About a month ago I removed “Yoga” from my list of likes on Facebook. Why? Well, I had never actually gone to a yoga class and I felt like a phoney. I liked the idea of it, and I liked the idea of me doing it, but unfortunately the closest thing I was doing to Yoga was a few basic stretches at the end of my group exercise classes (Child’s pose, cat stretch, etc). Ah well, c’est la vie, right? Maybe one day.
But after a spontaneous relocation to Vancouver, I now had the opportunity to try Bikram Hot Yoga, something I’ve been wanting to try ever since I connected with the very inspiring Michelle MacDonald online. There are very few things in life I love more than: 1) Not wearing pants; 2) Dripping with sweat, and; 3) Being physically active in some way, shape, or form. Bikram yoga combines all these things, with an added bonus of backbends and spiritual awakening.
I have to admit I put off going for about a week. 105 degrees? 90 minutes? Yikes. And what if this is only for people who know what they’re doing? Was I going to look like an idiot, or even worse, get hurt? I definitely had a lot of fears about going. But I figured the only way to grow as a person, and become the fitness superstar that I’ve always wanted to be, was to break out of my comfort zone and just do it. So I bought a week’s pass at Bikram Yoga Commercial Drive, with my last $30, and vowed not to waste my money.
Needless to say I was addicted after that first class. Yes, it’s blazing hot in there, especially if you’re not used to it (and trying it for the first time in winter!), and it’s hard as heck. But it’s amazing. I went in with the goal of becoming more flexible and stretching out my muscles, but after the first class I feel the practice, for me anyway, is more about creating a highly attuned body-mind connection, and raising my level of consciousness. Yes, it might sound all new-age hippy, but something definitely happens during Bikram. Poses such as the Camel (my personal favorite), seem to open up my entire body. It’s as though I can tune into every atom of my being while I lay in Savasana.
As a personal trainer and group exercise instructor I am definitely not used to locking out my knees, or doing any sort of backbending, so my biggest barriers right now are just trusting the poses, and the process. But I’ve gone to about 10 classes now, and with every class I can feel progress, in my body and my mind. Some days I rock the entire practice, and other days I have to sit out a bunch of the poses – it’s all part of the process, as our mental obstacles are harder to over come than our physical ones (and some days I swear it’s hotter in there than usual! 😉 ). But, as with anything else in life, you will get out what you put in. So keep pushing, push, push, push, and change.