Close your eyes, take a deep breath in and imagine pushing your nose deep, deep into your 14-year-old brother’s trainers after he has just come back from a training session. That is it, breathe deeply, in through the nose, out through the nose…….
Welcome to Bikram yoga!
One of the pieces of advice I was given by a previous MdS runner, John Whittaker, was to do Bikram yoga, partly for the stretching and flexibility and partly to get used to the heat. So, off I trotted to the Hot Yoga Centre in Manchester http://www.bikramyogamanchester.co.uk/ to give it a go.
I’ve never really done yoga – except for a few sessions with the lovely Kendra Ryan as we cycled across Africa – usually to the astonishment and delight of a gathered crowd. Not astonished at our prowess, incidentally, just at the sheer lunacy.
Clad in my thinnest running kit, I picked up my mat and towel and went into the yoga hall. The first thing that strikes you is the .
heat which they keep at a toasty 40 degrees.
I lay down to try and get accustomed and then got up as our instructor came in. The first exercise is simply a breathing one, but that is not as simple as it sounds when the air is so hot but it also got me accustomed really quickly and then it was on to the poses.
Well, I am not a natural yogi it has to be said. But the instructions were all really clear and easy to follow and so I was able to make a stab at all the poses. The instructor was great and on it all the time, so you get constant guidance.
The class is 90 minutes long and you go through 26 poses with minimal rest in between. There was, however, a beautiful 2 minutes in the middle where we got to lie on our backs to the mantra: “Nothing else to think about, nothing else to do.”
We were told at the beginning that our aim as newbies was, “not to run out of the room” and I managed that, so all was well. Afterwards I was absolutely shattered and totally drenched in sweat. By the time I got back home to the Peak I was too tired to even eat properly and ended up spilling my dinner all down my dressing gown which I had changed into the minute I got in, groaning quietly. Of course, visitors had to arrive and catch me in my shameful state!
The yoga was great and I definitely do feel a benefit. Who knows, after a few sessions, I may even be able to sit on my feet Japanese Style – something I definitely can NOT do at the moment.