Tag Archives: Challenge


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 did it!

I did it! (Source BYC Instagram page)

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.”



C Challenged Me

Picture of a Buddha Painting taken at Delhi Airport January 16th, 2011

What should you know about my friend C? He is one of those people who will tell me everything that I don’t want to, but need to hear. He is honest and straight forward and never sugar-coats anything. He is a true friend. In addition to of all that, he likes to challenge me in my way of thinking. The volume of our voices, during our telephone conversations, may make people wonder if there is a need for us to use a telephone at all. But the friendship goes both ways so I can be just as much of a pain-in-the-derriere as he is sometimes. 😉

I was running short on topics for this week’s blog as the current stories of my life are not ripe enough to be shared so I asked C for an idea. He suggested that I write about “knowing that where you are in life right now is not where you would like to be but that is exactly where you are”….


People read self-help books all the time and I’ve read one or two myself. With every visit to the bookstore, I take note of how big the self-help book section is! Clearly, there is a market for them and people are reading them. On the streetcar last week, I noticed a man reading a self-help book on realizing your dreams and for some reason or another, that image stayed with me and planted a pondering seed in my head.

Thoughts of self-help books on realizing your dreams raised some feelings and questions like: Do we really need them? Perhaps they are good for providing us the tools to achieve things we want to, but are unsure of how to go about doing so. But what is really fundamental in achieving your dreams? For me, three things came to mind:

1. Knowing them.

Perhaps this is kind of obvious but it is important to state. Often, many of us are unsure of what it is that we want to obtain or achieve. I think that not knowing what you want is not always a bad thing as it allows you the freedom to explore and try new things in order to figure it out. I don’t think it has to be just one thing we have to settle on achieving in life, especially since most individuals have many different interests and talents. But I do think that there is an absolute need to decide what it is YOU want…which inherently feeds into the second and the third point I came up with.

Please note: having more than one thing on that list is, in my opinion, absolutely great!

2. Being conscious of them.

Perhaps this is more subtle but in my opinion very important. It is about being aware of the fact that whatever you are doing right now is in fact shaping the outcome of the dreams you have set out for yourself. At the same time, I think that it is important to understand the big picture in its relation to the ultimate goal by knowing that the journey to get there may not reflect it at times but is nevertheless imperative in it becoming a reality.

3. Learning yourself.

Sounds funny, right? How does one “learn oneself”?

It’s a bit of a soul-search, in my opinion. It’s a whole lot of nothing but it incorporates everything. Your thoughts and mindset. Your experiences. Interactions with others. Big one is: facing your fears.

From my personal experience it’s about breaking down all your opinions, feelings, thoughts, (current or of the past) with respect to how those came about and why they are so. It’s about questioning everything but accepting it for what it is and allowing yourself forgiveness for that which is inherently you and changing that which does not make you happy.

I also think that this can be done in many different ways. We could read books (not just self-help books but fiction as well – a great example of one is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho), talk to friends, go to therapy, listen to music, or allow whatever creative outlets we have (ex painting, writing, playing an instrument, drawing, photography, etc) to guide us. I can say, from personal experience, and trying different avenues, that each has a fitting place, time and circumstance.


I do not think there is a right or wrong on the journey of life or that of ‘knowing yourself’ as we are all so different in how we learn, process or understand information, as well as in the ‘way we deal’ with whatever comes our way. I think it’s important to note that knowing your dreams, being conscious of them and learning yourself are not inclusive of each other but are very much interdependent and interconnected. I do not think that it’s about placing focus on one but not the other at any point in time, but rather it’s about allowing your innermost sense of self to guide you in all three ‘ventures’.

I think that sometimes, when we feel that we are in a place in life where we do not want to be, it can either motivate us for the better, or consume us to the point where we feel ‘lost’, overwhelmed and sometimes even depressed. Maybe, just maybe, by finding peace in your right now and understanding it as a part of your journey, it’ll give you strength and uplift you to push ahead and take another step forward. But just like everything else in life, this too, is a choice.


NOTE: I am NOT an expert on anything. I am only sharing what I have learned to work for me. I am however encouraging EVERYONE to follow the truth in their hearts.

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