When I first began practising Bikram yoga, it was a magical part of my day or week. I went to each session full of enthusiasm for whatever would be thrown up by the class. Gradually, as my physical strength and flexibility increased, the progress I was making in each posture became more fascinating until I could accomplish most of them. After a time, when my stamina and focus became more developed I joined the front row. I loved it there, and appreciated the feedback from the teachers, whom I’d got to know quite well at the Bikram Yoga Leicester studio http://www.bikramyogaleicester.co.uk/. As my body and mind stopped wobbling, I felt a great sense of achievement and well-being from joining the yoga community.
My efforts in the sweat-pit helped me to plan, undertake and enjoy a 6 month sabbatical to India with my husband and kids, including some pretty adventurous stuff. I even kept up the practice in the Himalayas, via the Bikram audio mp3 on my phone, until it got far too cold! Then in Goa, some vinyasa flow and traditional hatha yoga kept me going.
Now back in the UK, I first felt relieved to be living near enough to a Hot Bikram Yoga http://hotbikramyoga.co.uk/ studio to make regular classes feasible (no accident, actually…), then felt frustrated when a month of ill-health prevented me from dashing back into 3 or 4 classes a week. This was probably no bad thing at all as in the meanwhile we have been bringing all our belongings out of storage, setting up a new home in a new area and getting into the rhythm of our life here in London. Managing the yoga too may just have been too much! Now the dust is beginning to settle, I’ve made it back to class.
In my absence from the hot room, something has changed. The part of me that used to crave the recognition and encouragement of the teacher seems to have moved into a back seat and is not even trying to drive. And what was once a magical time in the studio for me seems to be blending into my daily life, so that life outside the Bikram studio and the yoga I practise within it are increasingly becoming one and the same thing. Bizarrely too, my attitude towards my “performance” during a class is more equanimous – even if each day presents a new challenge – and I feel no desperate rush to become a gregarious member of this studio’s community.
So, the “toughie” of today’s title isn’t actually the class I attended (even if I fell out of postures, sat out others, flopped through a few more and scratched during savasana). The toughie is recognizing that the performance is not the point, the community is not the point, even if both bring satisfaction and support. The point is that having put so much work into this yoga, it is now working on me at an unsought-for level and I sense that this work must continue.