Last week I got a Groupon alert that allowed you to take five Bikram yoga classes for only twenty bucks. Seeing as I’ve always wanted to try this Bikram phenomenon and that the studio was in spitting distance from my apartment, why the heck not try it out? I’ve heard the scary rumors about people dying from heat exhaustion and that it could be pretty intense on your body, but after doing some research and seeing that the reality of it being more beneficial than detrimental, I decided to sign up for my first class and give it a shot.
Let’s back up for a minute so I can explain why I jumped on this yoga mat so eagerly. I, like millions of others in the colder months, suffer from some seasonal depression symptoms and fall into a pattern of overeating, sleeping too much, and drowning out the world around me. I need sun for Pete’s sake! So this year instead of putting on another dress size, curling under three blankets to watch yet another reality television marathon, decided to get up off my tush and do something active. I had already motivated myself to get back into the gym and the results were slowly starting to form, but not quickly enough. I wanted satisfaction from the hard work I was putting in and like a genie in an IPhone, the Groupon appeared and Bikram yoga was about to meet its next contestant.
I went to my first class last week and was greeted by some of the nicest people who had a calm demeanor and made me feel very welcome even though my nerves were shot. I could just see it now, I stand up for warrior pose and slip in a pool of my own sweat and break my hip. Klutz is my middle name, but hopefully today will not be the day I do something dumb. The class is heated to a temperature of 105 degrees with 40% humidity. I’ve seen hotter days growing up in Texas, but working out in this temperature was intense. I made it through most of the series of twenty six poses and two breathing exercises, and when I did feel light-headed; I just lied down and slowed down my breathing. I will tell you that you sweat so much, that you could fill a bucket and then some afterwards. But the best feeling in the world was the next couple hours, and even days. I feel like a new person. My skin is incredibly soft, I have an awareness about my posture when sitting down, and yes, I’ve lost a couple pounds in just a few days. But the real kicker is the fact that I do not want to eat anything unhealthy for my body. I normally have a very healthy diet, but after just one week of yoga, I’ve changed my portion sizes and am a lot more conscious of the foods I’m putting into my body.
I went to lunch at Public House yesterday to chat with my buddy who is the executive chef there, and he sent out this grilled octopus dish with cannellini beans and basil oil. It was light, healthy, and uber-delicious! I truly thought going out to eat was going to be the diet killer (which most of us know is what always happens when we get away from our routine,) but just actually taking the time to tell the chef or waiter your preferences makes all the difference in the world.
Today, it’s still cloudy and gloomy outside, cold and miserable to most but something inside of me wants to leap out of bed, go to Bikram, and start a wonderful day..and end it with a healthy-sized glass of wine of course! Happy eating everyone and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Chitownchef or Instagram @chichef