A Letter to Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2

Dear Jane and Jane

I’m so very sorry for all that you are going through right now and over the past while and all the circumstances that have brought you to file a civil suit against you-know-who. I can’t imagine what you are going through but I’m pretty sure it’s hideous. Literally unimaginable.

Sitting in the midst of my relatively comfortable urban professional life in London I can’t even picture how things would change if I was put in your position. I’d probably lose it completely.

So, I wanted to say hi and I’m sorry and thank you and congratulations and be strong and I hope you find light somehow and please know that if I knew you personally I would do whatever was in my power to help. As it is, this may be all I can do.

Since I heard – via a twitter friend – two evenings ago about the lawsuits I have been able to think about little else. I was on day 8 of a 30 day bikram yoga challenge and I found I couldn’t go to class yesterday or today. It’s the first time I have skipped class not because of laziness, injury, making excuses, getting a better offer, being generally lame or having eaten far too much penne vodka at lunch. I skipped class because of disgust and revulsion; betrayal and its counterpart: allegiance. Allegiance with you.

Changing gear a little, I think that the purpose of our “innocent until proven guilty” policy is to civilise our basic “where there is smoke there is fire” instinct. The smoke in this case, sadly, is simply that having read anything I could get my hands on about Bikram Choudhury over the last few years, and in the absence of hundreds of his friends and colleagues rushing forward shouting “Bikram would NEVER abuse his position; Bikram would NEVER assault anyone let alone a woman let alone a TT student!” – I find it all too easy to believe he is capable of rape. And I find it all too easy to believe the culture that surrounds him would rather turn a blind eye than lose him; than tarnish the practice; than demean the transformative power of this yoga; than cut off their income; than admit they had been hoodwinked; than be shown the devastating effect of false idols. Than enquire within. Ironically, this yoga teaches us that this is the hardest thing we are asked to do in the hot room. It is the only thing we are asked to do, ultimately.

I don’t know any of these people but I will say one thing: silence is compliance; and silence, every bit as much as yoga, is a choice.

So, anyway, I guess I’m really writing to tell you that having thought about little else for 48 hours I am not planning to turn my back on bikram yoga, but I did feel I wanted to let you know why. This may well be empty rhetoric, it may well be post rationalisation but as much as I credit Bikram Choudhury with giving me this yoga, I will be damned before I let him take it away. It is tragic that he took it away from you.

Here’s what I’m still profoundly uncomfortable with:

  • This practice and his name are inextricably linked
  • In order to continue to practice this yoga I am obliged to give money – indirectly – to a probable rapist
  • Each hot room available to me has images of Bikram Choudhury in it
  • I don’t think I can become a bikram yoga teacher if he is found guilty

However, I believe I will return to my practice because he doesn’t get to take this away from me. The anger and the disillusionment and betrayal and injustice and bitterness do not get to win. Fuck them all. This is no longer bikram yoga, this is fucking badass Caz yoga from now on and I own it. If I could I would give it back to you complete, washed, reborn. Change, savasana.

I hope you can see that as your sister if I choose to continue with this yoga despite my discomforts that I am honouring the part of you that is also the part of me. I recognise the part of that of you was injured which is also my injury. I offer you my strength, my practice, my transformation.

By continuing in my path in this yoga I hope I can demonstrate to you that you weren’t wrong. You were not wrong to fall in love with this practice; the meaning it offered to your life was not a mirage; the healing and change you witnessed was not sleight-of-hand; your faith in yourself in training to become a teacher was not misplaced.

Say someone forgets that violence and coercion have no place in yoga, which is ultimately and only about choice, that doesn’t change all the other things that yoga does mean. It doesn’t mean that you are weak.

Anyway, lastly I want to say how much I hope none of this is upsetting for you, I absolutely do not mean it that way. And I want you to know that even all the way over here in London I am thinking about you – and I can’t be the only one. I mean I know I’m unique but I can’t be that special; hundreds of others must be sending you positive vibes also.

So, during these low, dark, challenging days: good luck to you. What is past is prologue.

