Ah. My soapbox that is this blog delights me at times with its convenience. It is so utterly mine and though the egocentrism of blasting my opinions willy nilly through cyber-space is hard to deny, I love especially for the chance to air my grievances, uninterrupted.
You know by now that I’m a lover of Bikram yoga and that I practise it regularly for both fitness and for staying pain-free. I love it in a thousand different ways. However, because it is the silent place of the no-talking rule, etiquette can be a tricky thing to disseminate. I’ll help you, o Bikram Newbie. Let me show you the way to annoy those sweating beside you as little as is possible, shall I?
Rule # 1 Don’t talk in the studio. For real. Don’t do it, even when you see your friend and just need to whisper something quickly to her. Most of us cherish this silence in the middle of our busy and noisy lives and this silence is precious to us. This leads me to Rule # 2
… Do your very best to avoid the indelicate expulsion of dankly intestinal air. I assure you that each of us will hear it and will feel less than enchanted with you as we do. There’s something particularly nasty about farting in a humid room heated to 112 degrees. There’s no humor to be found here in this barren land, my gassy friends.
Rule # 3 Don’t grunt aloud. We all know it’s hard you see, because we’re here too. But you’ll hear the instructor’s melodic voice tell you over and over again to breathe both in and out with your nose. Huge gasping expulsions of air only mean you’ve been holding your breath in the postures, which isn’t good. Breathe slowly and consistently and focus on using only your nose to do so. Your breath is something you can control and your goal is to do it silently.
Rule # 4 Wash your towels and workout gear as soon as possible when you get home or they will mildew and stink once re-dampened. You’ll know when you haven’t been exercising your best laundress skills when you’ve begun to sweat and then smell this stink that I speak of. Once mildew has struck and reared its ugly head, bleach your white towels and soak your dark ones in vinegar before running them through a good, hot wash. Nothing else will counteract this stink until you do so. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that because when they’re dry and smelling nice, they’re all good. They’re not. They’ll stink once more once they’re damp and what’s more, you stink and I assure you that room is too hot for stink. See Rule # 2 for further elaboration if necessary.
Rule # 5 If you can’t continue on in a pose because it feels impossible or you feel dizzy or nauseated, know that it’s ok to lie down in the middle of it in Savasana, or Corpse Pose. We’ve all been there, even if no one is doing it in the class you’re currently in. No one thinks less of you when you do this; we understand and think that the coolest thing of all will be when we see you later in a subsequent class.
Rule # 6 Don’t wear your bra in class in lieu of fitness gear. I’m kind of amazed that I need to say so, but there we have it. It takes all sorts to make the world go around. We all know that it’s a bra and that’s distracting and weird.
Rule # 7 This one is courtesy of my dear friend who emphasizes that you really MUST keep your sweat to within the parameters of your own towel. No sweat flicks please.
Rule # 8 Save your garlic and onion laden meals for AFTER yoga. Or for after any public exchanges you may have scheduled. Mysteriously or perhaps not so much, you’ll find your friends invite you to more and more things once you’ve incorporated this habit change. There is something particularly noxious about garlic Bikram. And sick Bikram. Which leads me to my final Rule.
Rule # 9 Stay home if you’re sick. My insightful (and very attractive) friend says this: If your body is harboring a virus, coughing and sneezing in a sealed off room is just mean to the 25 people in there with you who cannot escape breathing in your germs. Every time someone coughs, I think of the humidity in the air carrying little germ particles until I breathe it in! Ick!
Am I forgetting anything, Bikram devotees? Please chime in with your comments. And please feel free to pass this link along to whoever you feel may benefit from it. I’m not a passionate copyright-er and if this post makes your Bikram experience more pleasant or less malodorous in your little corner of the world, then by all means hit share. And if you haven’t tried Bikram yet, what on earth are you waiting for?!