Do Thumbs Sweat?

We love this hilarious article, written by BYR student Peter Kaufman. Peter owns a local marketing firm and wrote a humor column in the past. After discussing via email how BYR can better market to men, he graciously shared this funny article. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Do thumbs sweat? Reflections of a 50 year-old married man with four children after five sessions of Bikram Yoga By Peter Kaufman Before last Saturday, the thought of Bikram Yoga (or hot yoga) was about as important to me as a shoe sale. I knew people went there, but wasn’t sure why. Last Saturday, our friends and their daughter invited my 14 year-old to a Bikram Yoga class. Never one to miss an opportunity to embarrass one of my children, I said, “And I’m coming, too.” I think those were tears of joy my daughter shed at the thought of me going to class with her. We bought yoga mats, found some towels and water bottles and headed to class. (Because I work from home with a wife and four kids, the thought of 90 minutes of silence somehow appealed to me…but that’s beside the point.) We were warmly welcomed and given a few brief instructions: don’t leave the class, only do what you can do, and stay hydrated. Wise words. We went into the studio and it was hot. Not, “My, it’s a bit warm in here,” but hot. The studio is kept at a constant 105 degrees and 50 percent humidity. You don’t know heat until you start working out in it. Exquisite Hell ˜After 30 minutes (or a year, it’s hard to tell) of standing warm-up stretches, you start to ponder deep questions like, “Am I having a stroke?” “How long is 90 minutes? “Are my thumbs really sweating?” I looked around and saw lots of people stretching and doing their best to complete each of the 26 positions. I did my best and so did my daughter. But it was hard. I mean IT WAS HARD. But you know what? It was incredibly freeing pushing yourself past what you think you can do. As I looked around the room I noticed that there were about 80% women. I guess Bikram isn’t something most guys know about. Like me, they probably figure it’s just for Berkeley-graduating, Grateful Dead-listening, Trader Joe’s shopping, left-wing fitness nuts. I’d like to dispel a few myths and present: The Top 10 Reasons Men Should Try Bikram Yoga 1. It’s 90 minutes all about you – face it guys, the world does revolve around you, but here’s your chance to prove it. When is the last time you spent 90 minutes looking into a mirror and really accomplishing something? 2. You’ll stretch places you didn’t know you had places – If you’re like me, as flexible as a surfboard, there’s work to do. Do you spend all day with a phone jammed between your ear and shoulder? Hunched over a computer? After only a few sessions, I noticed that my spine could actually straighten out and feel better. 3. Everyone is so nice – Is everyone nice to you all day? From the minute you walk in until you leave, it’s a relaxed atmosphere and everyone seems truly happy that you’re there. 4. It’s hard work – I go at 6:00 am and by the time I get out of there, I’m feeling like I can handle anything else that happens during the day. Not sure if it’s the endorphins kicking in our what, but I don’t care. It works. 5. You’ll have to lose weight – Unless you eat a tub or two of lard every day, it would be almost impossible to put on weight doing Bikram Yoga on a regular basis. 6. Realize that the world will continue to spin for 90 minutes without you – If your life is chaos and jammed with family and business obligations, you won’t have too many opportunities this pure to just focus on getting stronger and more flexible. If there is an emergency I suppose the outside world could find you, but I haven’t seen it happen yet. 7. Stuff gets figured out in there – I don’t know how it happens, but things I’ve been struggling with at work magically seem to get worked out. I’m sure it’s the subconscious sweating and flexing that does the trick. The combination of hard work and quiet are a potent combination. 8. It’s great for reducing stress – Are you one of the 2% of the world without family, business, health or financial stress? I hate you. The rest of us need a good way to feel better without resorting to pills, bottles and unhealthy ways of getting rid of stress. My wife has told me that I seem 7% calmer. Another year or two and I’ll be swami-like in my inner peace. (Or at least double-digits better at staying calm.) 9. I love lavender – Again, not something I thought I’d ever say. At the 89-minute mark of each workout, you’ll be lying on your back sweating into your towel and an angel will bring you a cold, lavender-scented wet washcloth. If you don’t think it’s the best feeling in the world, you have to try it. 10. It’s something you can do forever – I’ve tried a lot of diets, workouts, gyms, and this is by far the toughest, best and hardest thing I’ve ever done. There is a great feeling that comes from accomplishing something physical. The bottom line guys? Give it a try. If you don’t think it’s terrific, no harm. But it just might be the thing that can lead to a stronger, more flexible body that you keep in better shape a whole lot longer. My personal goal is modest: To dance with my wife at my 2 year-olds wedding without having to use a walker or an oxygen tank.