All my love

Namaste

Caz

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Day 31 of 30 Day Challenge

On my way to class this evening I overheard (eavesdropped) these two girls on the tube. One was talking about her blog and said “I am always sincere; I always had the intention that the blog should be sincere” and went on to say that she has attempted to write humour but she had to assume a particular attitude and keep in the front of her thinking that she was being humourous. (I think the fact she said humourous and not funny actually tells us how funny her humourous blogs turned out.) And then she said that it felt really weird to write from a humourous place because she was used to writing from a sincere place. Now, remembering that I have no idea what she writes about or who she is or where she was going and not even pretending that if I bumped into her again I would know her from a can of paint, just this snippet of conversation absolutely fascinated me. Do we have to give up one to have the other? If we take her “sincere” to mean true, then to me very few things are funny unless they have at least a little truth in them. Sincerity without a little humour is just a bad Oscar speech. Without a little humour the weight of the truth would kill me dead. Most people, I think. Fascinating, and I was still thinking about it when I got to the studio.

I got a high five from my excellent friend on reception for completing my 30 days, and I also got my mystery shopper cover blown – he has used dark database arts to figure out it’s me that writes this blog – bumped into my new friend who struck up a conversation with me two nights ago (she’s now on her day 11, way to go Regina!) and also caught up with Cousin Alice as planned.

It was odd to be in class through choice and not because I was in a challenge, and it made for a very strong standing series but once more the heat was fairly overwhelming. I am going to have to adjust to this being the norm rather than a surprise every time. And I’m going to have to adjust sooner rather than later as I have set myself three intentions for the remainder of 2012:

  1. keep earning, and earn a little more if humanly possible
  2. spend Christmas and New Year with my boys and my family, and
  3. keep the high focus on daily practice

So, I’ve asked my parents if they can help me with a little money towards buying a 12 month bundle up front which is by far the cheapest way to practice daily and I’m keeping going. When I asked for the loan my Mum said “have you lost any weight in the last 30 days?” [thanks, Mum. None taken.] And I told her that I couldn’t vouch for weight but I’ve lost inches. And she said you can’t lose inches without losing weight. [And again, thanks for listening.] Hopefully that’s good enough for her! See, if it weren’t just a little funny, it would be a little heartbreaking.

Don’t feel sorry for me, though. Cousin Alice brought me an after class treat of Naked juice Green Machine – my FAVOURITE; I would take it intravenously if that didn’t mean bypassing my tastebuds – so that made it all ok again.

How did Caesar build Rome? Brick by brick.

Well, there we go. In an almost bewilderingly typical twist of fate, I left critical responsibilities to the last minute and had to do 4 classes in the final 48 hours to complete 30 classes in 30 days. What idiot does that?  Oh, hi; have we met?

But, like everything else today, that doesn’t matter because I completed my 30 day challenge. The best bit was that my two cousins surprised me with a card and a beautiful bouquet after class. It’s so moving to share an achievement like this with family who have known you your whole life and only want good things for you. I heartily recommend it. Plus fresh flowers: never a bad idea.

It was hard to concentrate at work today, I was so nervous. That part I didn’t expect, I thought I was being quite mellow about the whole thing. But it turns out – no! I was a bag of nerves, chattering away about Robbie Williams at the Jubilee concert at the weekend and goodness knows what else. Oh, I know what else. Brad Pitt turned up at my colleague’s husband’s motorcycle repair garage in Ruislip. So, there’s that.

Anyway, I haven’t got much else to say except I am exceptionally grateful to and for all the amazing teachers and other staff at Hot Bikram Yoga London Bridge and Fulham. The gifted and compassionate teachers who have folded their personalities into their classes without losing one iota of the dignity, integrity and passion of bikram yoga.

The dust is still settling. I feel elated, exhausted, incredulous, impressed, pleased, changed, grateful, light, wide-eyed, bullet proof. I feel like I have a secret; like I’ve earned my stripes. My only worry is now that I have completed the challenge I won’t have the drive to keep it up.

