I am always suggesting that trying something new is invigorating for the soul. I know I say LOTS of things on this blog, but just to prove to you all that I try to follow my own advice, I will share a couple of new things that I tried last week.
First Bikram Yoga class. I have often heard about the benefits of Bikram’s Yoga, but the drawback is you perform your workout in a room that is heated to about 100 degrees Farenheit. I am really not great at yoga. I just started practicing in my basement about 3 months ago and I was anxious to bust out of my chilly basement to get myself to a class where I could watch the experts. However, it is always awkward and embarrassing walking into a class for the first time (no matter what it is) and saying, “Ummm, hi, ummm, is this where I check in for class?” They were super kind at the front desk and pointed the way into the yoga room. I loudly clamor through the door only to find about 12 students quietly sitting in a meditation pose. Yikes (I don’t eve know how to meditate or breathe properly for yoga). I lay out my mat in a large open space only to find out that I am positioned directly below the heater (no wonder that space was empty). Embarassed again, I gather up my mat, towel and water and look for another space that isn’t so hot. I figure the nearest place to the door is a great second option because I realize I might need to go outside for air at some point.
As the teacher comes in, I had that panic feeling, what have I gotten myself into? I mean, I am already sweating buckets of water, and feeling a bit light-headed and we haven’t even started the class. Thankfully, the teacher was incredibly supportive, and she put me at ease right away by giving me permission to leave and regroup if I was feeling naseous. Great choice on my part to sit in front of the door.
To summarize, I managed to make it through class; although, I had moments of doubt. At one point, I looked at the clock and realized we had only been working for 25 minutes and there was still a full hour to go. After that point, the class seemed to speed by as I started to talk to myself (realizing that everyone else was so into their workout, they could care less that I was dying in the corner) and I felt as though I was drawing strength and energy from these experienced yogis that surrounded me. I am looking forward to trying it again soon.
First experience at a Korean Spa. A friend of mine who is Korean, had been encouraging me to visit a Korean spa with her. It is a ritual she enjoys at least once a month and she wanted to share the experience with some of her non-Korean (a.k.a. loud caucasian) friends. We planned an evening where our husbands would be home to handle bed-time for our kids and booked our appointments. Another friend came along too- and off we went to Korea Town. Jules, the mastermind of our evening, began to share some of the details of how the night would unfold- starting with the special herbal, cleansing tea she prepared for us to drink. There is a whole routine involved in her Spa experience and here are the highlights: cleansing shower (in one big room- full nudity) including vigorous teeth brushing in the shower, half an hour of steaming, short break in the jacuzzi, back to the sauna until you can’t take the heat anymore then off to the “spa” service. One point worth mentioning, is that the steam, sauna and jacuzzi are done buck naked so it was strange at first. I have not been naked in front of other women in at least 20 years. When you are called for your scrub then massage, you are lead to a wet room and, once again, you get completely naked and lay down.
So why I am telling you all of this? It was strangely relaxing to let go of all modesty and just be comfortable with my body. I had to turn my brain off and quit worrying about what anyone was thinking when they saw my body. It was difficult at first, I had a strong urge to wrap up in the hand-towel that I was given on arrival, but I didn’t want to diminish the experience. Once again I was somewhat empowered by those around me who were uninhibited by the nudity. Interesting.
My final thought: I have so many friends and acquiantances who explain that they don’t want to try something because they are embarrassed to fail or look foolish if they are good enough. I was completely clueless in my yoga class and quite embarassed about getting naked at the spa. But, in both situations, I was able to appreciate the experience of trying something new. In both instances, if/when I go back, I will have a little experience and a little confidence; and , I can just keep building on that. If you to worried to try anything new you might live your life wondering….