The following is an excerpt from my piece “The Spectrum of Effort” as seen on Lady Clever:
Sweat pours from every inch of every body in this smelly, disgusting room. The towel on my yoga matt is drenched, slate blue where it once was gray, soaking up to the best of its ability while my vision floats somewhere between the ceiling and myself, unfocussed and unstrained in a restorative shavasana. We get thirty seconds here. Thirty beautiful, empty seconds.
“Go from one-hundred-percent effort to zero-percent effort,” the instructor says, a disembodied voice somewhere in another corner of the room. “Do it so quickly and so fully that everything in between disappears, like it never happened.”
I started taking Bikram yoga over a year ago to deal with some Hurricane Sandy-induced cabin fever, which was so significant it trumped all my years of humming and hawing over the aforementioned sweat and stink that was previously a workout deal breaker. The first class sent me out the door reeling in an exhaustion-induced, dehydration-riddled high that has since become more manageable in the year since I began practicing. But I don’t come for the highs anymore; I come to have my brain rewired within my skull, the thought processes altered in a way I cannot exactly describe. I come here for seemingly meaningless instructions that pertain to a pose that actually pertain to your life.