I am approaching my 300th yoga class since I began Bikram yoga (yes I keep track), and I am just now understanding this statement. I’ve heard it spoken by my teachers, senior teachers, and Bikram himself, but it has taken almost 300 classes for me to truly figure out what this means. When you study math, math is the subject and the object. When you study history, history is the subject and the object. When you study yoga, the object is not the yoga.
The other day I kept falling out of standing bow. I love this posture because it is so beautiful (truly on every one), but it is also really challenging because it takes equal amounts of strength, flexibility and breath – really crazy to wrap my head around that one. However, I was getting so frustrated because I kept falling out….like probably 25 times during the first set not even kidding. I just wanted to do the friggin’ posture!!! Then my instructor said to me “squeeze your butt”. I did, I kicked, I stretched, I breathed. I held the posture for the entire second set. Then it hit me: the object is me. OH MY GOSH! The object is me me me me!!! NOT the posture! I am the posture! I was focusing on the object being the posture – standing bow. It was clearly not working like that because I kept falling out – and was sloppy about it too! I was so focused on doing the posture, that I forgot it was ME that is the object. It is never about the posture, but always about your body. Gotta say I got a little teary eyed before I heard… “arms over your head sidewise; next posture is balancing stick.”
This reminds me of when senior teacher Mary Jarvis said at our clinic: “I am not trying to do the backbend, I am the backbend.” Gives me chills every time I write that or think about it.
Some people ask me if it is boring to do the same 26 postures every time I practice. Welp, I am about 300 classes in, and I am not bored yet. I’m actually bored when I’m NOT doing the 26 postures! And it is because, the subject is yoga, but the object is me. I am different every day. Some days I’m happy, nervous, anxious, sad, hungry, mad, tired, energized, smelly….etc. The list goes on because every day I feel different, have different stuff going on, thinking more heavily about some things than others. So NO – if you follow that the subject is yoga, but the object is you then you will learn that “the same 26 postures” are not truly the same 26 postures. I play a game with my mom and sister – we always ask each other what our favorite posture is because it is true that it is different every day! Some days I wish standing separate leg head to knee never existed and some days it is the greatest thing since donuts with purple sprinkles.
My practice has grown IMMENSELY since meeting the wonderful Mary Jarvis, a teacher of Bikram Yoga for 28 years. I wanted to highlight the top 10 things I took away from her seminar. So glad I had my journal with me….
1) Sometimes you can see the posture by looking at what is not the posture.
2) “Do a backbend before bed. It will make you wiser in the posture the next day.”
3) If the yoga is good to you when you’re healthy, it won’t desert you when you’re broken.
4) “Don’t try in class, just do it. Then you won’t suffer”
5) The finesse in the yoga class is to be relaxed in every posture. Even though your heart rate will increase, you are relaxed.
6) Enjoy your level of success before going further.
7) No regret of the past, no anticipation of the future. No duality. That’s the present moment.
8) Don’t always try to fix and correct your postures. You’re on your way. Be aware of your awareness.
9) The more you know about yourself in the postures, the less you suffer.
10) During standing head to knee, you will tell a story about your mind, body, and soul.
I love how these statements reflect both inside the yoga room and out.
Yoga is life changing. Do your yoga, and then – do more yoga.