BIKRAM YOGA IS, amongst many other things, about strength, flexibility, balance and stamina which contribute HUGEly to one’s overall health and fitness. This is a challenging beginning Yoga class and day in day out with new practitioners (and sometimes old) we constantly refrain the cautions and common sense approach needed for those developing their newfound body mind connection.
People with conditions and injury can and do practice this Yoga and in fact a very large percentage of the people who come to their first class are coming because they have some pre-existing issue/history/injury. Some are sent along by a doctor, physio-therapist, chiropractor or someone who has said they should try Yoga for their ailment, but a large number of those turning up with an issue do not have a proper/formal diagnosis.
As always stressed in these circumstances ‘we are not qualified to diagnose’. A proper diagnosis would be great so that both practitioner and instructor know what we are dealing with/best course to proceed. Even without a formal diagnosis, however, please note we ARE formally trained as Yoga instructors and are experienced in what we do. We are able to give generic cautions (where there is a non-specific undiagnosed issue/condition related to a specific area) and modifications where necessary (including for diagnosed conditions/injuries) to enable people to safely have a go and try this Yoga for size. We are responsible adults and well capable of telling a potential practitioner they may need to take themselves off to a health professional for formal analysis as soon as too!
Clearly with injuries/conditions some postures may have to be altered as well as modifying attitude to how one approaches their practice. Don’t Forget ‘tho! there are no advanced poses in the Bikram sequence although some may appear advanced if an individual is particularly tight, weak or physically unstable. REMEMBER! It’s all relative. We are here to assist all bodies at whatever their starting point to help them get stronger, flexible and more stable.
YOGA ADAGES & ISSUES
~ THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A YOGA INJURY, THERE ARE ONLY EGO INJURIES
We constantly nurture a common sense prevails attitude in the practitioners. It took me 3 years at the outset of my practice to learn to let go of ego in class; (oh the power of old habits/patterns/ways of doing things! how hard it is to just let them go before they drag you down).
~ YOGA DOESN’T HURT. THE BODY HURTS.
There is clearly something wrong if an action you attempt in Yoga causes you pain; LISTEN to the feedback from your body. Stop creating that action. Stop forcing. Stop muscling yourself in. There are other things you can do. OR try doing nothing in that instance! One of the hardest things for me to do as an instructor is to persuade an individual to stand still and NOT DO anything (oh we’re great ‘doers’ in the west).
Something that reached my ears recently : someone had referred to a pose as ‘Aggressive’ and so I make up a new maxim ~ A POSE IS NOT AGGRESSIVE!! UNFORTUNATELY, PRACTITIONER MAY BE AGGRESSIVE IN APPROACH TO POSE. Well? just look at and consider the previous two adages for a moment! Yoga is NOT aggressive. Bikram Yoga is NOT aggressive. In Yoga we have ethics too! and Ahimsa (non-violence) needs to be practiced/observed; I have written plenty of blogs covering this in the past for you to consider if you wish to look them up.
All issues arising that people may wish to ‘hang on the Yoga’ are either pre-existing (and thus aggravated by not following common sense practices OR, more rarely, it is just their time to rear their head (because of years of overuse/poor postural habit) and it just coincided that you happened to be in your Yoga class) or they ARE AVOIDABLE issues which means as a practitioner faced with CHOICES in the moment you have to ask yourself did you make the right choice to avoid issue?
To ensure you ARE practicing YOGA in our environment: it is worth reminding you that you are not in an exercise class. In our studio you will practice 90 minutes of Asana. You will ALSO get 90 minutes of moving meditation, 90 minutes of conscious breathing, 90 minutes of mindfulness and 90 minutes of taking responsibility for yourself. If you employ the Bikram method in THE RIGHT WAY physically AND mentally, you will be absolutely fine.
TAKE A BLEND
I spend a lot of time having conversations with individuals advising them that they may need a little extra care of themselves besides practicing Yoga if there is a specific pre-existing issue in their body. Really they need to get a diagnosis before they get the right treatment. Depending on what presents I may suggest they need to go for assessment to a gp, wellness practitioner, physio-therapist, osteopath, chiropractor or go get a good deep tissue massage. We cannot MAKE people attend to themselves in other ways and sometimes our suggestions go unheeded; it is a personal choice. At YM we are well aware of what the rest of the wellbeing world has to offer for our practitioners and we are not working in isolation from those other professionals. Often a ‘blend’ of care is necessary to get back on the healing/therapeutic and subsequently ‘wellness’ track and then you just use your Yoga practice to maintain.
Unfortunately, I simply do not have the magic words to remove the EFFORT that Bikram Yoga requires; there is no such thing as a free lunch folks; so you will have to ‘get involved’. The only way we can demonstrate the benefits of Bikram Yoga is if people put the effort required in. Please get your blend of care right. Take responsibility for your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing.
GIVE YOURSELF A CHANCE. GIVE BIKRAM YOGA A CHANCE.
Practicing Asana is one of the best things you can do to maintain your mobile, stable and properly functioning spine and body. A healthy spine and body must be systematically and regularly moved through its full range of motion. Please don’t underestimate what we have to offer on your wellness journey. Please don’t underestimate yourSelf either.
Om Om Om RESPONSIBILITY IS THE PRICE OF FREEDOM