I’ve been practicing Bikram hot yoga (at Bikram Hot Yoga Center ) since September 2009. Not consistently or as frequently as I’d have liked to, but nevertheless, I feel that it has been challenging, engaging and beneficial enough to my body, spirit and overall well-being, that I’ve attended the 90-minute classes (held in a 40 degree Celsius room of about 40 percent humidity), for almost five years. And it’s no small feat to captivate my interest for that long – I LOVE being challenged and this yoga practice is very challenging.
I receive the BYC email newsletter and in the most recent one, I saw that two intermediate classes with music were added to the schedule. With music, captivated me. In fact, when I went to practice a few days ago, I asked a teacher if I’d be eligible to take it, and when he said yes, I immediately made the commitment to my Self, and to him, to attend.
Today, was the very first class offered at an intermediate level with music at BYC. Was I excited? Yes. Was I nervous? Yes. Was I scared? Absolutely! Even after all those Bikram yoga classes I’ve attended, I still did not feel as if I could always get into the deepest expressions of some of the postures nor have I ever done a head stand. But I stuck to with music and that helped me calm my nerves down…a little bit.
Unlike regular Bikram yoga classes, this one did not have verbal instruction, but we all were to move in unison with our instructor. It was simply incredible to practice yoga in synergy and with music which included Hindu chants, prayers and songs of Shri, Krishna Das, as well as the music of the band Stars, Leonard Cohen, Eva Cassidy and Dan Gibson! The absence of verbal instruction and correction from the teacher made me feel more accountable to my own Self awareness – body, posture and position, as well as mind/thought and feeling. The few new postures which are a part of this class were challenging but surprisingly enough, I was able to do most of them…except for the head stand. I mean I did try to set it up, and even though it was something I’ve always wanted to be able to do, it was just too scary for me to do it on my own, for the first time, in this class.
The group of us who attended the class, were told at the very beginning to bring our mats in towards our instructor, as we were meant to be much closer together than in a regular class. Somehow my yoga mat ended up directly in front of the EXIT sign and door. After the standing series, I was faced with that EXIT sign every time I laid down for the Shavasana. I started thinking about the word itself. EXIT goes with escape, with letting go, with some form of freedom. And I realized that I did not allow my Self to EXIT my own thoughts which made me apprehensive about doing or attempting something new, something different, something scary. Although there were other things in my life this applied to, in this case, that was a head stand. Well, remember how I told you that I love challenges? I asked for some help and this is what happened:
I realize how powerful our thoughts are – they can help us face our fears or nurture them. I chose to literally EXIT the realm of CAN’T, with music, and some help. Like the mural at the BYC studio states: “Be afraid not of growing slowly, Be only afraid of standing still.”