I sweat like a pig. You’re probably thinking – that is obvious – everyone sweats like a pig in Bikram Yoga class! And that is true. But I sweat like a pig outside of class! Whenever my body gets just a little bit warm, it’s like a floodgate has opened and the sweat just pours out. And I mean out of every pore!
I never used to sweat before I started Bikram – not even a dancer’s glow. I could be in the rainforest with temperatures in the 90s and 99% humidity, and I was fresh as a daisy. But no more. In some ways, this is good. Sweating is a healthy way to rid the body of toxins, and it is the best and most natural way to cool down. But in other ways, it is not so good. Particularly when you are in an important meeting in a slightly warm room and you can feel the sweat dripping down your back. That can be kind of embarrassing.
I think the reason for this change is that I actually sweat like a dog. Not just any dog, but Pavlov’s dog. In case you skipped Psych-101, here is the quick and dirty according to Wikipedia and Simply Psychology. Ivan Pavlov was a Russian physiologist who studied classical conditioning in the 1890s. His best known work centered on salivation in dogs. In his experiments, Pavlov rang a bell and then gave the dog food. After several repetitions, the dogs started to salivate when they heard the bell, even if no food was offered to them. In other words, the dogs started to associate the bell with food and their bodies would respond as such. I think this has happened to me. My body now responds to heat like it is in Bikram yoga class, even if there isn’t a studio around for miles!
This all occurred to me as my family and I were hiking on vacation over the holidays. It was in the 80s and fairly humid but not too hot really. All was fine until we started ascending a hill. I felt my body heating up and then all of a sudden, the flood, just like in class. Nobody else on the hike had even broken a sweat! I said to my family, “I am sweating like a pig! Why are none of you sweating?” They said, “That sounds like a blog post” So here we are…
Fellow yogis, do you sweat like a pig outside of class?