Just an ordinary Black Girl Doing Bikram Yoga (2)
(Or…My First, My Last & Anything Else!!??)
Yep, ladies and gentlemen you can tell that I was born in a particular era when the reference for this blog comes (partly) from the musings of the wonderful Barry White. I bet I’m the first person to have linked the Walrus of Love that is Mr. White to a session of Bikram Yoga! People do say though that when you’re doing Bikram Yoga, it evokes some very emotive feelings, both physically & mentally. Well, for me the first class I did had a heat to replicate a Caribbean beach; the last, was that I knew it wasn’t going to be the only session I would do of this bizarre & idiotically crazy extreme sport & the anything else I encountered was when my head kept playing Barry’s tune in my head,
“I know there’s only one, only one like you.”
It was a yoga that was nothing like anything I’d ever experienced before, although I have since done many more Bikram-esque types of yoga out there.
Perhaps it was that yoga high that everyone always talks about, I dunno, but let me tell you it was flippin’ brilliant in a cathartic sort of way. Now I really sound like some middle-aged yoga hippy!
One thing I was glad of is that we didn’t have to chant. There’s nothing worse for me than having to create noises which don’t seem as though they’re naturally created by the human body. Everything from burping whether it’s from the top part of your body or the bottom end comes into a category of noises you shouldn’t make in public! Chanting for me comes a close second to this.
My aversion to chanting began when I first tried yoga way back in (I’m not telling you when!) some church hall in Streatham, South London. I should have taken the hint that something like chanting was about to happen; we were in a church hall after all.
But no, they had to go there.
The class began with us doing some warm-up exercises on our mats & then the instructor told us to close our eyes. Before I knew it, I was trying to produce noises that sounded as if I was cleaning out a sink blocked with all kinds of disgusting gunk! Then I got yoga shamed when he walked over to me & I roughly remember him saying something along the lines of;
“Darling if you let it flow naturally through your Vishuddha chakra & not force things, you will produce a sound more natural to your inner goddess that’s trying to get out.”
In other words, you ain’t doing it right!
Embarrassed, I felt as hot as a Bikram blast of air. I wanted so badly to “chak-his-ra’s” (with my West Indian accent changing the “ra” into something closer to what I really wanted to say) but instead I finished the class & never went back again.
My Last… & Past Sessions
There are however some vocal Bikram Yoga moments which are a bit like chanting & I can (just about) do them without heading for the hills.
The Deep Standing Breathing Exercise (Pranayama Series) & the Blowing in Firm Pose (Kapalbhati in Vajrasana) are postures that you do at the beginning & the end of the sessions.
With the Deep Standing Breathing, you have to breathe as if you are about to bring up the biggest amount of something you can cough up from your respiratory tract…but hold back on the stuff, just produce the noise & then you’re there.
BTW: I have no idea why yoga instructors feel the need (especially in Bikram) to say in a session, the pose in English as well as Sanskrit (the ancient meaning of what the poses are).
I think it’s really time-consuming, strange to hear & a bit poncey! I have heard it said in a variety of ways, which bugs me almost as much as when I heard a newsreader the other day say the word plastic, with too much emphasis on certain syllables, so it became “plahhstic.” Why??
I have written them in this blog so you can have an idea of what I’m getting at. But I promise you, they will NOT appear in another blog I write.
In the Blowing in Firm Pose (Sounds rude, doesn’t it?!) at the end, most instructors tell you to imagine you’re blowing out the candles on a cake. All I can say is at this stage in the session, if you can find the breath to imagine any of this, then you’re doing better than most.
And Anything Else!!
Every time I do Bikram there ALWAYS seems to be a BGDB (Black Gal Doing Bikram) moment that happens a lot as a black girl.
I went into my first session thinking & feeling I looked like this…
But when I finished & glimpsed myself in the mirror afterwards, I definitely looked more like this!!
Eddie Murphy’s Buckwheat character was more a realistic vision of me after my first Bikram yoga session!!
But I’ll let you know how I’m managing to survive the BGDB/Buckwheat hair thing next time I write.
Credit: Barry White – My First, My Last, My Everything. Songwriters: White Barry Eugene; Radcliffe Peter Sterling; Sepe Anthony J/music Royalty Published by SUPER SONGS UNLIMITED;UNICHAPPELL MUSIC, INC.;WORLD SONG PUBLISHING, INC.;MY BABY’S MUSIC COMPANY; SA-VETTE MUSIC CO). Website: http://www.metrolyrics.com
Copyright: SJS 2016