Although I don’t practice as rigourously and religiously as I used to, Bikram Yoga is still near and dear to my heart. I go about two or three times a months still and I learn something new about myself, about yoga, or about life every time I go.
Jeane is one of my favourite teachers of all time; she is this lovely bubbly Personified Joy of a woman who used to be a dancer and always has the biggest smile on her face. She gives really inspiring classes.
Halfway through the last class I took with her, as we were in Dead Men’s Pose (where we have to ) Jeane started talking. It’s one of my favourite things about a class with Jeane, every now and again during resting poses she drops a little wisdom I take with me. Some of the stuff in my Girl Does Yoga ebooks (one is 6$ and the other two are donation based!) actually comes from my classes with her.
There are 3 elements to Bikram Yoga, three Bikram principles: Breath, holding the posture, and deep relaxation. These things make Bikram Yoga the exhausting but relaxing and recharging yoga practice that it is.
Those are the three building blocks of Bikram…and life .
In a yoga class breathing means; you have to keep breathing in and out. Now you might think, that’s pretty intuitive: we do that anyway.
Right? But not really, not well enough. We forget to breathe and what’s more…we forget to pay attention to what we’re doing.
And that is what the breathing is about: focusing on your breath makes you stay in the present moment. And you need to do that, in order to hold the posture and to relax.
And it is such an important thing in yoga and in life, because the more aware of your breath you are, the easier it is be here now. In the present moment. And it is in this present moment, without thinking back or looking forward, where you can find bliss, calm, joy and even focus for important projects. Just breathe. The more you focus on now, the wiser and more joyful you will use your time.
Hold the posture
In Bikram Yoga there are a couple of postures that you have to hold for a while. It can definitely feel like a while: some postures you have to hold one minute and that minute is LONG.
Holding on to a posture while your body is like “what is happening”, where you’re tired and your muscles burn, your mind is all over the place, can be a struggle.
That’s why Bikram Yoga is as much a mental game as a physical one (as is the case for a lot of workouts). I’m not very good with mental games when it comes to working out. It burns? I give up. It aches? I give up. It’s getting uncomfortable and my upper thighs are burning from that damn squat I’ve been in for 45 seconds? I give up.
But I still get better at it, because it is important. It is not easy to hold the posture. Sometimes, you don’t want to hold the posture. At times, you can’t hold the posture.
Same in life. Sometimes I don’t want to write, sometimes I can’t seem to. And it is always good to remind myself that if I want to get somewhere, if I want to accomplish something?
I gotta do it. I gotta persevere, keep going. In Bikram and in life, I gotta hold the posture.
After you’ve held a posture in Bikram, you relax. During the second half of the class, the floor positions, you actually lie down on your back in savasana, dead man’s pose.
This is for no other reason than truly relax. You lie there, breathing deeply, focusing on one spot on the ceiling and you relax. Let the yoga melt into your body, they say. So you can go back into a (new) posture. And you fully relax for a few minutes after, so you are ready to start the rest of your day.
I have learned how important it is to give yourself time off. Without the deep relaxation, you cannot do deep work — any work really!
That’s why I pay attention to my schedule, plan free evenings and afternoons to relax and do a lot of stuff I enjoy. I need to really be free and fully relaxed in order to do my best work and writing.
So when I work, I work — but the moment I log off I am physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually out of office. At home I pet my cats, cook lavish meals and hang out with my fun and funny boyfriend, and then in the morning I am ready to go work again.
When I’m writing, I’m writing — and when I’ve done enough Pomodoros and pages I am off the clock and ready for Netflix, videogames and goofing around on the Internet.
Bikram is not for everybody. But I believe the building blocks can be used by anyone in order to live a happy life.
Wanna read more about what I learnt through Bikram Yoga?
I wrote a 3-book serie called Girl Meets Yoga in 2016 where I was having a hard time and yoga taught me a lot of valuable lessons.
Two of them are donation-based (aka free if you don’t want to spend money), the best one costs 5.50 euros. You can find them here if you’re interested in more about Bikram Yoga or the lessons it taught me.
Have a lovely Sunday, everybody.