Call me obsessed. Actually, my need to continually write about this practice amazes me. But hang on… there’s a story here – with a lesson that you might really connect to.
There have been a slew of additional allegations against Chaudry Bikram, the creator of Bikram Yoga. In general, the charges called against him have named him as an abuser of power.
I’ve read and heard people refer to this yogic guru as Satan. (Interestingly… as the mythology is told, Satan was created by God as an amazing (and very good) Angel. As God gave free will to the Angels, Satan rebelled against God and a massive battle ensued. Satan lost, and was sent into Hell. So, the basic gist of the story here is that God created Satan beautiful and powerful – but through his pride and greed Satan became totally evil). With this framing, ok, I can agree with the Bikram/Satan comparison.
As a result, there are thousands (millions?) of people who refuse to practice his method on principal. What a shame. I mean, I’m a woman of principal, for sure. But, I’ve also been addicted to Bikram Yoga for NINE YEARS. It’s a smart physical challenge, a brilliant progression of movement, and has healed me, dozens of times. I’ll admit it: I don’t like this man Choudry Bikram – not one bit. But, there’s immense goodness in this sequence that he created – in fact his teachers are like little angels who have the ability to transform lives. And, there’s angelic quality (positive guiding influence) in the practice. (Just don’t take class with him.)
Today, I returned to class after nearly 8 months. I’ll be honest; I needed a break. I got to a point where I was kindof, just, over it. So – my last Bikram class was in Spring, 2015. Since then, I broke my toe, sat on a dozen+ overseas flights, and injured my elbow, shoulder, and neck. It’s been difficult to get back to regular (enjoyable) exercise. As a fitness pro, I’m embarrassed to admit this publicly – but haven’t we all been tugged into the abyss after injury or illness? I needed inspiration. I needed to find ME again – so I went back to a familiar habit; an oldie-but-goodie.
It took me some time to prepare for class. I dug out my favourite “super sweaty” outfit, and filled my special (insulated) water bottle. I’m a obsessive when it comes to details – so I’ll spare you – but trust me, it took all of my focused concentration, as I needed to have a positive experience upon my return. So, I paid attention, and remembered my favourite class experiences, then I took the steps I’d need to be successful again.
I arrived my local studio: Bikram Yoga Mile High and took my favourite spot in the room – where the airflow is perfect. The class began with an instructor I’ve never met (which stressed me initially) and then I sat for a few minutes, practicing Sole Training. Preparing mentally.
Let me tell you… I kindof rocked that class. Well, ok… I completely rocked that flippin’ class! I mean, I wasn’t perfect – but my practice – well, it all came right back to me. My postures were sharp and intentional. I felt in control – productive, calm, invigorated.. motivated, inspired. Yep – I was BACK, baby, and I’ll tell you why. It was the beauty of returning to a good habit.
Animal creatures – all of us, we need our routines. From the marching of penguins to salmon upstream… from bats hanging in their favourite dark cave to cats grooming in their favourite sunny spot. For human animals, a morning routine: Pee, turn on the tea kettle, light the incense, brush the teeth, walk the dog…
Our exercise habitat should be founded in repetitive practice in order to progress. We find our running route, our favourite bike trail… why? Repetition brings results… comfort, competency, confidence, progression… mastery. Even our jobs have their own habitual foundations: the “new” instructor I mentioned earlier? She was incredible. It was obvious she hadn’t just memorised new choreography, nor was she exploiting herself with party tricks in the front of the room. This lady was leading class with intent of making it an incredible physical and mindful experience for each and every person in the room. She was able to do this because she was well-disciplined through her own practice. (Thank you Miss Amy!)
Some people say God is in the details. Maybe theres a little bit of truth to this. Maybe Satan is the change; the shaker-uper. (The word Satan means “adversary”. ) Maybe there are little angels (positive guiding influence) floating around in the knowing, the understanding, the practice.
And – maybe I’m trying to hard on this…
Ok – and there’s counterpoint to my story – of course I know this. I We’re all trying to find the change to inspire us. I get it. I need it too. But, (here’s the lesson:) I encourage you to return to something that you know – something that you’re used to do. Renew your commitment to a good habit you’ve abandoned. Return and say, Yep – I’ve Missed You – and Baby, I’m Back! (There’s really no place like home.)
And with this, friend, my inner-badass honors your inner-badass. :)