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Notes from Underneath: Bikram yoga in Chile vs in the U.S.

Notes from Underneath

A California girl in Chilsters (that's Chile to you)

Friday, September 4, 2009


Bikram yoga in Chile vs in the U.S.

I finally made it to my first bikram yoga class in Chile yesterday. I felt like I was finally getting on with my life here because I put myself "out there" and picked up a somewhat hobby I had initiated back in CA. Also, I was really proud of myself after class for taking the metro home as opposed to a cab, even though I was probably super stinky. Oh well, sucks for the people on the metro next to me. (That's neither here nor there by the way.)

Anyway, the class was difficult, as bikram tends to be, but it was kind of a different experience doing yoga here vs having done it in CA. Here are some of the differences I noted in my first class:

1. The studio itself was STIIIIINKY!! I got there kind of early and while I was sitting on my mat waiting for class to start, I tried to analyze why it was so darn stinky. I concluded that the most probable culprit was the carpet in the studio. Who puts a carpet in a bikram yoga studio???!!! It's disgusting how much sweating goes on in that room AND because it's bikram, you can't like, AIR OUT the room since you have to maintain the temp. Hello??!! Did the peeps running the studio NOT get the memo on that?

2. More men seem to take bikram in Chile than in the U.S. At least that has been my experience thus far. And the men who are taking the class aren't the gay/questionably gay/metro men you might see in the studio in CA. These men are MANLY men who stand ever-so-slightly too proud and who have lots of hair. And they are ALL ABOUT the bikram. It's not like they were dragged there by some gf who begged them to partake in the single most important activity of their lives. They are there of their own accord and LOOOOOVING every minute of it. They were agro. I even saw two young-ish men (late 20s) come in together... in the same manner you might see them go to the weight room at the gym together.

3. Chilean bikram-ers are COMPLAINING MACHINES. I've never heard so many grunts and complaints as we moved through one pose after another. Of course there were grunts in the CA studios I attended but never like this. It was like a fantastic chorus of questionably perverted sounds coming out of about 75% of the class!! Well, at least no one farted...

4. The instructor shows no mercy. At the beginning of class she immediately called out my name, looking around trying to spot me. I raised my hand and she began drilling me on whether I knew the poses or not. I said yes, not that well but that I had taken a few bikram yoga classes back in the States. As we moved into the routine, every so often she'd call out my name "Arms straighter Andrea" as if I was the only one doing it wrong. I know she was just helping me along in the maternal manner that is innate in many of us, but it was awkward to say the least. Especially when we got to a pose that I'm not that comfortable doing. She looked at me and told me to do it and I said "it hurts" and she told me to do it anyway. What??! In the U.S. there was this general rule that you pushed yourself only so far, but every yogi is all about "knowing one's body and one's limit" and so one never felt like you HAD to do a pose. That wasn't the case for me yesterday as this instructor was adamant about people doing the poses no matter what. I rebelled of course and only did the pose 20% of the way. What can I say? I showed her who's the boss of me!!

I guess for now those are the main four differences I found between bikram here and bikram there. I'm going again tonight so maybe I'll have a completely different experience than I did yesterday, depending on who the instructor is.

There is one thing I hope to avoid when I go back though... one of the men in yesterday's class was stretching before our class started and there I was, minding my own business on my own mat when I inadvertently looked at him and his PENIS stared BACK AT ME!!! There it was, laying on his leg for the WHOLE world to see as he continued on with his stretching, completely unaware that his unit was checking out the scene. After that I didn't know where to look of course and obviously I almost choked trying to hold back my nervous laughter. How did he not notice that happened? I know I would notice if some part of MY body just wandered off ... !!

But who knows...maybe that's just how bikram rolls here in Chile? I guess I'll keep you posted.

HAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHA! I think this is the best posting so far. I have been laughing out loud this whole time. I miss you Silly Girl!!!

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