Bikram Yoga is SUPPOSED to be hard, silly

I’ve had the opportunity over the past little while to take what I would refer to as “soft” classes at various Bikram studios. I am a good student in the sense that I listen to the instructor, I try to move with him or her, but sometimes I can be a naughty cow (yes, it’s true, I can be a brat in the yoga room on occasion…!). Bikram Yoga is designed so simply. As teachers, we are given a very specific set of instructions, a dialogue, which is designed to tell the students exactly WHAT to do, HOW to do, and the EFFECT of doing it that way. *keep in mind, I just referred to it as the dialogue, not the monologue*. In every class there is a mix of experience and ability, age and history, endurance and strength. So, while we teach the *same* class every time, the class is never the same (you know what I’m talking about, don’t you…). If I don’t hear clear instructions, it makes it hard to know what I’m supposed to be doing (even after practicing 11 years, I like to hear the dialogue, that way I don’t have to think about what I’m doing, I just do what I’m told). When I don’t hear the dialogue is when I end up getting anxious because my brain has the time to wander and drift…

The class is HARD. It’s like that by design! Can you believe it?! He designed the class to be hard…and that is why I love it. In my first class I remember thinking “finally, something that I can do that uses my ability (flexibility) and still feels like I’m getting something out of it”! Of course, I loved it and hated it all at the same time in the beginning (who am I kidding, there is still a hint of love/hate…but thankfully the LOVE wins out every time). So, that being said, when a teacher is loosy goosy or hippy dippy it takes away from the design of the class. I get that not everyone wants to work that hard in class (either because he or she wants to take it easy or has to take it easy or hasn’t realised yet that they have more than they even know is available to him or her and hasn’t tapped into his or her true power and potential in the yoga room and in life…alas, I digress). SO, while I can get into a softer class from time to time, the true power in this practice is the daily challenge of it. It has taken me a long time and many classes taught (and much growth personally) to understand that not everyone wants to practice like I do…and, for that matter, I don’t always want to practice like I do!! I get that people need to take it at their own pace and go where they can and push as they are able…however, they need to be given the opportunity to go further rather than encouraged to back off or slow down or “do it if you think you might want to one day consider it…”. I know, I know, I can feel the grrr’s and the wtf’s building in you readers…we all have to be responsible for our own healing and our own bodies (after all, we as teachers can only guide you, but we don’t know how your body feels and where you can go, we can only encourage you to do it), but something brought you to the hot room and you have no idea what is possible until you push yourself a little out of your comfort zone…

Overtime I have come to notice that sometimes people who practice Bikram yoga for a long time get “bored”, feel they have gotten all they can from Bikram yoga, think they have injured themselves through the practice, feel like it’s harming them more than healing… I have seen many people stop practicing, start practicing something else, or get into another form of exercise. While I think that doing other things/yoga is great, I have also seen the flip side of this. I cannot tell you the number of people I have seen have major breakthroughs in their lives-physically, mentally, spiritually-all stemming from their Bikram practice. I have also seen many people stop practicing, start another form of yoga, and then come back to the Bikram practice because they realised that they aren’t getting the same benefits from said other thing. I have also met many teachers of other styles of yoga who come to the Bikram practice to heal various things they have going on in the body…

So, this leads me (and of course, through my own experience) to believe that this practice works! But, it has to be hard and you have to work hard in order to change. If something is going to change, then something has to change…you can’t expect to get any change without the hard work. Loosy goosy feeds loosy goosy.

Abbey said today in class, “it’s not what the YOGA did, it’s what YOU did”…through your practice you will find all of the answers you are looking for…just have to work hard, try the right way, and never give up. Just sometimes might be harder than you thought, or take more time (see previous post!).

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