Last night the studio was packed as usual and there was virtually no space in the change room before class. Jen, one of the regulars (who does come to the Friday class), was spotted amongst the crowd putting lotion on her knees. When asked, she said it was because she had developed sores on various parts of her body from the yoga. "Bikram Stigmata!" I exclaimed.
Bikram stigmata? Well, it's a term I only learned myself a few months ago (from Twitter no less). Apparently, those of us who practice the yoga a lot, develop calluses where our skin regularly comes into contact with our mats. I have them on the tops of my feet from fixed firm, my knees from camel, my chin from locust, and the middle of my back from... I don't know where exactly. Lying in savasana?
Back to the packed change room last night. When the conversation of the stigmata came up, all the women present (and there were a lot) started comparing their marks and lesions. And those who didn't sport them, looked upon those of us who did in awe. Carol, who completed a 365-day challenge last October, told us she had to resort to wearing capris half-way through, as her knees were just too raw. Others talked about applying shea butter to help reduce the irritation or removing the towel over the mat during the offending poses to prevent the stigmata from worsening. We compared and we shared. It was a real Bikram bonding experience.
So the next time you're taking a class or in the change room, check out those around you to see if you can spot the signs of true Bikram devotion. If nothing else, it makes for great conversation.