Sunday, July 29, 2012

Trying Bikram Yoga the Right Way

Photo by Sandy Foster at Yoga Bliss Photo
I often come up with things I want share while laying in Savasana. I know, you aren't suppose to think. I'm suppose to be in the moment, enjoying the practice. Yea, yea...I get it. I just have a hard time DOING it. My mind is constantly thinking. I come up with some of my best craft designs and blog posts while in class. So I'm not going to fight it, I'm just going to keep trying and while good stuff is being generated, well, I am going to take advantage of it.

One day last week I was laying on my back, staring at the ceiling, dying. It is so hot in Dallas right now, you could do Bikram yoga outside. Every where you go it is hot. The only difference between being outside and sweating your ass off and being in the room and sweating your ass off is the amazing feeling AFTER you get out of the hot room and life somehow seems better.

So anyway, I was dying, struggling to stay calm and still. The teacher was talking about precision and doing the postures the right way and why that was important. And I thought, it is like words. Words are just individual letters put together in a very specific way. When the letters are put together in a particular order, they mean something. Sometimes two words might have the same letters but because they are in a different order, they make a different word....mean something different. Here is an example. If you take h-t-i-s, you might come up with hits or shit. They certainly mean different things and if you are using these letters to create the written or spoken word,  you certainly want to get the letters in the right order so your message is communicated correctly.

The same goes for yoga, in particular Bikram yoga. Bikram yoga is very precise, movements or lack of movements are very specific, methodical even,  to provide a very specific result. Change the order or add something and you might end up with "shit" instead of the desired result.

You've probably seen it in class. Someone is trying so hard to do what the teacher is saying they skip important steps, trying to look like everyone else. But they can't do it, they keep falling out because they don't have the steps before that so they have no foundation.

It is often difficult when learning something new to remember how to do something the right way, what order the steps go in and even maybe what are the steps. Repetition is the best way to get those details into the brain. There is an old saying about doing something 21 times and it becomes  a habit. 

Practicing yoga is no different. When you come to class, keep an open mind, listen to the teachers and don't let the ego get in the way of you improving your body. So what if you can't do the full expression of a posture? Is that really the goal? No. The goal is to heal the body, be healthy and improve the mind body connection. Those things can all be accomplished at any level of a posture. The postures are simply the mechanism we use to generate change.

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