Monday, August 03, 2009

The Deep end of the ocean.

Thats what going to Bikrams today felt like. Getting dropped into the deep end of an ocean, an hour and half from shore( if you can swim well) and knowing there is nothing to do but start swimming and not stop til your reach the shore.

Of course you can drown( Bikram I guess likes to say that: " just die Honey, just die' when someone bitches about feeling like they are dying in class. Of course he means the small "self" not the body, but thats another story) but that's not really an option.

It seems like we got there with enough time to stretch a bit but as soon as I had changed the gong sounded the begining of class and that was that.

Man it's weird wanting to warm up for hot yoga class but no one has ever accused me of NOT being weird, so there ya go.

AS far as how Bikrams has been for me the last nine months I would say i have been going forwards by going backwards. Starting over, if you will. I had pushed many of the postures as far as I could, not really cheating but pushing the edge of the training, trying, as I am admonished to do, go "beyond the edge of my flexbility". Didnt work out too well and I had some serious back issues for awhile.

As usual I have to do things my way and once I started approaching the training as I do everything else it started to come around.So I went back to the origins of each pose and made sure I could do the easiest version of what I was trying to accomplish right first before progressing any further and it helped quite a lot.

I adapted pretty well to the heat and the cardio requirements but Bikrams for me is as much about the head, and my concentration as it is anything and that was really really really tough many many days.

But the desire to get in there and sweat the poisons out, to force myself, with the help of my incredible wife and her insanely strong practice, the instructor( no matter how bad) and the group energy to make it all the way back into shore each session really added up.

It became MY practice, not just Bikrams and I felt very comfortable just 'stretching' out some days and not trying to 'kill myself'.

Hey, just surviving each class is a freaking victory, the heat and the 26 postures make sure of that. Especially with my physical restrictions, EVERY pose is hard.Even the 'easy' ones,lol

But the few weeks where I didnt go 2-3 times and just made one class I could really tell the difference. there is a HUGE cardiovascular component to Bikrams and just like everything else the more you do the easier it gets. SO I really noticed NOT sweating it out enough on those weeks.ANd it made me want to get back in and get my heat adaptation strong again. AS well as my mind training.

Cause there is no where to run and no where to hide in those damn classes. At least for me cause I am NOT sitting out poses just cause I'm tired. Just won't happen. SO I just have to keep swimming towards the shore and I know each stroke makes me stronger in some way, even though it looks like I am flailing. I am still swimming, and that's the point.

SO today was hard,especially after the last two classes were the strongest I have ever been, on every level: concentration, balance, breath control, key positions,even flexibility, lol.But you just have to do what you can with the body that shows up that day, as they say and that's just what I did.

As I said, consistency trumps intensity every time. One more class done, lots more to go and snatch vo2 with my honey tomorrow. THEN I can drink some wine, lol.



Doug said...

Glad you're back Mark! Hope all is well.


Mark Reifkind said...

thanks man,good to have you stop by.

Tom, Healy, RKC said...

That's the great thing about Bikram, once it starts there IS no easy way out! Similar to Max Vo2. It has a beginning and an end, all you have to do is focus on the middle...

Mark Reifkind said...

Hey Tom

yes, VERY ( too) similar to snatch vo2
once you're in, you're in for the duration. not to mention I sweat just about as much doing max as I do Bikrams
thanks for commenting.

Dennis said...

"But you just have to do what you can with the body that shows up that day, as they say and that's just what I did."

Man I love that..and I'm saving the quote.

Just found your blog...good stuff, welcome back to it.

mablak2 said...

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. (me stopping holding my breath)

Rif, I protested by holding my breath until you came back;)

Man, is it nice knowing the exercise "voice of reason" is back on the waves. Has been too long.

Mark Reifkind said...


wow, you must have some lungs! holding your breath for nine months, thats a committment,lol. thanks for the kind words man, hope it was worth the wait.
and, if I'm the voice of reason thats a very very scary thing :))

Mark Reifkind said...


I stole that quote from a yoga instructor so you can steal it from me,lol. it is so true.thanks for reading and commenting.

Victoria B said...

Ok I get it! Great post. Glad to see you're "back". I will be too! No, Really!

Mark Reifkind said...

Good Victoria,

I know you will. absolutely.

thanks for stopping by and commenting.