Or at least that was what I was hoping for. Yesterday I did my first ever session of Bikram Yoga and could not concentrate on the sight of the above for fear of dying.
16 weeks out from the Badwater race I made a start on getting my body used to heat. Bikram yoga takes place in a heated room of around 40 degrees and around 30 other people. It gets quite warm. The heat is supposed to allow for deeper stretching which is why most people do it. I just wanted to try and endure the heat though improving my flexibility would not be a bad thing.
I arrived at 6.30 in the morning and was already hot and bothered by the time I was in reception. Filling in the forms was making me sweat. I entered the room and was not immediately blown away by the heat, so far so good. We were given the intro talk which was mostly aimed at me as the first timer about when to drink water and if you feel bad you should sit or lie down. She said that more than anything I should try to at least stay in the room.
The first few stretches were fairly easy in that I could do them without falling over. It was very difficult concentrating on the stretches, looking around at what others were doing while clawing sweat from my face and trying not to slip over in my own puddle. I was told to keep my feet together which was much harder than it sounds and then the stretches got more complicated, mostly involving standing on one leg. This is beyond me at the best of times but I was doing ok I think. I was not nearly stretching as far as the rest of the room but I was staying upright. I had taken my t-shirt off to cool down and tried to use it to dry myself but it was already saturated in my own warm sweat.
After 45 minutes I started to feel quite light headed and sick. This I was told was very normal and I should take a break if needed. I saw another guy sat down so I sat down too and ducked out of a few of the exercises. A few minutes later I got back up and joined in some more however it was short lived as I had to sit back down again. Another 5 minutes passed and I decided to get up again and join in however as soon as I did my head felt so light that I had to get back on the floor. I had done nearly an hour, only 30 minutes to go.
While I was on the floor I was trying to cool down as much as possible and I know that the best way to do this is by staying still. I just couldn't though, I swung my head from side to side breathing through my nose and was swaying my feet. I just had to take my mind off the heat and the sickness. I have been reading some advice about badwater and one of the common themes is that just staying in the sauna is enough, you don't have to bother with any exercise. This was not a proper sauna but was my first attempt at enduring proper heat for a prolonged time.
The clock ticked very slowly as the rest of the class were also lying down but doing other exercises. At least they could not see me any more. I tried to watch what they were doing and take note for next time but the extra though involved just warmed my brain more. Finally the 90 minutes were up and although we were encouraged to stay in the room longer and relax I headed straight out, fumbling my mat back onto the rail and sitting down outside.
So, I managed less than an hour of exercise at 40 odd degrees before lying down. Come July I need to be running in 50 degrees for a day and more. I got a lot of pats on the back from others there who said I did well to stay in the room. I was quite pleased with the effort. So far so good. I am going to try to do it every week for the next couple of months and then increase it nearer to the race.