But hopefully I can keep reminding myself that for the last 30 days I have treated myself to concentrated care and attention – TLC – opening myself up to light, peace, stretching, healing and unity. And now maybe I am readier to take those things out into the world. Starting here and now. I love you. Spread love.

Failure has no meaning in #bikram #yoga

When I started this blog I had two intentions: to tell the truth, and to be me. My hope was that in telling the truth I would sound like me; if friends read this they would hear me talking. In the playing out of writing about my yoga experiences I have reminded myself of something someone pointed out to me about 20 years ago, that I have a streak of self parody a mile wide. Often this is exactly how I tell the truth. Whether or not that is healthy is another discussion. I think probably in moderation it’s perfectly healthy but can become downright debilitating if it becomes a default position. Anyway, this is of no obvious significance right now. I just wanted it stated for the record.

Today was Day 20 of my 30 day challenge. I haven’t decided how I am going to finance my practice from here on, my preference would be to buy the next twelve months up front. It’s a lot of money to spend in one go and it’s a big commitment but – following my gut – it’s what I really want.

Anyway, I suspected I was going to have a tough class because I had what we in this country call “a few drinks” yesterday, but I had absolutely no idea. It was horrendous, easily one of the worst classes I have ever done. I more or less gave up after eagle, I was totally overwhelmed. I couldn’t do any of it. And the humidity and sweat – my word. Recently when I am in half moon back bend and I catch a glimpse of my forearms above me all I can think of is Apocalypse Now. Because of the sweat. And the funny part is I was scheduled to do a double. Yay!

So, long story short, I had two pretty hideous classes. But I stayed in the room and focused on my breathing and let the tears come and go and listened to the dialogue. And I refused to think about what my fellow students might be thinking about me and I refused to be too hard on myself. And tried to convince myself that these classes count and as long as I attend class I can say I did class today. I haven’t failed – even if all I can do is the belly down series.

It would be nice to think that Day 30 will be a good bikram day. Hopefully at least I’ll be able to stay in the room whatever happens, and convince myself even a “bad” class counts.

 

Questions About Resisting Change

Day 16 threw up something very surprising and not a little crappy.

I have a crummy old armchair which sits kind of low and I got up from it to go to class and my left knee just went. It just went. It was really painful, really burning. So that was worrying. But I was already dressed and packed for class so I went to go out but I could barely get down the stairs and then once I was out on the pavement the limp was so bad I realised I wasn’t going to make it to class on time.

Not that I am scared to practice with it or around it, but I was headed for the 8pm class and I wouldn’t get there on time. If I had booked for the 6pm I could have just waited for the next one but I had no contingency.

But besides all the missing class bull – on day 16 – where did this pain come from? I do have a friend whose opinion I respect greatly who would say there are no accidents. So what role does this pain play? It stops me from going to class, it makes me feel bad about missing a day’s practice, I miss a day’s practice, it makes me self conscious, it makes me pause in achieving my objective rather than being a class and a day closer to my objective.

So, the question becomes, if this is not spontaneous, not an accident. Is it self-sabotage? This good friend of mine would likely suggest that this pain was invented by a part of my brain/mind/whatever that wants me to fail, the part of me that is resisting the change that I seem to be so taken up with right now? That I constantly self-righteously tweet about? Damn, I read my tweets sometimes and they make me want to puke.

What if I worry about not knowing who I would be, this changed version of myself? What if I don’t want to confront the change because it would force me to think about the things in my life/body/appearance/personality/circumstance that I am unhappy about and I’m not sure what would replace them? What if I found out change was actually easy and therefore had to take the rap for tolerating the unhappinesses for so long without taking accountability for them? Or worse, what if I put all this huge physical and emotional effort into this change and made it happen and my life turned out to be just as imperfect? If I’m a failure right now, after all, I know what to blame. If change and I’m still a failure then I am categorically the failure. Me. So right here in the comfort zone is safer, thanks. I’m good with the blaming and the tolerating – maybe Day 15 is as far as I get. What if changing is just too effing hard?

