Bikram Yoga Dupont: I’m a survivor

This is definitely not me. It's one of the yoga instructors. I can barely touch my hands behind my back...

I’m not a fan of going barefoot.  I’m not a fan of saunas.  I’m not a fan of sweating profusely in front of attractive girls.  I’m not fan of watching shirtless men sweat.  And I’m not a fan of the word “enlightenment.”

But shockingly, I was a fan of my first adventure at Bikram Yoga Dupont.

The store is owned and operated by fellow community member Carolan Sudol, a frequent attendant of Mesorah DC events.  It’s located on Connecticut Avenue, just north of the circle, right next to the Five Guys and Potbelly (oh the irony).

Having never done yoga before (much less Bikram yoga), I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I showed up with shoes and a shirt, and without a water bottle, towel, or yoga mat.  But no matter.  Carolan and co. were happy to get me the right items, and I was able to store the wrong ones.

The shop’s courtesy to newbies extended into the classroom.  I don’t think it was a beginner’s class (some of the people in there were already freakishly flexible), but I wasn’t made to feel ridiculous for not being able to put my palms on the ground, or for that matter, be able to lift my leg to shoulder height.

I wouldn’t call the experience pleasurable.  I definitely wanted to leave about 15 minutes in.  I’d worn a catcher’s mask in plenty 100 degree summer days, so I thought I knew about being stifled, but this was a whole new level.  But I was told it gets better, and at the 45 minute mark, I decided I could make it through the whole 90 minutes.

I’m glad I did.  I felt incredibly flexible after (by my limited standards); I felt ready to run around (I wanted to play a game of basketball after), and I felt ready to embrace the 22 degree weather (this lasted for about 3 minutes).

Will I go back?  Yep.  Probably this weekend.  Will I recommend it to others?  Yes.  If you’re looking for an adventure, a new form of exercise, a way to warm up, a way to sweat a gallon of water, or a way to loosen up after a day in front of the computer screen, then you should definitely check out Bikram Yoga Dupont.

Stephen Richer is a co-founder of Gather the Jews.  The opinions expressed in this post are solely those of Stephen.