Notes from Darren: Top Ten Tips for Newbies

These tips are written with the ‘new to Bikram’ Yogi in mind.  For those more experienced? no harm to refresh your memory but you will probably have already integrated these tips to your practice so you can visit our website to find lots of other articles/learn/tips to enhance your experience.

1~ THE FUNDAMENTAL. Never force or strain. Be patient. You’re new to this and may just be developing a body-mind connection where you never had one before. Tuning into your body will take more than one class. If Bikram Yoga is to benefit you then you must understand and accept it is a challenge at the outset. You develop your sensitivity to your body over time and this sensitivity will keep you safe as you go deeper. Until then know that working with the heat and following the instructions will keep you safe too.

2~ THE TWO SETS. In the 1st set think of yourself as an explorer. As you steadily move into the asana you are finding the parts of your body you need to engage and use in sequence and testing their limits today. You’re new; so maybe the journey today is only going to carry you as far as trying to find a grip and find your balance (perhaps further, perhaps not). By the 2nd set you know where you are at, you have explored, you have been there before; don’t hesitate now; go straight there and work on the boundary mark you found, in time you will go further and deeper into that previously unexplored territory.

3~ THE HEAT. Your new. Let the heat do most of the work, trust the heat, go with the heat, surrender to the heat, relax into the heat. The heat is inevitable. Embrace the heat. It is your new best friend.

4~ THE BREATH. Inhale; your in breath is energising and gives you power and strength in the posture. Exhale; your out breath is relaxing, carrying you further and deeper into the posture. A good exhale releasing fear, anger, tension, stress and toxins. Never ever hold your breath in Bikram beginning Yoga class. Surrender to the breath and the pose will come.

5~ THE WATER. You are responsible for coming to your practice properly hydrated. Don’t drink water until after Eagle (4th posture). Ensure you bring adequate water supply with you. You’re new so that’s all you need to know right now.

6~ THE MEDITATION THROUGH ACTION. Try to ‘BE’ in the moment and home your focus in on the small detail of the posture. Listen to the dialogue, follow the sequence of the words and if your mind wanders continually KEEP trying to draw it back in; come back to the breath always as a point of focus, concentration, meditation. Move in and out of the postures mindfully and gracefully and if you’re not feeling particularly graceful on the day – pretend you are, soon enough gracefulness will become part of your Yoga practice truth.

7~ THE RECHARGE. Making the most of the resting positions (either standing or Savasana); stop fidgeting. Use them as an opportunity to tune back into where your body is at now, making mental notes to adapt to any discomfort that has arisen. Use them for more slow deep breathing in and out through the nose which amongst other things relaxes the heart and sends ‘all is well’ messages to the brain.

8~ THE GAZE. The mirrors are an important tool in any beginning yoga class for checking your alignment front AND side profile. Don’t be afraid to take a sneak peek to the side mirrors if you are near them, but don’t let your eyes wander to much, if you have a view of yourself in front mirror use them to fix your gaze on some relevant point on your own reflection e.g. a point you are stretching (See our website ‘You & Us’ ‘Love People’ scroll down for more information on Mirrors as a tool or see blog Mirror Mirror). If you do not have a view of your own reflection, fix your gaze on something that does not move and relevant to the direction you are working in.

9~ THE TRUST. Learning to stop resisting, finding the places in the asana where you can relax and surrendering to the process is something that comes to everybody, but only with repetition and time given. Trust the process.

10~ THE CELEBRATION! Enjoy taking charge of the healing and nurturing of your mind, body and spirit.

After many years of practice I may still look like the new boy in the room sometimes and still feel ‘hit by the Yoga Truck’ now and then. Please don’t get frustrated or browbeat yourself, just take one class at a time. Regardless of ‘Yoga Truck’ effect, EVERY CLASS FOR ME IS A GOOD ONE. The benefits are still being generated even after the class has ended including those classes where you feel nothing gives and all you have done is maintenance; those classes being exactly the one’s your body needs the most today.

I hope this acts as an aid to give some insights for the new person in the room and I hope that these insights will very quickly become a truth for you too.

Namaste ~ Darren

#classbyclass #yogateachesyoupatience #lovethejourney #lovetheheat #lovetheoriginalhotyoga

1 September 2012