I’ve been hearing a lot lately about Bikram, or “hot,” yoga. I am currently doing Pilates three times a week, but would like to try something more intense. What do you think?

Nothing refreshes the soul or limbers the body quite like the application of heat. I believe that the Swedes enjoy a good sauna mostly because it serves as a reminder of what’s facing them if they stray off the straight and narrow. One hot August day in the summer of my 13th year, my father — a wild-eyed man given to spontaneous Bible quotation and the occasional bear-attack flashback — threw me in the coal bin and nailed the lid shut, leaving me there to swelter in the darkness. (This would last for three days. He later explained that it had something to do with sexual urges, although he never elaborated.) When I finally was allowed to unpack myself from the bin, I discovered that my muscles had never felt better. Three days of aching deprivation and intense heat had cleansed my body of all toxins. Fully flushed, I felt as though I had been reborn. I was ready to take on the world. I don’t know what “yoga” is, but I can wholeheartedly endorse the “hot” part. If you can avoid it, though, I would dispense with the part where someone sits beside the coal bin loudly reading from the Book of Revelation. Seems like overkill to me.

President Abraham Lincoln offers wisdom on matters both grave and frivolous. (Note: Mr. Lincoln is not a licensed therapist.)