I got into Bikram yoga initially as a way to get back in shape after having kids, alleviate lower back pain and improve my overall flexibility. My first class was a hot mess and it took me six months to be persuaded to give it another go. I’m so thankful that I did as for the past seven years it has gradually become an integral part of my life.
I started with one or two classes a week which evolved into four or five. The challenges over these classes have been varied and plentiful.
The physical challenge more obvious. 40 degree heat at 40 percent humidity is at times a gruelling struggle. Working with what you’ve got on any given day. The mental challenges may be less obvious. Staying calm and controlling the breath is the hardest thing to accomplish when dealing with anything outside the room. Finding that point of calm in any given posture an addictive pursuit.
Add on top of all that the commands to “lock your knee”, “breathe normally” and “don’t even blink your eyes” further challenge your body and mind. I did go through a phase where my mind heard the cowboy cry YEE-HAW as soon as we started the standing bow. Every. Time.
Bikram for me takes me back to the basics of breathing, surviving and challenging myself in a way that always puts the rest of my world in perspective. Sometimes it makes me laugh and I feel pure joy. Sometimes it brings me to tears. Sometimes it pushes me. But when I emerge from the hot room everything seems back in perspective and more manageable than when I stepped in.
My Bikram practice has only benefitted from Nick and Binny’s beautiful studio. Their dedication and passion for the practice is contagious. I’m so grateful to Binny, Nick, Darren and Gill, plus all the teachers who’ve come before, for their advice and continual encouragement. Last but not least, I love knowing that when I step into the torture chamber I have alongside me the friendliest and most supportive bunch of people.
“Regardless of your age or current physical condition you’ll laugh, cry, moan, groan, sweat and experience the most exciting, hard working and effective therapeutic yoga routine in the world.”