I have been practicing Bikram Yoga since July 1998 with a 4 year hiatus somewhere in the middle.
I took it up because of insomnia (see my piece on ‘girl meets Yoga’) but I continued to practice for the ‘head stuff’ 🙂 the mental hygiene, the ‘shedding’, the peace of mind. All this I got from my very first class. Other head stuff came later: the truth, the bliss. I don’t get bliss every class, but the more I do the more frequent it comes. Whilst the head stuff is the best for me, the physical benefits cannot be overlooked, the awareness of breath and knowledge of one’s own body that comes with a regular practice.
The good general health and wellbeing that would be so easy for Yogis to take for granted (knowledge of previously lack of wellbeing and good allround health is a great reference point – don’t want to go there again!). In early days I started with 2 days a week, but in 6 months had built that to 3. By the time I was going on TTC and after I was practicing 5,6,7 times a week.
Later (2007-11) ‘life’ 🙂 kicked in and deposits for houses had to be raised and employer’s expectations, exams, promotions, worldly stuff took over. I sacrificed my Yoga. And believe me, it was a sacrifice. I had to do my ‘Karma’ Yoga (my familial duties) and that meant practice was let slide. I NEVER stopped thinking about Yoga and how/when I could get back to it.
I got away with it for a couple of years but then the cracks started to appear (mental) and waistbands started to expand. One day, hit with the realisation that I was letting buttons out on trousers for work as well as tearing my hair out for work, I realised the time had come. I was heading towards 40 and knew that I had to make my choice now. ‘Career’ progression in an area I had accidentally fallen into that paid good money OR living a life of my choosing that included propagation of Yoga, shallow pockets and happiness and wellbeing. Well, let’s just say being able to continue to wear my favourite skirts had a great bearing on my choice 🙂 .
MY FAVOURITE POSTURE IS TRIANGLE; I LOVE working in it, I could happily do a 90 minute class of Triangle Yoga. I am not perfect in it but it is a real power posture and I earned the ability to hold my thigh in parallel position and for me when I feel strong in Triangle I feel like I can do anything and I still have more breakthroughs to look forward to on this one.
HARDEST POSTURE IS RABBIT ~ as ye all well know I suffer terrible ‘Rabbit Envy’, the world and his dog can do a better Rabbit than me 🙂 . Bizaarly, it is the particular benefits that Rabbit brings that I have always pursued most, it’s been like a mission to get those benefits. But as ye all know, the postures you find the easiest you have to work harder in and the posture you find the hardest you have to work harder in.
I have never found any of the postures particularly easy to achieve, I lose flexibility easily and quickly and I have always worked very hard to get where I am in them and to maintain. I am not naturally flexible. For instance it took me five years to get into Lotus (classic Yoga meditation pose) and seven years to get into Yoga splits. On a good day, Balancing Stick might be considered my signature pose, so I have been told a few times; took me over 3 years to get into proper expression of it. My most memorable breakthrough in practice is probably the first time I saw my big toe creep over my head in Bow. In those long ago days my focus was very much (and obviously incorrectly) on the aesthetics and measures. I practice differently now but I do remember well my delight when that happened, in my head I was saying “did ya see me, did ya see me :)”; It only happened after I had my first chiropractic adjustment, I remember the chiropractor saying to me I was the most INflexible Yoga instructor she’d ever seen 🙂 and she was right in one sense and I didn’t mind her saying it in the slightest as I knew it was true. In fact I was delighted because it actually reinforced my belief that to be a Yoga instructor you don’t have to be a pretzel you just have to have the desire, be willing to sacrifice, practice and ALWAYS BE TRYING IN THE RIGHT WAY. So I am not naturally bendy, but Bikram was allowing me to explore this and what my limits actually were. Anyway, she ‘freed’ my pelvis and my legs shot up behind. ZOOM!
One of my loves that I get in Yoga most classes occurs on the floor series. A ‘sigh’ like that satisfied kind only babies make in their sleep. It is very short and a completely spontaneous engaging of vocal cords, hardly audible, I don’t plan for it. It always catches me by surprize. It is a ‘sigh’ like no other. I NEVER get it anywhere else. (Of course since I have formally acknowledged it with my mind to focus on it for this post I have not had it once :). When I forget about it after the post I do hope it will come back.) It is so completely enjoyable (No I’m not mad. At least I don’t think I am).
BIKRAM YOGA HAS STRETCHED ME IN SO MANY WAYS; it helped me find my voice, I feel comfortable being in my own skin. It has helped me grow in every area of my life. It has helped me become fear-less. It has tested my limits and showed me there are no limits. It has definitely expanded my horizons – the expectations I have for myself. It has shown me that to take care of one’s body, mind and spirit is not selfish or self-indulgent, on the contrary everyone around you benefits. It has helped me make good choices. All things positive in my life have come to me after I found Bikram Yoga. I will be eternally grateful I found this way of living.
Namaste ~ Trisha