Eska Alikai classic singlet (the best tees ever – the kind where you ought to buy back-ups. They’re on sale, too, but please don’t get to them before I do), Witchery ponte leggings, Nike Free 5.0 trainers.
It’s been a while. I’m still training. I’ve stopped clean eating (I mean, I went and ate a whole pizza after these photos were taken) and it’s also been 18 months since I first stepped into a boxing gym. 18 months. My quads have officially doubled in size – or at least it feels like it. Oh, and I also I took up Bikram yoga eight weeks ago.
I know, I’m about five years late to the Bikram party but it has taken me that long to convince myself that it’s perfectly normal to contort myself in a 40C room for 90 minutes alongside clammy, half-naked individuals who have no qualms about dripping sweat on your towel. There was also a small part of me that felt Bikram wouldn’t challenge me like boxing does. Ha, how little I knew…
I was losing motivation to train at the start of the year. I went from working out four times a week to two, if I was lucky. I was recovering from a back injury with the help of my physio and my boxing training started to plateau. In 12 months, I had reached the point where there was nothing else for me to really improve on – or more to the point, nothing else I felt motivated enough to improve on. And with my work schedule getting busier and busier, it was just so hard to find the time.
When I quit my job, I knew I couldn’t keep up with the $240-a-week clinical pilates any longer, so upon the advice of my physio I decided to give Bikram a go. At the quarter of the cost, I figured I had less to lose. I’m a wimp once the mercury dips to below 10C; I find the heat much more tolerable. But being inside a torturous hot room sweating out of every single pore (I wish I was exaggerating) was an experience unlike any other.
Some poses claim to cure gout and insomnia…and I may be better convinced if I wasn’t married to a pharmacist, so whilst I don’t completely agree with some of the Bikram posture benefits, practising it has physically been the best thing I’ve done for myself since I took up boxing. The best. I can’t even begin to describe how quickly I started to see results, how flexible – really flexible – I became just after a few classes, how much my skin felt amazingly smooth from just one class, and how much it has actually complemented (and made me appreciate!) my boxing training.
I’ve been balancing two Bikram classes with 2-3 boxing sessions a week, which helps to alleviate the sedentary working-from-home curse.
And after two months of Bikram, I still don’t know if I like it, let alone love it. It’s not for everyone and it’s bloody intense – give me a pair of boxing gloves any day. And for that, I will eat my hat. It’s one of the most challenging workouts I’ve ever done but I find it incredibly heart-opening, oxygenating, awakening. I didn’t know what sweat was until I sat inside a Bikram torture chamber, but I think I’ve always been drawn to testing my inner limits. To realise how far I can go from the point where I thought it was the end has given me a reason to keep going. And if I had a choice between being sore or sorry, I’d probably be sore every damn day.
Photographs by Jamie.