Hello friends,

Yesterday, my good friend Hilary suggested we head to Bikrams, so off we went.  I was a little nervous, because I still haven’t been going as regularly as I’d like, and I was anticipating a difficult class.  Attitude is everything, however; so I steeled my nerves and went for it.

Point 1:  We went to the West End studio, which is very, very different from the Kits one.  It is much smaller, which is both good and bad.  The bad part is the facilities aren’t nearly as nice, and since the room is small, it was really crowded, which made it quite stuffy in there.  This wouldn’t have been a huge problem, had the teacher been more aware and in control of the temperature and climate of the room, but she wasn’t.  The bright side of the closer quarters, is that the mirrors are closer.  There were only three rows of students, so even if one was in the back, she would be able to have a clear view of herself.  Being able to watch yourself do the poses is so important in Bikrams for focus and in order to improve, and especially to gain a deeper understanding of your own body and the way it moves.  This can be difficult in a large class.  Other people are distracting, the mirrors are far away, and it is easy to get lost in the crowd.

Point 2:  The class was taught by a teacher I hadn’t had often before.  I had trouble finding a single focus for the class, and I find I usually do best when I have something in mind to work on.  One focus the teacher seemed to be encouraging, was finding a stillness in the practice.

Unlike other types of yoga I have done, where I feel there is a stillness to the postures, Bikrams for me is often about adjustment.  As I am getting into the pose, I am constantly scanning my body, adjusting for balance, trying to move deeper into the posture.  There is a lot of movement that happens in each pose, save for the last 5 seconds of so.  In addition to that movement, I find that because I’m sweaty, when we are taking our standing savasana, I want to wipe my face, drink water, adjust my hair, or scratch and itch instead of appreciating the opportunity for stillness and reflection and calm.

As I focused on remaining still during these standing savasanas, I noticed my body started to feel better and better.  The stillness not only improved my focus, but it actually helped physically as it slowed my heart rate and breathing.  It helped me prepare both physically and mentally for the next posture.

So much of exercise these days and so much of life in general seems to be driven by movement.  We have endless errands to run, we want to get on the treadmill for a straight 30 minutes so we can go to our meeting or drive to our date etc etc etc.  It is refreshing to be able to take a true moment of calm once in a while.  I think I will strive to find those moments in my life outside the yoga studio.