After I practice in the mornings, I fix myself parmesan-dusted eggs, bacon, buttered toast, and fierce coffee with hot milk. No more new-age rations for this glowing lotus: My body craves robust fare, far better fuel for the studio’s heat. I also down juice by the quart and coconut water from a frozen mug. In the locker room, I hear tell of mixing that righteous coconut water with vodka.
Yoginis party, and the odd one smokes. They also teach kickboxing and take extreme-sports vacations. And then there’s Bikram himself, sporting the diamond Rolex, flaunting Matisse-colored clothes, provoking everyone, having fun. The practice is in harmony with a certain joie de vivre, a lust for flavor and color and the new, the ethos of an experience junkie.
I have always loved the sparkle of diamonds—there, my inner material girl emerges from her closet. I have one that is particularly beautiful, an antique stone from my grandmother. It catches every photon and pitches back swift rainbows. The diamond is the epitome of transformation, and transformation is a goal of yoga.
Diamond begins as coal, a degenerate miscellany, black, dirty, combustible. Time and nature press on this matter, so it becomes crystalline and unified, neat, stronger than strong, of an unparalleled physical integrity. Yoga too begins with miscellany—muscle and bone, weakness and will, mind and body and spirit—and may, like time and nature, cleanse, compact, unify, strengthen.
Recently, a teacher commended me on a pose that is one of my favorites. That evening, I started wearing my grandmother’s diamond. I knotted the chain so that the stone sits in the pulsing hollow of my throat, glittering, my heartbeat visible.
With yoga and diamonds and bacon and eggs, I live. I sparkle, therefore I am.