Posted by: kerryalina | 21 March 2012

Challenge Class 33: What They Didn’t Tell Me

“Don’t wipe the sweat off!”  Today’s teacher gushed at one point.  “Your skin will thank you!  You’ll look 10-15 years younger!!!”

My immediate mental response?  “I KNOW.  Goddammit.”

Sounds great in theory, right?  What I didn’t realise when I first heard this was that 10-15 years younger put me firmly into teenager territory.  And my skin as a teenager?  Not a pretty sight.  I should have read the fine print and done the math.

I don’t know whether I can blame Bikram directly (sweat! heat! faceplanting into the sopping wet towel for Locust pose!), or if it’s caused by one of the more fun side effects of all this constant exercise, namely:

Eat ALL the things!

My stomach’s been fairly focussed on protein lately (“WANT MEAT.  NOW”), but I’ll often raid the charity chocolate box at work – there just aren’t that many other options when I’m consumed with ravenous hunger at 3pm.  But while my sweet tooth is loving the sugar hit, I could really do without the legion of plague spots currently covering my face.  (And by legion, I mean three.  That’s totally a legit use of “legion.”  Just sayin’).

I’ve found that there are a bunch of near-identical “You-need-to-drink-lots-of-water!” and “You-might-feel-sick-or-dizzy-but-that’s-normal!” Bikram advice pages out there.  Strangely enough, not one of them mentioned the possible occurrence of Plague Face.  I can’t imagine why.  I really wish I’d been warned about it before embarking on this crazy adventure, though.  So for anyone who’s out there googling “Inconvenient side effects of Bikram,” here’s my super-fun list so far:

  • Permanent blisters on the backs of my heels.  They’re caused by my feet rubbing on the carpet during situps – after exercising for an hour in what is essentially a sauna, my skin is baby-soft and super-delicate.  Just to make it more fun, of course, bandaids refuse to stay put in a river of sweat.
  • Unexpected nana naps on the weekend.  I’m an insomniac.  I have a hard time getting to sleep at 3am, let alone two in the afternoon.  And I never wake up well.  I was pretty much convinced “waking up feeling refreshed” was an urban myth.  But now I’ll sit down with a good book in the middle of the day and suddenly wake up three hours later, feeling AWESOME.  WTF, brain?
  • The dishes pile up for DAYS.  I get home from class at 8pm, drink some juice, have a shower, faff around on the internet, write a blog post… and suddenly it’s midnight.  I don’t know what happens, you guys.  It’s like there’s some sort of weird post-Bikram drop where time magically disappears and chores magically don’t get done.
  • Bikram stigmata.  Nuff said.
  • My flat.  It reeks.  ALL THE TIME.  I don’t have a laundry.  I don’t have a garden or courtyard.  I don’t have a balcony.  My flat consists of a lounge/kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom.  A bathroom with poor ventilation.  And the miasma caused by having a constant stream of manky* towels/clothes drying out in my shower is having a definite effect on the ambience of my little apartment.
  • Constantly feeling cold.  Everyone complains about the heat in our office.  I sit at my desk wearing my jacket.  And a scarf.  Shivering.
  • Sudden and uncontrollable urge to blog.  Pretty self-explanatory, really.

Mind you, the one thing I was warned about – but didn’t for a moment believe – was that I would fall in love with the practice regardless.  And that happened too.  And it’s totally worth it.  Go figure.


*And not just any sort of mank!  That special, Bikram-brand of mank that reeks of feet and evil.



  1. I completely get where you’re coming from, with the dishes and not knowing where your time goes! I started making a costume for my students’ class play, and the sewing machine has been sitting on the kitchen table, untouched, for 3 days!

    • Hahahaha I love it! My ironing pile got so large that I was literally struggling to find wearable clothes for work. So I put all the wrinkled clothes on my couch so I couldn’t possibly avoid doing it any longer. Yeah… that was last week. They’re still there :P

  2. I just got your comment on my blog, went to check yours out – and this was just brilliantly hilarious! I think you’re my blogging sister from another mister. I’ve been trying to wean myself off of those three hours naps, and I don’t think the stigmata will ever go away…:) Good luck finishing your 60 day, you’re over halfway there! I’ll be reading!

    • Awwww, you’re the sweetest! I’ve stalked your blog since you did Teacher Training, so maybe I’ve been influenced by your fabulous writing style ;) And thanks for the luck… I’m sure I’ll need it!!

  3. So I’m not alone in freezing after starting bikram? I’ve only been to a handful of classes, but suddenly my work is properly heated (used to be unbearably hot) and I’m complaining all the time about being cold.

    Glad I’m not crazy! :) Also glad your practice is going well! Congratulations on day 33!

    • Thanks hon! And fear not, a severe case of freezing-itis is definitely the norm with Bikramites. It’s not usually that much of a problem for me here in Australia, but we’re coming up to winter now… I’m scared!

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