After 4 days of hiatus from Bikram yoga – ie just eat and play in Bali – I returned to the hot room today and felt like a wreck the moment I completed the eagle pose.
I felt nauseous, gassy and generally clumsy. I believe it is because I ate too much carbs when I was in Bali, and also the fact that I drank less water than usual with all that activities under the hot sun. I could feel the difference immediately. I was dehydrated.
My reflections – a mere 4 days of losing focus on what one should nourish the body with can damage all the hard work put in!
Moving forward, will hydrate like mad, increase my greens, cut the processed foods and bikram daily until I get the groove going again!
After a hiatus from Bikram as I went on my “
Eat, Pray, Love” trip to Nepal and India in December for a whole month, I rebooted my regime by committing to the 30 Day Challenge at BYCH (Bikram Yoga City Hall). I have just completed my 16th consecutive day and I feel really good. BYCH is a very nice studio with very friendly instructors and staff – feels like a second home the moment I step in daily.
What I like about the practice is that every session feels different even though the poses are the same. One day I could feel extremely powerful, yet another day I can feel like I have the weakest limbs ever. I have learnt not to expect anything, but just accept the way it is and just be. Very similar to my Buddhist meditation training where my teacher would always instruct me to “watch the mind, rest the mind, observe without any fabrications and simply be present and watch”. Of course, it is not easy. Concentration in ‘watching the mind’ is a challenge but when practiced often, the mind can rest more easily. From a few seconds, to probably a few minutes. And it is this ‘restful’ state which brings much bliss to the meditator.
Applying the same concept to my Bikram practice, I simply concentrate on the teacher’s instructions, and move into the poses with 101% effort and concentration. 101% is an aspiration, but most of the time I swing between 70 – 99% depending on the internal dialogue like “oh it is too hot today/ the instructor is annoying me today/ the person beside me is breathing so hard/ my legs need a rest/ i think the sweat is infecting my acne…..” and it goes on and on. There comes the benefits from mind training – the moment I lose concentration, I am able to bring the mind back to the present, and just flow into the pose with mindfulness.
I like Bikram yoga because it is an active form of physical meditation in complementing my journey in mind training. It is very hard to describe or put it to words because it is experiential. No matter how much I tell you how tasty the food tastes, you will never understand unless you taste it for yourself. The joy comes from that very few seconds of clarity when you are in the pose itself – and this joy simply follows you throughout the day.
Those who follow me on Facebook would know that I have been attending Bikram classes at Bikram Yoga Harbourfront daily for the past 18 days religiously. It is still tough for me as a newbie but I would like to encourage you to give it a try. There are many articles about Bikram yoga online so I shan’t spend time marketing it here. But if you do want to try a 10-day unlimited pass for $50, please let them know that I have referred you. Thus far I have convinced 5 of my friends to join me already and they are really loving the benefits.
Today was my 6th consecutive Bikram yoga session. And it doesn’t get easier at all. 90mins in a 40 deg C hot room with 40% humidity is a totally awful experience.
But I don’t know why I keep going back. During the classes, I felt like I hated everything. I hated the poses, I hated the fact that I had only 2mins rest (savasana or the ‘dead corpse’ pose) in between the challenging poses, I hated the breathlessness, I hated the heart thumping I swear I thought was going to go into a cardiac arrest, I hated the thirst…
But when the class ends, the hatred dissipates into a kind of bliss that I cannot describe. It follows me throughout the day.
And then I go back to the torture chamber again the very next day, trying to improve on the poses paying attention to the instructor’s dialogue, while I struggle with my own internal monologues.
“Lock your knees, lock your knees, lock your knees!”
– Yah if I could lock my knees you’d out of your job.
“Open your shoulders like a flower blooming.”
– I must be Rafflesia…wait how does a flower bloom in 40deg?
“It’s going to hurt but don’t be afraid…bend, bend, more and more till it is a 360 deg wheel”
– If I can do that I would have been in cirque du soleil and not here.
Anyway, I am still alive and will still be going back tomorrow. Bikram yoga is a love-hate relationship. It is addictive.
Try it and you will understand what I mean.