After an epic day of completing job application forms on Thursday, Friday was my chance to go to yoga in preparation for Saturday’s posture clinic at Hot Bikram Yoga London Bridge. My shoulders were hunched and crunched from too much time in front of the laptop and hands had turned into keyboard claws. I’d planned two yoga outfits for the posture clinic (my two favourites), leaving number 3 outfit for Friday. Number three outfit is not my favourite because: it’s not all black; I’m not sure that bits of haven’t gone see-through; the fit doesn’t feel nice; it doesn’t mask the lumpier aspects of my lower midriff and chest.
I’d planned to break out the voucher my BFF gave me for another studio, but on checking the timetable, found that there was no midday class there on Fridays. Bag packed and nowhere to go! Change of plan – pay the drop-in fee (eek – expensive way to practise!) at lovely Hot Bikram Yoga Balham for Brittney’s midday class.
As plenty of wiser people than me have said, just get to class and let the yoga do its work. Ok so far, but the trousers just don’t feel good and moments before the class starts, I break from the studio to see if they have any shorts for sale. No luck shorts-wise, which saves me from an unplanned purchase, and gains me some encouragement from the reception staff and teacher.
And here is the joy of it: on my return to my mat, someone had placed themselves RIGHT IN FRONT of me, totally blocking my reflection in the mirror. Normally this, or getting in front of a crack between two mirror panels, can really irritate me. Not today. As we started the pranayama deep breathing exercise, I let go of my outfit-grumpiness, listened to the dialogue, and went beyond the vision of myself that I am accustomed to seeing in the mirror.
The class rocked, for me, and is a good reminder to get on with the work, with focus and determination, letting go of distractions and preconceptions.
Ps I am informed that the trousers have not gone see-through. I’ll be wearing them again.
Posted in yoga
Tagged work, yoga
I’ve been struggling with direction lately, and last week a few things came together to make this whole life thing seem more coherent.
Firstly, after a bumpy return to Bikram yoga following a 6ish month break, my practice got back into some sort of a groove. It’s a physically demanding sequence, and in my typical impatience I’d expected to go back to where I’d left off all that time ago when I’d done a year of consistent practice three times a week. My frustration is evaporating now as my fitness is improving, and old levels of flexibility are returning despite a few niggles (backbends are harder, my right hip is grumbling). The bulk of my angst with the Bikram practice was, as ever, mental, and to do with focus. Last week, I took 3 classes, the same 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises, on 3 different days with 3 different teachers. It’s funny how just a change in tone of voice, emphasis or humour can make a small detail stand out from something you’ve heard a hundred times or more before, and consequently a small adjustment to a familiar pose makes a huge difference for the better. Example: in triangle, let the weight drop into the heel of the turned out foot, giving more balance, less strain but more flex in the hips and more stretch in the arms. So, lately in class, I’ve been REALLY LISTENING to the dialogue, avoiding complacency and practising with an open mind.
The second strand came along via this freshly pressed WordPress blog, thank you very much: http://aviatrixkim.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/on-working/
This reminds me that the very work I’ve put into particular things makes them inherently valuable, and therefore worth continuing with in good heart for now. Even if I don’t understand the satisfaction or return from those things right now, suddenly changing or direction right now may be destabilizing.
The third strand is contentedness. I find contentedness has to be practised, much like yoga, or speaking a language, or else I lose it! Contentedness is not as exciting as it’s upbeat sibling, joy, but is an excellent family connection nonetheless. Fostering a contented state of mind is the antidote to angst and dissatisfaction; it helps me to experience the everyday as the temporary manifestation of a longer scheme, to focus on the quality of the moment with gratitude. Contentedness helps me see what novelty there is in the same walk everyday, just like our dog who, after years of only paddling in water, has just discovered the joys of swimming.
This is a wonderful explanation of the healing and growth I find in this yoga practice.
In one of my favorite articles of all time, Emmy Cleaves, a teacher of over 35 years breaks down why Bikram Yoga is so incredible. Enjoy.
January/February 2005 Volume 4/Number 1
By Emmy Cleaves
Bikram Yoga, sometimes also called “hot yoga,” is a system of a set 26 yoga posture sequence practiced in a room heated to 100+ degrees and lasting 90 minutes.
Bikram Choudhury, under his guru’s guidance and using modern medical measurement techniques, researched and arrived at this specific sequence of postures. The individual asanas are classical hatha yoga. Each classical yoga posture has a specific anatomical, neurological, physiological and psychological effect on the human body. The intelligence of any posture sequence determines the overall benefit of the practice.
Bikram introduced his unique style of yoga in the United States in 1971. During the first 20 years this style was taught only in his Beverly Hills studio…
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