Crotch biscuits, as termed by Tina Fey in her book Bossypants (which I clearly need to read), are the wobbly triangles on one’s inner thighs. They are a part of the (typically) female anatomy that most females would rather not have nor discuss. At any rate, the teacher in my Bikram class today said while we were in a wide-legged forward fold “use your crotch biscuits.” I just about lost it (and I think I was one of the few who found it funny. Lighten up folks. It’s a joke. Welcome to the 110 degree party).
This was my re-introduction to Bikram Yoga. Welcome back, Jen. Good times.
I must admit that I actually started my yoga practice with Bikram Yoga. My first teacher, Liz, was no taller than 5 feet and arrived at my health club every Sunday for the 11am class, armed with space heaters. This was 1998, WAY before Bikram thought to copyright and trademark his sequence and require that it be taught ONLY at one of his licensed studios. We would gather in a little mirrored room that was colder than balls. Liz would blast the space heaters that would only make a small dent in the chilliness of the room (it was a health club, after all, and this was before yoga was big). I remember fondly Liz guiding us through the 26 postures, done 2 times each, with such joy as we all suffered. I just remember well feeling amazing afterwards. This is what got me hooked on yoga.
So I went through many different phases over the next 10 years, including Ashtanga Vinyasa, Shiva Rea Prana Vinyasa Flow, Baptiste Power Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Anusara Yoga. You name it, I took a class in it (well, except laughing yoga, because that’s just kinda weird). I never went back to Bikram after Liz with one exception. I took a class in San Diego at a Bikram College of Yoga around 2001. The teacher yelled at me the entire time and called me Chicago. Not Jen, Chicago, because I had moved from Chicago. This did not sit well with me. I never went back.
Now it’s 2013 and there’s a lot of yoga out there. And my current teacher who I love and adore and view as a total badass, practices with Bikram teachers in Austin. So I figured it’s time to give it another try. And this time around, it was a whole different experience.
I actually kinda liked it.
Yes, it was hot. Yes, I sweated all the way through my Yogitoes towel to my mat all the way through my hair and into all those little nooks and crannies that never see the light of day. And damn if it didn’t feel GOOD. And damn if the sequence and the heat didn’t require all of my attention, focus and strength. Just like yoga should do. The teacher said that what happens in the classroom, on your towel, prepares you and makes you stronger for life. I truly believe that, in any form that yoga is practiced. So to me, this was a good example of what yoga is.
On the down side, the carpet smelled funky (or was it the guy next to me?). The changing room was TINY and not meant for 30 stinky half-naked girls. I couldn’t for the dickens allow myself to lock my knee out (mostly because I have knee pain that I am currently contending with and babying my poor joints.) I still don’t get the “lock your knee out” cue for most of those young girls in class who are already extremely hyper-extensive in their knees from wearing cute (if impractical) high heels. That was the other thing. The majority of the class was on the side of 30 that was a few years back for this girl. It would be nice to have a little more age diversity, but I suspect most normal folks over the age of 40 would pass out in that heat, much less from actually doing physical activity in it. It definitely felt like a young person’s game. And I might add, those young people need to lighten up a bit. The mood in the room was as heavy as the humidity. Or maybe that’s a Bikram thing? (Or maybe I am just getting old.)
I paid $10 for 10 days. Yes, I will go back. I feel that maybe I gave Bikram Yoga a bad rap because the man himself comes across as a narcissistic wack job who drives Rolls Royces and has a Rolex for each day of the week. It has some flaws, but it also has some shining gems, the biggest one being how intensely present I felt every moment of the practice. And that opportunity to step on the mat, to let go of judgement and to be in the present moment, it’s worth all that sweat. And just maybe it will help my crotch biscuits to wake up along the way. What a nice bonus.