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Yoga Brain

For the last month, R. and I have been exercising a lot. A lot. And well. It’s the first time since the marathon — hell, it’s the first time since longer ago than that — that I’ve really felt in some kind of decent shape, in an all-around sense: I’ve lost a few nagging pounds that I couldn’t drop, things have stopped wobbling and/or pooching quite as much as they were, I’m starting to see actual muscular definition again, and best of all, nothing hurts. No joint aches, no extremity pain, and only enough muscle soreness to let me know I’ve done something.

We’ve basically alternated days at the gym (which mostly means, for me, time on the elliptical machine) with days of yogalates class. Yogalates, as you might guess, is a blend of yoga and pilates that’s extremely intensive, combining pilates’s focus on core strength with yoga’s investments in flexibility and balance. The classes we go to are taught in a heated room, are an hour long, and move through a varying cycle of exercises and poses that work each muscle group in sequence (not to mention getting your heart rate up and making you sweat like a goat). I walked out after the first eight or so classes I took feeling not unlike cooked spaghetti, completely wrung out and happy though utterly unable to maintain a line of thought for more than a few seconds. It was awesome.

It remains awesome, though (happily for my productivity) less brain-scrambling than it was at the outset. I’m thinking pretty hard these days about how I’m going to maintain this kind of exercise schedule when I get back to Claremont, and particularly to teaching, which has a tendency to eat into every bit of personal time I attempt to reserve for myself. And, in particular, I’m pondering how I’m going to keep something yogalates-like included in my regimen.

There’s a Bikram yoga studio just a few blocks from my condo, and I’m seriously considering going there to check it out when I get home. But I’m got certain kinds of anxieties about Bikram, anxieties that I could stand to have dispelled before I go forward with this. Mostly these concerns have to do with the heat: while the studio I’m now attending is heated, class temperatures generally fall somewhere between 80 and 90 degrees, I think, and I can definitely tell the difference between hotter days and less hot days, and between hotter areas of the room and less hot spots. Generally speaking, hotter = more mashed-potatolike feeling at end of class. So this is why I’m concerned: the Bikram place near me says that its studio is heated to 100 degrees, and that’s a hefty number more degrees. Will there be nausea? Danger of passing out? Brain-deadness?

I’d appreciate any advice. I’m asking in no small part because I need to stop thinking about this already so I can get back to work…


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