Love.
Finding the dressing room at the end and removing the remainder of my now splotched tan, I have the most startling site of my life: real people naked. Having spent the majority of my illustrious custom clothing and costume design career designing for “cabaret entertainers” and feature dancers, I haven’t seen “real” people naked since gym class in high school… and I guess designing clothes for girls in the Texas panhandle. I am deeply scarred. I bolt from the changing room, dressing as I run. I grab my husband and whisper in an eerie Sixth Sense tone “I see real boobs.” “Do what baby?” “We have to go now. I just saw real people naked.” Note to self: do not linger in dressing room.
Having sweat out my tan and toxins, it’s time for an emergency tan and an emergency bottle of Riesling. If I linger at the tanning salon, it will be at least noon by the time I get home.