The truth is I don’t know. I just don’t know. I don’t know and not knowing means that this is a leap of faith to some degree. Maybe all of this is just self-indulgence and I just need to do the work, already. Jeez, I’m such a whiner! Whatever, it doesn’t have to be part of a giant life plan, the yoga is good for me, so shut up and go to class, right? All I know is that this happened at exactly the half way point and that is too big a coincidence for me.

The Hot One.

Do you remember in LOST when Jack was about to operate on Sarah (was her name Sarah?) and he came back from running the stadium steps, where he’d met Desmond and twisted his ankle, and he was sweating and he says “I showered but I guess I didn’t cool” and she gives him a quizzical look and he says “I’m intense”. Which at the time drew a quizzical look from me, and I felt validated later when the TWoP recapper more or less called him a douche for saying that. Anyway, THAT.

I have showered and I am still sweating. Poor Jack. Sorry, my love, I take it all back. Hey, I’m intense.

Yet again I was home all day and only got my act together and got to class ‘cos I had booked online. Otherwise I would maybe have skipped. But, yet again, I am thrilled that I went to class. I feel I am, not to speak too soon, getting my standing series groove back for the first time since my bikram hiatus. Lots of things came up for me in class this evening which would make good blog material but the only one I remember is the sweat.

In a class which brought my half moon back to where I left off in early January and my first pain free spine twist, I also rediscovered my deeper sweat response. This class was, ladies and gentlemen, what we technically refer to as a hot one. By the end of pranayama I was more or less drenched. It was the kind of sweat that comes off you in sheets rather than trickles. The kind of sweat that gives you friction-free skin and makes it hard to keep your elbows wrapped in eagle. Indianna Jones in the jungle kind of sweat. Sweat that makes you think washing won’t do for this yoga kit, you’ll have to burn it. Sweat that makes your fingerprints so, so, so wrinkly that you might have well just swum the Channel. Sweat that makes you think you’ll be able to speed skate to the changing rooms ‘cos not even the soles of your feet are dry. Sweat that makes you think those nude yoga practitioners really had it right all along. Sweat that makes you frightened that you’re losing so much DNA that by the end of class your personality will be dramatically altered. Perhaps permanently.

Well, too bad, ‘cos I’m going back tomorrow. Unlucky class 13?

Just being honest.

We are well accustomed to hearing in class that it’s normal for postures to bring up different emotions; to be taken by surprise by emotions – and the advice I have always tried to heed is that I should not fight them but rather acknowledge them and let them go. By tasting what emotions my practice brings up for me on any given day and by relinquishing it I can help myself let go of the stresses and traumas held in the tissues of my body.

But what if “what my practice gives me today” is pain? We’re told don’t push through pain. But what about the emotions that the pain brings us? I think I am realising over the past few days that there is as much emotion in pain as there is in a stretch or a compression or a tourniquet release. Why this should be a huge revelation to me, I have no idea, as if you just think about it for roughly 40 seconds you realise that this is totally logical.

I heard a lot of interesting things in class yesterday. Teacher started by giving us a slight scolding about leaving the room during practice. It seems that the studio is getting a “reputation” (what? who cares? doesn’t the whole “reputation” concept appeal to ego?) for people leaving the room during class. I have to say I have been to class there five times now and haven’t noticed that happening. Whatevs. But the interesting thing comes next, teacher said that – I’m paraphrasing – many people, especially in the West, go through their lives never hearing the word “no”, so to hear “no, you’re not allowed to leave the hot room” can be the biggest challenge of all. I thought that was really interesting.

Class got underway and a couple of people were sitting down before warm up postures ended. Teacher said “if you are sitting out, are you focusing on your breath? Are you judging yourself? Or are you filled with love for yourself? We all love you so you should love you, too. You’re doing great.” And I thought, wow, that is awesome. That’s so awesome, truly. Sit out if you want, focus on your breath, don’t judge yourself, know that we love you. I thought, this guy is amazebags.

Then we got to tree and my back pain kicked in as it has been doing so I had to sit that out. Then we got to tortoise and I couldn’t do the sit up and I ended up sitting out the rest of the class til spine twist.

