With only a few weeks left in my daughter’s summer internship in New York City, I knew I had to make good on my promise I’d made in May. I’d attend a Bikram Yoga class with her.
A yoga devotee for nearly 30 years, I am not too fussy about classes. I go to my local Y and alternate with a couple private places, selecting sessions based on schedules more than style or instructor. One place in town offers hot classes, where the room is heated to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The theory is that the heat warms muscles and helps rid the body of toxins. On a cold winter day, there’s nothing like a hot class. On a hot humid July day, however, the heat can be overwhelming.
Her second summer in NY, she’s become adept in navigating public transportation, riding subways and buses, finding inexpensive places to eat, and attending more cultural events than ever before. She’s become a big Bikram advocate, convinced it prepares her for the day, providing a spiritual grounding that relieves stress while strengthening and toning. She says it makes her “glow.”
The evening started at Republic, an Asian fusion place that easily qualifies for one of those restaurants whose noise level harms hearing. Loud and cavernous, we began with drinks- I had a ginger martini and she had a frozen lychee margarita – and then entrees pad Thai for her and curried salmon for me.
I’d heard about Traces, the latest offering by the Montreal-based 7 Fingers company, an amalgam of circus acts, dance, and music and thought it would be a fun outing. A spare, grungy set circled the stage, complete with a piano whose body looked as if it were made from abandoned railroad ties. The seven acrobats, one woman and six men, use props like skateboards, basketballs and chairs to leap around each other, catching each other mid-air, and dangle from a pair of poles, defying gravity as they hang upside down like bats, secured only by their feet, and then slither down the pole, hovering about six inches from the floor. I imagined they need a lot of yoga and massages to keep themselves so supple like rubber bands.
Here’s a YouTube link of the show:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hgxhPlYJw0
No Manhattan evening is complete without dessert and Lydia knew just where to go. Made famous by the late Nora Ephron movie, You’ve Got Mail, Café Lalo offers at least 30 cakes and 20 cheesecakes. We shared a chocolate milk shake and a piece of plain cheesecake with fresh blueberries.
Returning to the apartment, Lydia set two alarms for 5:15. We got everything ready- yoga mats, our clothes, and water bottles. She packed her makeup, shampoo, jewelry, and clothes for work. As we made our way to the studio, she warned me. In Bikram, the room is heated to 106 degrees. It’s a strict regimen of 26 poses. Lydia was worried I’d feel as if I couldn’t breathe or would get dizzy. She had convinced three college friends to go to a class previously and none of them, all athletes, could handle the heat.
I assured her I wasn’t worried, and had nothing to prove. I was happy to be going with her.
It’s hot. And 90 minutes is long. You don’t just sweat. You puddle. But I kept breathing and was doing fine. Until about halfway through, I hear the instructor ask Lydia if she was ok.
Why wouldn’t she be ok?
She says she forgot something. So now, my concentration is broken as I wonder and worry. What did she forget?
At one point, a bit later on, when we’re turning around- Lydia had lined up my mat directly behind hers, I mouth to her “what’s wrong?”
She cups her hands under her breasts, ands whispers, “I forgot my bra.”
Ok, not a major crisis.
The class ends. She doesn’t have enough time to return to the apartment and Victoria’s Secret doesn’t open until 10 am. It’s 7:30. Lydia buys a sports bra from Bikram. It’s deep purple with skinny straps and looks as if she planned to wear it under the sheer lavender dress she’d brought for work.
We had time for a bagel and coffee; she headed to the subway and I caught the cross-town bus, then the train home. Though I’d quickly showered at the yoga studio, I felt overheated.
While I’m on the train to New Jersey, I get a text message from Lydia:
“Are you glowing from the yoga?”
I respond. “No, I’m sweating.”
Yet I glowed.