Some Like it Hot
Man, do I feel old. I know, I know...I am only 25, but these creaks, pops and general rickety noises my body makes every morning are disturbing. I was not born with the gift of flexibility. I failed year after year on the Presidential Fitness Test simply because I could never touch my toes. I curse you sit and reach! In 7th grade I finally learned proper-ish stretching while running track for my junior high and wanted to throw a party the first time my pointer fingers barely grazed my straining toes.
This lack of flexibility combined with my extreme love of all sports has left me stiff as a corpse after sitting for long periods or after a good nights sleep. The lower portion of my legs refuse to loosen up without extreme warm ups, my ankles click like popcorn kernels in a microwave and bending at the waist is almost a joke. When I was training for the marathon I ran in the summer of 2008, I knew I had to do something about my flexibility just to make sure my body survived the ordeal and I didn't injure myself further.
I started doing Bikram Yoga in Ann Arbor, Mich. after reading about the health benefits of yoga and it seriously worked like magic. The room is heated up to about 105 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity amped up to 40 percent. I scored a sweet new student deal and got 10 consecutive days of classes for $20, a steal compared to the usual membership costs. A $10 yoga mat, old towel and large bottle of water were the only other materials required to be in the 90 minute class.
I had tried basic yoga while in college and wasn't a huge fan. It was taking me ages to see any sort of results or substantial changes in my flexibility. While there are many different forms of yoga, with Bikram yoga I went from not being able to touch my toes the first session to bending completely in half by day 3! Bikram yoga takes you through 26 postures over the course of 90 minutes. You begin with a warming up breathing exercise before working your way through 24 asanas (or postures) on both the floor and while standing and then finish up with a breathing posture. By the time you're done you have put your entire body through the gauntlet.Continued on the next page