Now, bear with me ‘cos this is just how my head works, I knew I would have to sit out some floor series so I deliberately went straight to the back row that class. I’m already self-conscious because I’m new to the studio and I’m overweight. And I always think that when I can’t do a posture or have trouble with my back and sit out that people think it’s because I’m fat. Or, I should say “fat” because whilst a part of me self-identifies as “fat”, there is another part of me that self-identifies as “Helena Christensen”. I also think that when I don’t have a date on a Saturday night (a.k.a. Saturday night) or don’t get that last job I interviewed for, that people think it’s because I’m “fat”. “Fat” gets a great deal of blame in this house. Just so you know. Or hadn’t worked that out for yourself. If you hadn’t, it’s probably because you’re fat.

So there’s me, fat Helena Christensen, laying on my fat back with bent fat  knees in no small amount of fat discomfort with fat tears coursing down my fat face, focusing on my fat-person breath in order to quiet down the self-hate whilst the rest of the thin class is releasing thin emotions in thin camel. And teacher says “if you’ve been sitting out of postures, try and get back in, think of the group energy. This is bikram hot yoga; you’re not lying on the deck of Daddy’s yacht.” And, without losing a second of my inhale-for-six nor moving a muscle, I fly into a RAGE.

No offence but you’re an idiot if you think for one SECOND that if my Daddy (or Mummy. Sexist.) 0wned a yacht I would be caught DEAD within 500 miles of smelly London Bridge or London for that matter let alone you and your SMUG yoga class. If there is ever a yacht in my family you will know that there was one HELL of a fight and I went down swinging because that money should be spent on buying ME a house in Oahu which I only DESERVE. And what happened to “we love you” by the way? We only love the WIMPS  that sit down before the end of warm up? Cos that makes sense. Yeah, I believe it was Buddha who taught us to have compassion only for those who can’t do the easy bits. You hideous person. That’s it, screw you, there’s absolutely no way I’m getting up now. Even if you HAD asked at the start of class if anyone was working with an injury or condition (which you hadn’t) and even if you DO walk over and see if I’m ok (which you won’t) there’s no way I want to be a part of YOUR group energy now, thanks all the same. AND your tattoos are ugly. I’m in pain, you DICK.

It took me 24 hours of being offended and angry to figure out I wasn’t angry at him, I was angry at the pain. Which was stopping me from practicing and making me feel even more self-conscious. I didn’t even see his tattoos.

“You love it, don’t you?”

I’m learning to tell the difference between a tough class and a class which is sub par because my back pain is too restricting. The last three nights I have been so stiff and sore that I have sat out tree, toe, and everything after cobra series – or rather my modified cobra series. I feel very self-conscious although I have stopped feeling like a failure. Strangely – but in a positive way – it never occurs to me to leave. Perhaps partly because getting up off my back is so painful Whatevs.

For the second night in a row I had a new teacher – new to me, but clearly a veteran teacher. It was a very good class; dynamic and up; bright and relaxed with a lovely group energy.

Afterwards I just happened to be right next to the teacher in the changing rooms – our lockers were side by side. And she turned to me and said “you did great”. And I must have looked at her rather dubiously because I thought, I clearly did NOT do great, I only did about 50% of class. But I said thanks rather blankly, not wanting to appear rude despite being yoga stoned. And she said

“You love it, don’t you?”

“I love it”

“I can tell. You can tell. You did great”

“Thank you, I do love it, even if I can’t do it.”

“You can do it, you did it. Don’t worry – everyone’s on their own journey”

“Thanks a lot. I have a tilted pelvis so I get discomfort sometimes. And I haven’t been to class for four months, so. That’s my journey, I guess.”

“Yeah, seriously, don’t worry, it’s fine. You’re here.”

And we talked a little about loving the heat and then said see you next time and that was it. But walking to the tube I thought, she made the – probably minuscule to her because she is clearly someone to whom kindness comes naturally – decision to say something encouraging and kind to me. No drama, just a few nice words but clearly sincere. And that made a huge difference to me. To my experience of that class and my whole day. I do love my yoga and to think it was evident in my practice brings tears of joy and humility to my eyes. (I want to be clear that I waited to get home before welling up, I’m not totally losing my shit.) Not to mention the perfect example she is setting regarding respecting and encouraging fellow students’ practice for everyone earwigging in the locker room!

