Cooling off and heating up

While the temperature outside has been considerably (and surprisingly) cooler than usual in the past couple of weeks, my activities have been bringing the heat.

If you read my last few posts, you know I’ve been in the kitchen making some bread from scratch. It’s really been an adventure so far. The author of the bread cookbook I’ve been using also has a great blog that is helpful. I’ve made cinnamon rolls, challah bread, white bread, wheat bread and (our favorite) focaccia bread from scratch – and without a blender, all by hand! Spending hours in the kitchen with our gas stove definitely got hot, but that was nothing compared to what I did this weekend. I actually voluntarily went into a super hot room and exercised – those of you who know me will know how unbelievable that is.

Bikram Choudhury, founder of Bikram yoga

It’s called Bikram Yoga. Basically, it’s a form of yoga where you do a series of poses in 105F degree heat. I knew that it did not sound my cup of tea from the get-go, but I also knew I have been having horrible shoulder and neck pain for over a year that will no go away. I have tried muscle relaxers and massages, and I have been popping Advil (PM) every day (and night) for the past year like they were candy. The point behind this heated-up yoga is basically that the muscles stretch better when warm, so I thought this could help.

I do not have a conclusion to this experiment yet, only the experience. When I first walked into the building (at Yoga 108 in Uptown), I immediately realized that it was about 10 degrees hotter inside than the cool 75F outside. And I immediately did not like that lol. It also smelled a little funny…not really horrible, just…off. Then I went to the back yoga room, where the heat was pumping in like a garage with a dryer vent in it. The yoga is a 90-minute series of 26 postures that are the same every single class, everywhere in the world.

[Side note: Coincidentally, this is kind of the reason I love Catholicism and am really inclined to like this new yoga. I love how no matter where you go in the world, the practice is the exact same – just like in the Catholic church, no matter what country you are in the readings are the same. Something you can do repeatedly until it becomes second nature. That is very me – not a fan of change and more comfortable with something when I knew what is coming next.]

Anyways, about 5 minutes in, all we had done was a breathing exercise and I was already sweating my ass off. I could feel waves of heat coming from somewhere above and falling over me, which made simple breathing a difficult task. Not to mention the terrifying sound of everyone’s exhaling. If you have been to Bikram classes, perhaps you know what I’m talking about. As this was my first one, I can only assume they are all like this. Basically, the very first thing in the class was a breathing exercise. When it came time to exhale, everyone in the class threw back their heads and made an awful, demon-like hissing sound. It definitely startled me and maybe that has set my mindset forever, but whenever I heard them all exhaling for the rest of the class I couldn’t help but be a little weirded-out.

I liked the class overall, and the heat actually did not get to me as bad as I thought it would. It really helped that the teacher opened the door a few times to let the cool air from the front office wash over us for a few seconds (you remember, the cool air that was 10 degrees hotter than outside.)

Anyways, by the time I left I was covered in more sweat than I thought my body capable of making. Twenty-four hours later, I can say that I think it might be the beginning of something that could help my shoulders/back in the long run. I can feel my muscles hurting a little in odd places – which the teacher said was normal. I also noticed that my face and body stayed flushed for hours after the class…I don’t know if that is normal from increased blood flood or something, but it was weird. It didn’t hurt or anything, but I kind of looked like I had gotten sun.

Kitten in her Gator gear

In other news, Gator Club has been going well – I’ve been meeting a lot of new people in the area. I also heard about this great website that I’m obsessed with: Gameday Stylist – for the Gator who wants to dress in orange and blue every day but not look weird. Work’s been good too – I went to a mock school shooting last Friday that was really intense. And of course, K’lil has been keeping it real with the Gators!


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Filed under New Orleans, Random praises and condemnations

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