Almost a month ago I walked into my first-ever Bikram yoga class. In the 17+ years I’ve been practicing yoga I never imagined myself going to a Bikram yoga class. What could possibly be gained by practicing yoga in an over-heated sweaty room? Surely there really can’t be any useful benefits other than feeling completely miserable…………..
But I’ve been stuck in a rut for almost a year now and searching for a way out, because there always is a way out, so I decided to give it a try. What’s the worst that could happen? I’d die? Pass-out? Throw-up? A class lasts 90 minutes, and I could always walk out.
One Monday morning I drove 37 miles (yes, that’s a long way, but I was going with a friend to a studio and a teacher she recommended) to Marina Del Rey to take Loren’s class. When I walked into the yoga room I could feel the heat lambaste my body and I thought to myself “what doesn’t kill me had better make me stronger!” I quickly put my mat, towel, and water down and exited the room, determined not enter until the class started.
For the next 90 minutes I proceeded to sweat from every pore in my body, including the ones I didn’t know I had, but I had a certain determination, a drive, to do my best. I wanted to take my body and mind into uncharted territory, to go deeper, to feel the freedom that comes with new discoveries.
At the end of the class, I felt higher, freer, stronger than I’d ever imagined. I’ve gone back several times a week since that first class, and Bikram will become a regular part of my practice. Why?
It’s not about the physical. Over the course of the past few weeks, while sweating my life away, I’ve come to realize that I will no longer be contained by others’ perceptions of me or by my perceptions of myself. This is what I’ve learned in Bikram yoga: it’s not about the heat, it’s about my willingness to go further than I ever thought I could.