It is my belief that whatever you need in life, Bikram will deliver. For me, Bikram is my coach and my mirror. Here I share with you my top five personal insights:
1. It’s ok to be uncomfortable and I’m not going to die. In the beginning, Bikram yoga challenged me to cope with the heat. My immediate response in the fight or flight reaction was to flee from the heat. Get me out of this place I’m going to barf! Yet, the calm students standing around me helped me to question my reaction. Why should I flee when all of these people are standing here so calmly?
2. I’m not perfect and never will be. The second challenge for me was to not prove to everyone in the room and the teacher that I could do everything perfectly. I’ve heard other students and teachers say, “Leave your ego at the door”. It took me awhile to figure out that this wasn’t a performance yoga, but rather a healing yoga. Nobody cares what you are doing…they are focusing on themselves.
3. Your choices throughout the day affect your class and how you feel. The third challenge was to make the connection between the choices I made previous to class and my actual experience in class. It hit me one day as I was standing in class, “Maybe I shouldn’t eat Bolognese and pasta before coming to class… in fact, maybe I eat too much most of the time?” “Maybe four cups of coffee isn’t helping me here?” Everything in moderation.
4. Keep it positive and don’t think so much. The fourth realization was re-training my thoughts. How easy it is to start to drift off and think about what needs to be done when I leave class…or what I need to do tomorrow. Or how easy it is to overthink a posture so that I immediately fall out because I’m not concentrating…I’m analyzing. Bikram yoga trained me to be present. I learned to slowly train my mind to continuously refocus and catch myself when I am drifting from my focus which is a valuable tool I utilize throughout my day.
5. Breathe. I’ve been doing Bikram yoga now for over 10 years and I’m just learning how to control my breathing. As I have been becoming more aware of my breath I have learned that I can easily calm myself down even though my heart is pounding. When life throws challenges at us, how easy it is to lose our breath and start to panic.
Whatever you need in life, Bikram will rise to the challenge and deliver. No other form of exercise makes me feel as good as when I step out of the Bikram studio. I hope to see you on the mat next to me soon!
The heat, the water, the mirrors, and the 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises equal the greatest gift for your body and soul. For 90 minutes
you are shutting out the constant bombardment of life and concentrating on your personal wellness. Though the use of mirrors and guided yoga, you are able to transform your body, in looks, strength, and flexibility; promoting a positive sense of well-being. Through this practice, you become present in yourself and your mind. You begin to recognize and eventually accept the light within yourself. Bikram Yoga is the greatest marathon that you will run.
Your journey will begin with whatever it was that brought you to your first class, wanting flexibility, strength, weight loss; it could evolve to personal (and possibly spiritual) enlightenment. I know it did for me.
I took my first Bikram yoga class in 2011 after a nasty bout of pneumonia. A habitual runner, Bikram yoga offered me a whole new challenge, and simultaneously alleviated the chronic upper respiratory problems I had suffered from since a child. The first winter I regularly practiced Bikram yoga was the first winter I didn't get sick. I can confidently say that a regular Bikram yoga practice helps me work towards radiant overall physical health and maintain healthy loving relationships with myself and others.
Bikram Yoga has changed my life. Not only is my blood pressure and cholesterol lower than it was 15 years ago before I started Bikram yoga, I feel better than I ever have in my life! Research now supports what we have always known; Bikram yoga helps to reduce anxiety and depression and decrease PTSD symptoms. I feel calmer and more peaceful than ever, happier and more confident in my body than ever, and gratitude for the healing I have done through my Bikram yoga practice. It is truly a healing practice.