Day 2 of my 101 day Bikram yoga challenge was completed with no incident. I had the pleasure of taking a class with Jennifer Pope, one of the owners of Bikram Yoga East Harlem and a newly minted Bikram teacher as of last year’s fall teacher training. After my second day, I am encouraged that I chose the right studio to embark upon this journey. So far it’s a haven of peaceful energy as I go through the highs and lows of my daily practice.
Bikram 101: Day 2
Today, I had less dizziness, but I did pay for my insufficient sleep–a persistent complaint–with less stamina and strength to hold some postures, particularly my favorite, standing bow. I could hold it for 60 seconds on the left but not on the right. I’m not worried though. I have 99 more days to work on it! Although Stephanie provided insight yesterday about standing head to knee, I had trouble pulling back from kicking out during the asana. My knee is locked but I don’t have the strength to hold the posture. I think I’ll work on building that strength instead of starting the posture late and rushing through it.
After class, I had the pleasure of spending some time with another Bikram yoga aficionado which brought me even greater insight into why I practice this form of yoga. To many “purists”, Bikram yoga, with its mirrors, commanding instructors and trademarked, regimented postures, is the bastardization–the McDonaldization–of yoga. I have experienced other forms of yoga and I have enjoyed them. Elements that irritate detractors of Bikram Choudhury’s 26-posture beginning yoga series are the very things draw and hold my interest after almost 3 years of practice.
I love that it is always the same 26 postures for an hour and a half in a room that is 105 degrees no matter where I go. This consistency frees me up to focus on the tiniest victories as I discover adjustments to improve my form. The meditation and introspection of the practice finds me in my eyes in the mirror. I am my greatest teacher. Watching myself drenched in sweat in that mirror for 90 minutes melts away any and ALL body image issues. I am strong. I am beautiful. I do not question how God built me. I can do anything, maybe not right away but every minute and every day brings me closer to it. All I can do is my best and that changes with every day. I leave each class satisfied and spent. I can’t say that about everything in my life! Until that changes, Bikram it is!