I started taking Bikram Yoga four weeks ago. Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises done in the same order in a room heated to 105 degrees. The heat is to help detoxification and it helps to loosen the muscles to make them more flexible.
As I am an experienced yogini and I am pretty flexible, Bikram has come fairly easily to me. But, sometimes the body just doesn’t coöperate. Every day is different in Yoga. Some days I am super flexible while others I am tight. It’s all about self acceptance and awareness. If you fall out of a pose, start over. If you can’t reach your toes, aim for your shins. If you can’t balance on the right leg, maybe you will be able to balance on the left leg. And, if you are really struggling, slow down and only do as much as your body will let you do in that moment. Yoga is very forgiving.
Last night was a tough night on the mat for me. I was tired, cold and my muscles were sore before I even walked into the class. But, I went to class anyway because none of my excuses were good enough for me to skip it. For the first time since starting Bikram, I struggled through my whole practice last night. I just couldn’t get into my body. I wasn’t making the mind body connection. About half way through it I realized I was trying too hard and I just relaxed a bit. I stopped competing with myself and started nurturing myself. I slowed down. I didn’t keep the long holds. I didn’t push myself to my edge. I just allowed myself to be exactly where I was. I stayed in the moment. Instead of getting frustrated with myself or my body I just went with the flow and did what I could. Changing my thinking helped me redirect my energies and get more out of the practice. It also built up some endurance in me. I stuck it out and kept trying. That is a life lesson. We all need to nurture ourselves more. We all need to change our thinking once in a while and give ourselves a break. We all need to stick it out and build up endurance. The key to endurance is really in the mind not the body. The mind can push the body past its self-imposed limits.
The nice thing about Bikram is that it is the same 26 Poses each time so you can see and feel your progress. While practice was challenging for me last night, I did notice major improvements in my Balance and Back Bending poses. That made the 90 minutes in 105 degrees and sore muscles today worth it:-)
While Kripalu Yoga is my favorite style of Yoga, all Yoga is good Yoga. But, I must say I do love the sweat of Bikram and I enjoy Warm/Hot Vinyasa(flow yoga) as well. I always feel like I sweat something out of me when I leave class. It feels cleansing.
Bikram Yoga is teaching me that even at 45 years old it’s not too late to challenge myself and start over.
- What is the difference between a Bikram studio and an independent hot yoga studio? (wells-hotyoga.co.uk)
- Day 2: 30-Day Bikram Yoga Challenge (jacklynmccann.wordpress.com)
- Day 1: 30-Day Bikram Yoga Challenge (jacklynmccann.wordpress.com)
- Bikram, Yoga to the People settle copyright lawsuit (theconfluencecountdown.com)
- Bikram Yoga Tips (dominicspoweryoga.com)