January 7, 2012 § 48 Comments
Well, I am still here.
No fainting, no nausea, no Speedos.
I went with my lovely and generous and inspirational friend. It is an oddly intimate experience, being squashed in a hot room with twenty-five or so semi-naked strangers, men and (mostly) women, young and old, sweat lobbing back and forth and a certain amount of grunting. It was not a spiritual experience but I don’t suppose it’s meant to be. Lots of standing or lying about in funny positions. Some of them were strenuous, some were no more so than sitting in an armchair with a cup of tea. So it was, I felt I was at best doing it wrong, at worst doing myself some damage.
Towards the end of the 90 minutes rather too close to a chubby and pasty young man around whose mat puddles of sweat shinily formed, I began to feel, though not to do with him, as though I might be about to feel a bit nauseous so I took it a bit easier. I kept thinking, what is this for, quite? I am not wholly versed in what I am trying to achieve? Strength? Not sure I have much need of physical strength. I can lift all the things that I need to lift (I don’t go anywhere much but when I do, I never take more than a little light hand luggage; the removal men did most of the shunting of boxes when I moved house and, a million books all safely in their shelves, I am not planning on moving anywhere again soon; and I was already strong enough to lift the Christmas tree over my shoulder and lug it home and anyway Christmas isn’t for another year). Toning? I wonder where toning gets a person in life? I am not remotely toned but who notices? Who knows? Who cares? What difference does it make? Is it all about sex?
The Inspiration lost a whole load of weight, which I found inspirational, but he said in the car on the way there that losing weight was a side effect. He was never fat in the first place but has lost a lot and has had to buy complete new sets of clothes. What he has chiefly gained, though, is a calm, a lack of stress, and an extraordinarily tranquil take on life. That is what keeps him going back each day. He is in a very high-powered and revered profession and is one of the best and toppest in this country, possibly in the world. Since he has been doing Bikram – every single day for over a year – nothing fazes him. Professionally, he is going from strength to strength. I look at him and it is true, he is a paragon. His wife teases him and says he is a nutter and an addict but four days ago, she decided, if you can’t beat ’em and all that, and she has taken up Bikram too.
After one session, as someone who has never even seen yoga let alone done it, and who has hated exercise all my life long, I am not there yet. Personally, I don’t get it, though I do get it in the sense of what it has done for the Inspiration. I have seen his astonishing physical transformation with my own eyes, and that of his general demeanour too, so much happier and less stressed. The Inspiration is enough to encourage me to give it a fair crack at the whip, and the fact that I didn’t actively hate it certainly helped.
I’ll do it for the hell of it, and see what happens. It is not going to land me a husband, in Speedos or Speedos-less, but that ain’t the point.
At this point, I am not at all sure what the point is, but out of deep admiration and respect for my generous mentor, the Inspiration, I shall stick at it for a while at least and – who knows? – I may even find out?