Ah, yoga. It is known to help the mind. Pictures of meditating yogis and people who look to be at peace with themselves was all I’d seen before taking my first class in 2001 and I didn’t relate to them, at all. I was apprehensive to try my first yoga class because I was pretty sure I’d be do it wrong, I wouldn’t find peace, and I’d be uncomfortable.
💦I sure was uncomfortable in my first class, but I learned right away that I could find this so-called mindfulness or state of meditation without sitting still. I could actually find it just by attempting to focus while in a posture.
💆The practice of Raja Yoga is to gain control of the mind and emotions. It can be achieved with any practice. At QCY, we refer to this as ✌Peace and Perseverance💪. It is the biggest gift I have given myself through the practice of yoga and pilates. It is with the most simplest things, that you can find peace within yourself and the strength to persevere. These are your 5 simple tools to find this incredible gift.
This is one of the most unusual aspects of the Bikram Method. In many practices of yoga a mirror is discouraged because it is believed to create or encourage ego. And ego is bad! You know what i say to that? Give me a list of the people you know who stand in front of a mirror and recite to themselves how amazing they are for 90 minutes, or how about 5? When you stand in front of the mirror, practice looking at yourself in the eyes. What is like? What goes through your mind? What is like to stay positive? Are you uncomfortable? What if you were only positive? There is no way you can look at yourself in the mirror day after day and not fall in love with yourself. Build a little ego. It’ll help you stay right there.
The same postures each time and a different body with different emotions each day. Repetition forces us to deal with what is happening in the moment. We can’t think our way out of it or do something else just because we don’t like how we feel. Through repetition we learn how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Then we learn how to progress in the posture by feeling the sensations of our body rather than reacting to the responses of our mind. We go from: “this teacher is nuts. There is no way I can do this. I have a knee injury. I’m allergic to gluten!” to: “Wow, this hard. This is a far as my leg will stretch today. I’ll just try to hang right here at my edge.”
Feel yourself breathe. When we focus on breathing through the nose, under control it’s a gateway to peace, to feeling calm. Anytime your breath starts to get out of control back off, slow down, woah-up, hoss. Whether you pant like a dog or breathe calm, the class is the same length. It’s actually easier to maintain the postures and receive the benefits when you just focus on moving only while your breath is under your control. How can I get a workout if I am not breathing hard? The more your breath is under your control, the more your movements are under your control, the easier it becomes to use your body therefore, you maximize the medical benefits.
It’s a big word: Focus. And what I can tell you about this is, just keep trying. Focus on your reflection. Focus on your breath. Focus on the words you hear your teacher say. Focus on how your body feels. Again and again and again. You mind will try to think. It’ll think about things outside of the Hot Room. It’ll think about things inside the Hot Room. I should’ve never eaten beans for lunch. I should’ve never dated that jerk. I’ll never be thin enough. Did I say the right thing? Why didn’t I say I love you? What the heck is wrong with my toe? Where did I leave my wallet? Just. Keep. Trying. Focus on your reflection. Focus on your breath. Focus on the words you hear your teacher say. Focus on how your body feels. Again and again and again. And again.
Recognize your growth and changes after every single class. Notice how you feel, by now. You looked in the mirror. You practiced repetition.. You tried to control your breath. You focused on what you were doing the best you could. Just notice how you feel by now. What’s it like? Do you feel better? Good? Different? What changed? What did you learn? How different was today than yesterday? Last week? Note your growth and give yourself some props. You, like me, know it was a journey with ups and downs
Being okay with who you are and knowing you have the strength to show yourself through when times are tough is a huge gift. You do this in the Hot Room and then you are able to do this outside of the Hot Room. You have the tools to look an uncomfortable moment in the eye, take a breath, focus on what’s important in the moment and then feel good about your response. This. THIS is peace and perseverance. You’re not just okay with what you do, you know you had the courage to show yourself that when you give what you have in the moment, it’s enough. You are enough.