My friend Julie came with me to Bikram yoga for the first time ever today. She was a trooper! Wow. She stayed in the room and made it through the Standing Series without sitting down. I know the heat wiped her out, but I think she'll be back. I was proud of her.
Two years ago, when I first tried Bikram, I still had a child at home. I liked the yoga itself, but couldn't feature paying a babysitter for three hours a day while I went to a yoga class. I figured I'd do what I'd always done: pop in a yoga DVD, roll my mat out in my room, and do yoga by myself.
But now that everyone is conveniently in school and I've been going to the studio nearly every day for more than two months, one of the things that I treasure is the community. I know a lot of other students by name: Eva (check out her yoga blog!), Megan, Dana, Rainy, Ebonee, Cheryl, Philip, Jamie, Brown, Mitra, Corinne, and others. There are others I know by sight: Hawaii Towel Guy, Awesome Afro Lady, Bellagio Water Bottle Gal, and others.
I don't know them all that well, although we chat a bit before and after class. But I feel a bond with them, because every day, we're there together doing something hard. It's like being soldiers in the trenches (but of course on a much smaller scale); the challenge of something so physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding unites us, and I get a huge charge out of that.
And that charge--that sense of community--will keep me coming back, long after the challenge is over.