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By Contributing Mama Karen Palmer Bland

When I was in my early 30s, single and living in the uber-cool Minneapolis, I loved Bikram yoga. I was taking the hottest class (literally) offered in town. Six years and four kids later, this body could use a return to the 90 minute-alone-time in ANY temperature…so I decided to go back.

But with four little kids, getting away ain’t easy. So on my birthday, my husband gave me the priceless gift of the “free pass” and I talked my friend, Anne, into joining me to find our inner selves at Bikram in the 105-degree studio. A mere $18 seemed like a small price to pay to find Namaste, balance, strength, tranquility, peace…all of those words that you see on Whole Foods’ magnets.

When we showed up we learned that enlightenment comes with rules. We were told that we couldn’t drink water in between poses, we couldn’t wipe our sweat and we couldn’t sit near each other. (Are you kidding? Were they scared we would break open the Cinnabons and overpower the sweaty smell, too?) My inner self told me not to ask about bringing my cell phone into the studio…that they wouldn’t care that the pre-school might need to find me. I would have to be a downward dog and unreachable to the world for 90 minutes.

I looked around and noticed that everyone had a plain white towel over their mats. I hoped that no one noticed my over-sized pink towel from the Juicy Couture outlet store that said, “BORN TO SURF AND SHOP” in cute, swirly letters. Can you say Faux-pas? Make that Yo-pas. The class was hard. It was friggin hot. And it was smelly. But I have to admit, I was enjoying my own, sweaty space. No one was bothering me, clinging to me, hanging on me, crying to me, whining at me. It was heaven.

And just when I thought I had achieved tranquility and inner peace, the teacher announced (over her yoga-phone), “Karen…please remove that noisy charm bracelet.” Eesh. I had forgotten to take off the Tiffany charm bracelet with the 4 charms on it – the ones that have my kids’ initials and birthdays on them. All I could think was, “Doesn’t anyone want to know about this noisy charm bracelet? About its significance? About the fact that I have 4 kids under 6? Aren’t you yogis curious about the fact that I am here with no phone and now no jewelry, with 4 little kids? Isn’t that amazing?”

I want to shout out to the rest of the class… Go ahead and take a drink.  Wipe your sweat.  Clang your loud jewelry. It’s my birthday. Namaste to me.

11 Responses to taking time for myself? no sweat.

  • Marinka says:

    OMG, I almost hyperventilated just reading this. Why can’t you wipe your brow and drink? That sounds very sweat-lodge to me. A friend of mine loves Bikram but she says that they drink tons.

    And I would think that a clangy bracelet would make everything better.

  • I can not imagine a worst way to spend my ‘alone time’. Having people tell me what to do? Um, no thanks.

    I find my Namaste in the bottom of a margarita thank you very much. And I can wipe my sweat ALL I WANT I tell the bartender.

    Happy for you though. 🙂

  • I’ve taken Bikram classes before, but your class sounds like military Bikram. What the hell? I’ve heard you’re not supposed to drink water during the series of warm-up poses. But, ummm, how about letting people drink water so they don’t pass out???!!!! Geez…

  • Daphne says:

    Happy Birthday. I was totally addicted to bikram and could only relax when the studio had to shut down for construction and I was free…

  • Kim says:

    Namaste. And to think you still found it relaxing!
    Miss you. …
    love one of your uber-cool Minneapolis friends.

  • debby says:


    You are a gifted writer. Thanks for the smile. I too have attended this class, and it’s a struggle for me to neglect water for 90 minutes, so I don’t think I could do it again. But, I heart yoga.

  • Laurel says:

    So funny.
    I guess they would never let me in with my cap that has waterbottles attached on top with straws!
    I went there once to buy a gift certificate and the lobby smelled worse than the monkey house.
    No thanks!
    Great story though!

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kelcey kintner