Anyway, know that if you make the split second decision to say something true and nice and encouraging to someone, you are doing a good thing, even if it seems merely like passing the time to you.

I believe it was Gandhi who said “Be excellent to each other. And. Party on, dudes.”

Triumph turns to tears (not really, I’m being dramatic)

This post is going to be so postmodern it will actually be post-postmodern. You should hurry up and read it before the postmodern element achieves critical mass and begins to exert its own gravitational force, pulling all the other elements towards it until they all collapse in on themselves and disappear into a black hole of self-referential meta-narrative and get commissioned by BBC FOUR, and I spontaneously transform into an episode of LOST.

In the last 24 hours since my studio review I have learned of the dizzy heights and the crashing lows of internet notoriety (netoriety? Can I make that a thing? Your homework is to use that in a sentence, straight-faced, by Friday).

1. Dizzy Height

The owner of the studio I reviewed yesterday got in touch and we had a lovely conversation today. She asked me if I would like to guest blog for their website at some point in the future and – AND AND AND!!! This is the good bit – added 10 complimentary days onto my 20 day intro ticket so I can do a 30 day challenge! How awesome is that? That’s like, share my joy! So, so gracious and kind. I’m a lucky girl.

2. Crashing Low

When I was leaving the studio this evening the happy and smiling guy who greeted me yesterday was reading out my blog – the bit about how he was so unfeasibly happy and smiling. He was smiling as he read it out, but I ain’t too sure about happy. He said to his friends “Is that a compliment?”  So, the person I was describing was reading my description of him and, having written it, I was listening to it being read out loud, and he was unaware I was the person who had written it but he knew I was listening or at the very least could hear him. This, dear reader, is the postmodern part. Large cracks are starting to appear in the walls of my front room and the lights are flickering. I think I just crossed the streams. As postmodern boundaries go, Russsell Brand should be looking for new representation.

So, here’s the thing. I am SO, SO, SO, SO, SO sorry, happy and smiling guy, for making you doubt yourself and probably for giving you that sick feeling in your tummy when you realise someone is talking about you and you’re not 100% sure it’s not quite mean. I didn’t mean it to be mean, I truly didn’t. It’s just a cheap gag. I’m sorry. I’ve been reacting to quite a lot of stuff recently and had kind of free-floating anger and I’m often so pleased with myself and how I can turn a phrase that I incur some collateral damage. I’m sorry. I hope you get to read this as it’s sincere.

I might also add that your friendliness did genuinely take me by surprise as the reception staff at my old home studio, which I won’t name (Old Street) generally avoided eye contact at all costs and only learned “hi” within the last 8 months or so.

Long story short: a) judge not lest ye be judged; b) fame’s a fickle bitch.

STUDIO REVIEW: HOT BIKRAM YOGA LONDON BRIDGE.

This could be a sign:

I’m not one to make rash decisions or pronouncements (that’s a lie) but I am stopping talking about bikram yoga from now on. I won’t talk about it, I won’t social network (yeah, that’s a verb now) about it, I won’t encourage my friends to try it, I won’t give it any credit or credence at all when I receive compliments or get asked what I’ve been up to. As far as I’m concerned from now on the official story is that I go horseback riding after work every night. In fact, I might even start a back-lash whispering campaign so that everyone knows what a thorough waste of time and constant disappointment it is. I’m not even kidding. I’m so worked up about this I just opened a packet of chicken breast cold cuts with my teeth. TOO MANY people are doing bikram. Studios are TOO CROWDED.  Stop publicising it, delete all the hashtags. Today. As in: now.

How busy was the studio, Caz? Well, thanks for asking, let me tell you. I got to the studio half an hour before class in order to register as a newbie at that studio and buy my intro deal (£35 for 20 days). I was met at the top of the stairs – it’s a basement studio – by an unfeasibly happy and smiling young man who was like unfeasibly happy and smiling. Can you imagine someone being sacked from the Disney Store for being too upbeat? Good, you’re there. Had I booked online? No, I was a newbie. Ah, well we’re fully booked, would you like to be on the waiting list, we’ll get you registered and keep fingers crossed. No problem, I’ll go on the waiting list.

