Wax On. Wax Off.

I’m a lazy kinda person you know. Or at least I have the potential to be lazy; I kinda fantasize a lot about putting my feet up and veggin’ on the sofa; but as I get older I find my tolerance for sitting around for long periods has sadly diminished :); not at all as refined as it was in my 20s :). You might find this odd given that I am a student of Bikram Yoga and “isn’t that hard?” “isn’t it the most challenging beginning Yoga class in the world?”. Therefore “ you must be very sporty, fit… etc? not ‘lazy’ surely?”

A lot of people (not everybody) take up Bikram Yoga as a compliment to their other physical activities, sports etc. to help them optimize their body’s performance; Bikram Yoga is a terrific way to round off your physical fitness. E.g. here are some benefits of a regular Bikram Yoga practice that sporty types can expect to enjoy:

• learn to recognize what is their dominant side
• explore and know their flexible limits
• maintain full spinal flexibility
• improve flexibility and range of motion in tighter joints
• assist with lengthening of muscles that have become tight/short
• help prevent and reduce sports injury
• help with recovery from injury
• improved strength and endurance
• improved concentration
• perhaps achieve a longer playing life as strength and vitality is sustained for longer
• ever growing sense of well being
• helps a person to know and accept who they are
• more keenness for life and what it has to offer
• restored confidence and hope
• better all round mental and physical health

What’s not to like about this list?
Some people come just to have something/time for themselves where they give everything else away to others. Other folks take it up with the idea that this will be their holistic way of looking after their fitness and wellbeing (a VERY wise move I would say – and how I wish I had known better and fallen into that category when I was younger). But if you have read my profile online and my other recent post “Yoga is not about being flexible it is about being willing” you will know that I ended up in the Yoga for the head stuff. So in some ways the physical challenge of it was not a primary concern for me (although it cannot be ignored ! :); pre-Yoga I fell into the ‘couch potatoe’ category of fitness). The mental benefits were a driving force to getting me into each class way back when and today this is still a truth for me; I live in the same world as y’all with the same demands that are placed upon us to meet certain ‘standards’ to be able live within the same society. Mortgages have to be paid, food has to be put on the table, children have to be clothed and kept in up-to-date accessories to their living 🙂 , Yoga rooms have to be leased, heated and maintained.

Yet I still fall into the category of ‘I’m not sporty’. After Yoga, I’m more booky 🙂 I like to read. I love to pootle around second hand shops looking for old books or quirky bits ‘n bobs or old furniture that I might feel inspired to do up at some yet to be disclosed to me point in the future (our garage is shrinking!!!); I’m a world class potterer and a wannabe furniture re-upholsterer, painter, decoupager – I’ve just never gotten around to actually learning the necessary skills to be able to do these things. Maybe if I have time when I’m 90 :).

For non-sporty people in a world where we all know that we need to do something to keep the body in good working order, Yoga can give them the physicality they need. Being able to ‘get in the body and move it’ to the best of their ability on the day, allowing them to make a personal effort to maintain mobility or giving them an opportunity to try to GET IT BACK if things have been left slide a bit too long. There is no one cracking a whip saying “perform, perform”, no pressure, no competition. All you have to do is just turn up. One of Bikram’s more famous sayings is “Never to old, never too bad, never too late, never too sick to start again” … I could add “never too lazy, never too booky 🙂 ” YOGA is for EVERYONE. Sometimes in this life when getting started you’re better off not thinking of the bigger picture; Don’t think of it as “I have to take up Yoga and do it for the rest of my life, oh God that’s a long time”. Think of it more as “I must just get to Yoga Matters TODAY”.

In all sincerity I don’t DO anything other than Bikram Yoga. I’m a ‘Yogahead’ if you like. If I didn’t have Bikram Yoga in my life I just don’t know where I’d be at. Family always aside, Yoga gives me everything I need physically and mentally. Teaching is as essential to me as practice and you cannot teach this Yoga if you do not come from a place of empathy and recent knowledge i.e. recent personal practice. It’s no good talking the talk; you have to practice what you preach and walk the walk, even if you trip occasionally :). (I constantly strive to apply this in all areas of my life. I am not just paying lip service at the studio :), you cannot compartmentalise a Yoga lifestyle, that’s not how it works. Yes, I fail miserably now and then, but that’s another story :).)

At least with Bikram Yoga you always get another chance to start again. Through the repetition (my ‘Wax on, Wax off’ 🙂 ) you refine the technique, smooth the rough edges, polish the shine. From a purely body sustenance point of view I love the physicality of it, learning about how it all works and knowing that I am doing the best thing I can to upkeep my body, after all that’s where I have to live. For a very long time yet to come. I am Yogi.

In Pursuit of Stillness @ YM ~ Trisha

March 2014