On Thursday I went to a studio in Seattle, WA, while I was visiting my family. Bikram Yoga Seattle is a beautiful studio in the Fremont area. It has wonderful facilities, including a water faucet in the class, so if you run out of water you can get more without leaving the room and disrupting your body’s temperature.

It was a busy class (4PM) and it was full of people of many different body types and many different levels – more diverse that the studio I usually go to in Vancouver. At the beginning of the class, it was clear to me that the teacher was going to do nothing to challenge me, but in it’s own way that was a challenge. I think I have mentioned it here before, that Katie (one of my favourite teachers I have had) likes to remind us “I don’t have to make the class hard for you, it is hard enough on it’s own.”

During the class, I pushed myself as hard as I could. This is a different experience than having a teacher who makes the class difficult. A teacher can make a class more difficult by being strict with timing, and encouraging the students to push themselves, lock their knees, and “stretch back, fall back, lean back, way back” in the backward bending poses. A less demanding teacher can still be just as valuable in her own way.

It is so important to know how to challenge yourself and push yourself, because most of the time in life you don’t get a teacher telling you to study harder, wake up earlier, and do the other real-life equivalents of locking the knee. Ideally you come to a place where you can set your own challenges in life, and force yourself to do the things that will help you achieve your goals.

This reminds me of one of my favourite quotes by Bikram: “you want the key to success in life? Lock the f****ing knee.”

This week I’ll hopefully get to give a studio in Newport a try. This is the only Bikram studio I have been able to locate in RI at all… the whole state. So we will see if I can make it there, and what kind of class the beautiful state of Rhode Island has to offer.

In the meantime, I will be tanning on the beach, eating good food, and relaxing with my family.

Lock the knee!

-C

As some of you may know, over the past few months, I have fallen off the wagon when it comes to my yoga practice.  I basically stopped going more than once a week, then moved to Seattle, and didn’t go to a single class until this past week, and let me tell you:  my body knows it.

While I still feel good after a class, and I still enjoy the workout, I have been feeling very differently than I used to.  Now I know I don’t usually make body or weight-based goals, but I have gained a lot since Joe and I broke up, and I don’t like it one bit.  I can wallow and sigh and make excuses that I was going through a rough time, but I know better.  “I’m doing my best is an excuse used by people who are weak” – Bikram.  I haven’t been doing my best.  I haven’t been coping my best.  I haven’t been my best, and I have absolutely no excuse for that.  So I guess, since I am so anti body goals, my goal will be to do my best.  My goal will be to do my best and mean it.

When I left for Seattle, one of my friends in Vancouver asked me “what are you going to do?”  and I answered “I’m going to set goals and then I am going to meet them.”  I think back on that and wonder if I’ve let myself down in that way so far.  My lack of goal setting, my lack of drive, could be contributing to my overwhelming sense of being directionless.  I set these half-baked, random idea-goals and then I have no follow through, which leads me to be very discouraged.  “You want the key to success in life? Lock the fucking knee.” – Bikram again said this.  By going to class, I started trying to lock my knee.  By setting realistic goals, I will continue trying to lock the knee.  When my knee is locked, I am confident that things will fall into place for me.  I know everything will work out if I just lock the knee.

I need new perspective, new motivation.  I need to stop wallowing in self pity and proclaiming to be “doing my best.”  I want to actually be my best.  I encourage anyone reading this to ask himself what his best actually is, and what excuses he is making for not being there.

Happy Halloween!

-C