You think you can stir the pot by blogging about the The Bible? Try blogging about 26 yoga poses done in 90 minutes in a room heated to 105 degrees – the practice known as Bikram Yoga.
Most people either love Bikram yoga or hate it. Until last week, I was firmly in the latter category. In fact, all the way through my first class at Bikram Yoga Tyler, I still hated it. But then I got home, dumped my soggy yoga clothes in the washer and noticed I felt like a buzzing, jacked up rock star.
Here are a few things that surprised me:
1. My mind didn’t wander, possibly because it was so heavily focused on survival. The postures are so strong and the room is so hot, your mind teeters on the verge of panic, which forces it into very narrow focus.
2. Afterward I craved blueberries and water and other really nourishing food. It was like my body said, ok you just demanded a lot of me, here are my demands. The idea of eating a Big Mac, fries and a coke after a Bikram class (or any yoga class) feels like an affront.
3. I had to open my mind and trust somebody else. I’ve been practicing yoga for a long time, so hearing an instructor say “make your back hurt” “pull harder until the joint hurts” seemed like total crazy talk. I’m not weighing in on the wisdom of Bikram’s system, which is very different from classical yoga, I’m merely pointing out that the yoga snob in me got to be still for a few minutes and learn something new. Not surprisingly, it exposed how closed my mind had been.
4. It reminded me how genuine accomplishment feels. Yes, it’s hard. It’s meant to be. Yoga practice should occur outside our mental comfort zones, but this one does it on steroids. But there’s something heartening about looking in a mirror 20 feet away and seeing the shape of your 40-year old deltoids as you hold your body in full locust pose. I often tell my students there are no trophies in yoga, except the ones you give yourself.
Whether you love Bikram or not is hardly the point of this post; chipping away at limiting belief is. Bikram Yoga made me wonder what else my cozy, little opinions have prevented me from trying.