Good evening, Yogis.
I just finished reading a great article from the NY Times titled “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body”, and an article about that article from the Globe and Mail titled “Is Yoga Ruining Your Body?”. Both of these articles (I highly recommend reading them) talk about strong arming yourself into doing things when you aren’t ready or able…
I just finished a post about my own experience with practicing Bikram Yoga over the years and I really appreciate these articles because I know what it is like to do something when I’m not ready to do it.
The reason I do want to write to you now though is to say that BIKRAM YOGA IS A BEGINNER’S PRACTICE…we don’t do headstands and handstands or even Chaturanga in this series because it is designed for BEGINNERS and for EVERYONE…now now, hold your horses…I know that not everyone LIKES Bikram Yoga but what I want to get across is that this series is very safe for everyone. There is no jerky movement and you are not putting force or weight on things that don’t usually have force or weight on them. (Please don’t think that I am putting down ANY other form of yoga, I’m simply saying what Bikram Yoga is about). Of course you can over do it in a Bikram class. Of course you can push yourself beyond where you need to go…of course you might get tricked into thinking you have more flexibility than you have because the heat has limbered you up, and of course you might feel sore when you practice Bikram Yoga. However, you might also feel energized and enlivened and re-newed! You might feel symptoms of chronic pain melt away and experience a heightened sense of self awareness and find yourself joyful!
The biggest thing to remember is that it is YOUR body and YOU have to find what works for YOU. There is going to be breakdown (Rajashree says that that is by design in a yoga practice), and subsequently with breakDOWN there is enevitably breakTHROUGH!
Breathe, keep your eyes open, your ears tuned, your mind clear and your heart open. Namaste, puppies.
Good morning my loves! It’s another grey morning out there, but the rain seems to have stopped for now and even that seems a relief.
I just watched a quickie video interview with Rajashree (Choudhury) and the final word from the new caster was something about being relaxed for the next segment. While I FULLY agree that yoga DOES create relaxation in the body/mind/spirit, I think it is an energizer in those areas as well…don’t you think? I started doing this practice (Bikram Yoga) in the summer of 2000. I did it because a couple friends recommended it to me. I had been doing other yoga at the community center and this sounded interesting (btw, I don’t even think either of them mentioned it was HOT…but maybe I just don’t remember correctly). I have been doing this practice of yoga for over 11 years and have been teaching for almost 9. I could not even begin to tell you the amount of classes I’ve taken or taught over those years.
I will tell you this, though, I have had times of more yoga and less yoga and what I have come to believe and know in my head heart and soul is that whatever you decide for you in your practice is what is right for you in your practice. There are challenges going on all over the world right now…30/60/YEAR! challenges…yogis who have decided to do a challenge because it’s happening, or because a friend is doing it or because they want to lose weight or or or. I have done many a challenge in my years and after the last 30 day I did I decided I would not do one again (that was almost 2 years ago). I found myself in that challenge begrudging the yoga and my HAVING to go to class. WHY WOULD I WANT TO EVER HATE HAVING TO GO TO CLASS?? I know, the challenge is to show you how strong you are and how in the face of adversity you really CAN do something and give you a sense of accomplishment etc etc…and so many other things it can give/show you. But when I found myself on days being angry about going to class I decided then and there that I don’t ever want to go to the yoga room feeling angry that I’m there or wishing I wasn’t…
Yoga is about whatever you want it to be about. On the surface it is so good for the physical body. It stretches the whole body, the spine, and helps to counteract the effects of daily life (the sitting, the carrying, the stress and tension we hold…). As you practice more you start to realise the mental benefits of clearer thinking, increased relaxation, quieter mind, better judgement and/or choices…and the list goes on. A few months ago there were a string of articles about how yoga isn’t actually good for your back and body. Isn’t that the truth about anything and everything if practiced incorrectly or for the wrong reasons (people often refer to the people who push themselves to do more than the body will allow or is willing and ready to do as ego driven…this includes yogis and all athletes alike…come to think of it the same goes for people driven in all areas of life…alas, that is for another post). For me now (and, don’t get me wrong, I have done many postures and things with my body at a time that my body was maybe not ready to do but I did it anyhow…and I’ve had many messages from my body that it’s had enough. Some pains I feel and have felt are movement and healing and some are self-infliced. I totally get that now and understand the difference between ego-ing into postures and practicing yoga…) yoga is truly about the union. The coming together of the body, mind and spirit. I spend my time in the yoga room reminding myself to enjoy this life and enjoy this body enjoy the sensations I’m feeling because I CAN feel them! Most of us spend our entire lives trying to find this union and see only glimpses of it…but isn’t that the fun in life?