This Sunday (May 6) I will have been consistently practicing for 16 months. Yes, I kind of do an inner celebration at the 6th of every month because Bikram yoga has provided me with so much knowledge and strength since beginning my practice. I can’t ignore that!
I have compiled “sweet 16 lessons” that I have acquired over the past 16 months of my practice. I have to say that literally all of these lessons pertain to both in the Hot Room and outside in daily life. I go to Bikram yoga to learn about yoga and my yoga practice and not only do I learn about that but I also learn about life itself! More bang for your buck (momma give me money).
Hope you enjoy them!
1.IF YOU CAN YOU MUST. If you can kick your leg out in Standing Head to Knee, you must. If you can lift your legs up off the floor in Locust, you must. If you can take care of yourself, you must. If you can put the dishes away, you must. (Literally have to tell myself this sometimes).
2. A YOGI FRIEND IS A GOOD FRIEND. It is so lovely to share yoga with a friend. Whether that is a friend you knew before you came to yoga, or a friend you made because you came to yoga.
3. A SMILE GOES A LONG WAY. Sometimes when I feel like dying in Eagle I just smile at myself. It helps and then before you know it the instructor says “change”. Who cares if you look like a fruit loop – it will help! Someone smiled at me the other day when I was having a difficult class, and it gave me the positive energy to get up and give Rabbit a try!
4. YOU CAN ALWAYS TRY AGAIN. I like this about Bikram yoga. There’s always a second set. There’s always tomorrows class. If you “fail” at something in life, you can ALWAYS try again.
5. LOCK YOUR KNEE. You can’t do anything without a firm foundation. That’s all I’ll say about that.
6. CAMELS MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER. Yeah sometimes they make me want to throw up, but they have rid me of my chornic low back pain and bring me clarity like nothing else in this world. I also like to do them in between studying. I like to tell myself “if I can get through this chapter, I get to do 5 camels!” Yippee!
7. DON’T EAT A FRIED BAGEL BEFORE CLASS. You will likely have to sit down every posture. Not only should you not eat this before class, you shouldn’t eat this ever! (What was I thinking, but it was so good!). Bikram yoga has really made me more aware of what I put in my body. I try to follow that if I can’t eat it before I go into the Hot Room, I shouldn’t eat it at all.
8. YOUR BODY NEEDS STILLNESS. When I have a tough time in class, fidgeting and moving around wastes energy. Pacing around and waving your hands in the air when you’re pissed off will only make you hotter (I’m talking about outside the room!) and madder. Just be still. Stillness = Calmness.
9. YOUR MIND NEEDS SILENCE. Oooooohhh this is a tough one. But, it is oh so important. I am probably the worst at silencing the mind. But with practice, I’ve gotten a lot better. It is truly a gift and I mean GIANT, 24K GOLD, PRESENT TO YOURSELF if you can learn to quiet the mind.
10. BEST AFTER YOGA SNACK = PICKLE. I am a pickle fiend as it is, but it is truly a great snack because it is so salty! I like to eat something salty and hydrate with lots of fluids and vitamin water after class. It seems so second nature, but even after practicing this long I became severely dehydrated just a week or so ago and I was so sick. Don’t wish that on anyone!
11. I LOVE THE HEAT. Yes I actually said that. I love it both in and out of the room. It is a love-hate relationship, but I do love it. The benefits of the heat and the things it does to your body are countless. In my pre-yoga days I used to hate the summer months. Literally, I hated summer! Last summer was the first one I ACTUALLY, TRULY enjoyed. Thanks Bikram! I chuckle when I hear people complain about the heat outside when it’s 95 🙂
12. THE CLASS YOU DON’T WANT TO GO TO IS THE CLASS YOU NEED THE MOST. We’ve all been there before. I’ve never done this, but I’ve thought about going back home as I’ve pulled up in the parking lot. You will NEVER regret a Bikram yoga class after you finish. EVER. You will never say “man, I wish I didn’t go.”
13. SEEING STARS IN CLASS IS AWESOME. If you haven’t seen stars in class, then you are missing out. I see them most often in Half Moon Backbend and camel, and it truly is a high. One time I swear I saw a shooting star in savasana. Yoga stoned…….
14. BE THE POSTURE, DON’T DO THE POSTURE. Mary Jarvis said this one time. If you don’t focus on what you have to do and you just be yourself, you will become your posture. It is pretty magical if I say so myself.
15. NO JUDGEMENTS. Um. I hate this lesson. I’m either judging my love handles, judging the fact my Standing Bow wasn’t as good as it was yesterday, judging my greasy/sweaty hair, judging the pimple on my forehead….or something else! It’s exhausting and will only drain your energy. It’s true! But, this is one that I always have to work on.
16. THE PRESENT MOMENT. Even harder than note judging myself would be to be in the present moment. Is anyone good at this? Probably Bikram himself. This is a constant struggle for me both ON and OFF the mat. The present moment is infinite, and no one could ever truly be able to define the present moment. I think that’s what makes it so hard to BE in the present moment. Imagine a moment where there is no regret of the past, and no anticipation of the future. Hard right?! Tell me about it. I think I’m getting better, but sometimes all I can think about is the cupcake I want to eat after class.