Why Bikram yoga?
Honestly I’ve never really been that interested in yoga, but Bikram seemed to offer yoga for non-yoga types. It seemed, well, hotter, harder and less about the stereotypical “oms”. There was some evidence it was beneficial for lower back issues, and I had some so that sounded good too. In fact it was a new year’s resolution to try out something new and less competitive but active. I went with a friend- she hated it, I loved it. I loved the heat, I loved how hard it was to just balance on one leg, I loved that it was a “practice” and it was about listening to what your body could do on that day, at that moment and not what the person next to you could do and ironically I loved the mediation. For 90 minutes I think of nothing. Just my breathing. So I came for my body and I stay for my mind. The Bikram buzz is what I think it’s called.
How do you find working with a set sequence?
You know I never really think about it being the same postures. Each time it feels a bit different, sometimes easier, sometimes harder and mostly it is just about feeling the posture. That is the trick I guess, for me at least, not over thinking the posture. Not setting the expectation for being slightly better than yesterday or touching my toes. Having the teacher guiding you through the sequence releases your responsibility for remembering the sequence, it frees you up to explore it. I like that hearing and practising the same sequence allows you to hear different things each time. Often after a class you will hear other students also comment on this – like I never really understood something before but something happens and you are ready to move to that next level and hear what has been in the sequence the whole time. Another thing I remember Karl saying in a session, and it has stuck with me inside and outside of yoga, is “Work Hard. Be Kind.” The set sequence gives you the repetition to work to the edge of your practice but be compassionate towards your practice too, knowing there is another set, another time to follow.
What does the heat bring to the practice for you?
Yeah, the heat. Yeah, the humidity. It’s a love/hate thing. It is what forces me to immediately connect with my breathing and I guess to my yoga practice. To control your breathing in the room is always a major victory! The “flight” urges are immense at times. Still the benefits outweigh this in terms of the deeper practice and the physical and mental endurance.
How has practicing Bikram yoga impacted your life?
Physically my lower back issues are so much better managed through attending Bikram classes. I’d like to think I am more mobile, flexible. Fitter. Calmer. Happier. More Present. And if not always, at least I know I have the tools and potential to become those things! Lifelong practice indeed. Count me in.