I enjoy challenges, especially those I can relate to in terms of benefits and physical exercise. When my sister and I were offered a Bikram Yoga class, we jumped on the occasion; a challenge with my sister is the best challenge their is 🙂
We push each other and try to be as good as the other. We also understand each other without having to speak.
Though it’s increased in popularity in the last few decades, yoga has actually been around for thousands of years. And in its various forms, it is beneficial for not just your physical health but for your mental health and it helps in a variety of other ways too.
We have been practising yoga for a while, not being naturally flexible, we thought the addition of the 40 degree heat in the hot room would enable us to gain flexibility in no time.
As we entered the silent room, the other yogis already positioned lying down, feet towards the back wall – we looked at each other which meant “hmm, this isn’t quite what we expected”. It was hot.
We lay down and started breathing deeply, as we felt the air was not conducive to normal breathing, we observed what the other students were doing and waited for the instructor to enter the room.
The class began with a breathing exercise, which hurt my shoulders, and made me feel uncomfortable, then came the standing poses. Poses I was familiar with but yet I did not seem to be able to go deeper into them, some I wasn’t able to do at all. My mind started to get in the way, thoughts occurring along the lines of “ Its too hot in here”, “ This is making me uncomfortable”, “How much longer is the class”, “There’s sweat in my eye!”
At one point the Instructor switched on a fan for a few seconds which changed my state of being and I began to relax a bit again. As soon as it went off, I started to obsess about when the next fan time would be, which did not happen for what felt like a very long time.
By this time my sister had already taken a knee, and was now lying flat on her back, she looked drained and was imploring me with her eyes to help her somehow. I smiled at her, or tried to amidst my own exhaustion – she did not return it.
Not long after, it was my turn, first I took a knee, then collapsed into savasana, breathing heavily, my mind still racing, now I was eyeing the fan pleading with it to come on.
I looked at my sister, she was looking at me – this meant “lets leave”.
We quietly got up, and began to roll up our mats. “ Ladies, please don’t leave the room” we hear, “ the goal is to stay in the room for the entire duration of the class, you can stay in savasana if you need to, breathe normally through the nose, this will bring down your heart rate and enable you to finish the class”. Back we went into savasana which lasted until the end of the class for us.
We swore to ourselves we would never take the class again, the instructor however took us aside as we were leaving and talked to us about our experience in the hot room. She explained that we were detoxing deeply and rapidly, about the benefits of a regular practice, that we would get used to the heat in no time, that its normal to feel overwhelmed and most importantly, to breathe normally throughout the class.
The personal touch made all the difference to me, within a day I was back in the hotroom.
Fast forward to today – I now practice 3 times a week, If I don’t get in my 3 classes I feel like something is missing. Over time I have felt a shift within myself , I am learning which foods are good for me and which ones don’t sit so well. I’m learning how to control my breath which in turn controls my mind. I don’t obsess over the fan so much anymore, and have come to a point where I actually enjoy the heat. Who would have thought? The more I practice, the stronger I get physically, mentally and emotionally. The more focused and determined I become on the mat, the more focused and determined I become in my daily life. I have come to find that who I am on the mat, reflects who I am off the mat.
I am transforming myself from the inside out, can breathe better than I have done in a very long time and would highly recommend Bikram Yoga to anyone who wants to make a serious lifestyle change. I had heard before that many Bikram students feel addicted to it, I can see and feel now for myself how this is possible.
There are a host of benefits that come with Bikram Yoga including increased blood circulation, improved digestion, flexibility, prevents injuries, glowing skin etc.
Come and take a class, see for yourself, show up for yourself and be transformed.
Comment with what Bikram Yoga has done for you, or get in touch if you would like to contribute your own article.