My friend Julio tried to kill me by taking me to his Bikram yoga class. What the fuck was I thinking when I went to that studio on La Cienega? I hate the heat. I never choose “sun” over “shade”. The arrival of summer depresses me. I have never ‘laid out’ in my life. And here I was, willingly throwing myself into a closed room that had no windows and heat actually pumping out of the vents to keep the 120 degree temperature constant. To make me feel worse, ‘hot yoga’ classes are like an excuse for people who love their bodies to show them off as much as possible. Speedos were the order of the day. Black speedos and nothing else. The only thing worse that I can think of is black speedos and little black socks pulled up to just below the knee with white tennis shoes. Or no speedo and naked bikram would rank on the list as well. But the black speedo and the wireless microphone attached to the ear is a pretty special look unto itself.

After we got in there - Julio admitted to me that it was a 90 minute class. And then he said that my only goal for the day was to stay in the room. How hard can it be to stay in the room? I’ve been in a sauna, I’ve traveled in India - I mean this staying in the room task was nothing.

After forty minutes- I felt like I was beating my head against a hot metal plate in the desert at noon. I had heard that some people threw up in class and that others passed out. It’s interesting because you find yourself going through the entire range of emotions. Mostly you’re thinking “What the fuck am I doing in here?” And then you get angry — at yourself, at the teacher, at your stupid friend, at Bikram himself. I realized that there was another hour left in this room and I was not going to make it. The room is spinning — I’m okay with passing out in front of strangers, I’m okay with hurling in front of strangers. But when we got the to “wind expulsion series” i found my line. I am so not okay with shitting my pants in front of strangers. I’m not sure how I feel about shitting my pants in private — So I walked towards the door to get the fuck out of there. Unfortunately I moved about as fast as my grandmother and that was with all my effort. My calves were sweating. My sweat was sweating.
I finally made it to the door, opened it, stepped into the cool breeze of the hallway - and then promptly laid down on the floor next to the trash can. Thinking: ” I failed.”

After the fifth person had to step over me to get down the hall, I crawled into the locker room and laid on the cool tile. I didn’t care how many nasty sweaty feet had walked across that tile - just that it was cold now and life was so much better. After twenty minutes the room stopped spinning and I sat up. Walked to the door of the yoga class and wondered if I was going to go back in and finish. It’s not like me to quit something half way through it… but I didn’t feel in the yoga spirit and I questioned the yoga spirit of feeling like a failure. I mean, isn’t the whole point of yoga that you go as far as you can? That you do the best you can and learn to be a ‘benevolent observer of yourself”? What kind of fucked up yoga would make you feel like a failure? I read the articles hanging in the hall and all the people who swear by their experiences at the studio. I find myself in LA thinking “who are these people?” a lot. A lot more than I found myself thinking that in NYC. For some reason, everyone in NYC makes sense. But in LA - I just can’t get in the groove yet - it all seems a bit off to me still. i wonder if everyone feels this way here… Anyway I decided to finish the class. And then never, ever come back again.