Go downstairs, de-shoe, de-sock, complete form. Sit and wait. The teacher, an utterly brilliant teacher called Sanjay who I have practiced with before (and the reason why I picked this class) is at the studio door taking numbers off students. Literally, when you confirm your online booking you’re given a giant red laminated number and that gets you past the double doors into the studio. No number, no practice, cowboy. This, it strikes me, is inspired. It’s so good. It’s a perfectly simple system and it gives the teachers more face time before class. Awesome. Why don’t all the studios do this? Because, to be candid, they’re not all as good as Hot Bikram Yoga London Bridge. For real.

Finally I get called over, I can go to class. I get a number. I am number 81. I’m just going to leave that one there.

I get in class and I am last to arrive (as far as I noticed) and the first thing that strikes me is the sheer amount of mirror I am surrounded by. Secondly I am struck by the pleasing elephant grey carpet. But wait, a couple of steps in I realise this isn’t carpet, this is mats. The mats are already all laid out, not only squished up side by side like floor tiles but in some cases actually overlapping. Sanjay is already going through injuries with people so I just effing PICK a mat and kneel. The class was awesome. Truly and genuinely. That’s for another post though.

At this point (I mean right now writing, not in class. Woah! Fractured timeline. Call J J Abrams. So meta.) I take a deep breath and stop reacting because when I say the studio was busy – and it clearly was – it was totally FINE. Like, actually really lovely. For one, it’s easily the nicest studio I’ve been to (in the UK, which is still pretty big as comparing it to ground floor studios with an unobstructed view of the sunset/moonarc over the Rocky Mountains just isn’t fair). There are maybe three pillars which obstruct the view of the teacher from certain vantages but they are clad in mirror so it’s kind of ok. And the sound system is great. In fact it sounded to me almost the whole time like Sanjay was behind me (I couldn’t see him) which was a nice feeling. Even though it’s a basement there is much natural light, and it has windows that shjshjshjshjshjshj open and shut like a Miami beach house. And even though there was some brushing of thigh and elbow getting in and out of posture (there may have been a slight nose on calf muscle incident also) it was totally ok as everyone seems to accept the compact nature of the practice and the two neighbours were very sweet and smiley. In fact the atmosphere in the room was much different to the one I’m used to at my old studio. Different in a good way. It was chilled and not competitive or smug at all. And I’m already looking forward to going back.

However, and this is what made me a LITTLE fricking fractious, the changing room was an utter nightmare. I’ve never had to queue to get OUT of a changing room. It’s madness. Like, properly gridlocked. I’m not one to exaggerate (that’s a lie) but even if I were (which I am) I’m not right now (I’m really not). I have been turned upside down in mosh pits, I know what I’m talking about. It’s still the nicest studio I’ve been to in the UK, though.

When I managed to chin my way out of the changing room, as primally charged as the last person on the last chopper out of Saigon, my friend from before asked me how I got on. I said, that changing room is insane. And he smiled and said “I know, right?” Yeah, I guess it is what it is and now I know. I said I would be back tomorrow for Nicola’s class and he said to come at 9pm it’s a nicer and quieter class. So maybe that’s what I will do. Make a plan, stick to it, baby steps, do what you love, I can’t do this but I’m doing it anyway, it’s all good, breathe, smile, soften your gaze. Maybe breathe some more just to be on the safe side.

Conclusion, I wasn’t prepared for how busy it would be but I loved the studio and fully endorse it. Although, clearly, bikram is complete balderdash, Emperor’s New Clothes, license to print money – and you should be doing rock climbing instead.

I’m not sure if that this wasn’t more of a freeform organic venting than a studio review but I promise I won’t let that happen again (that’s a lie).

This is how close Hot Bikram Yoga London Bridge is to the Shard, I took this standing just outside the door that leads down to reception: