Three years ago, a Bikram yoga studio was built in my town. I had never done yoga before, but I had heard good things about it. Struggling with depression at the time, I was curious if yoga could be a good outlet for the emotions I was holding in.
I read about Bikram yoga to learn what to expect in my first class. The 105-degree heat was the first thing that caught my eye; I decided to give it a try and took my first class.
Get me out of here!
It's hot. I'm sweaty. The guy next to me smells. What do I do with my leg? Why am I here? When will the teacher turn on the fan? These are some of the questions I asked myself. Parked in the back row of the class, I questioned every movement and every word that came out of the instructor’s mouth.
Looking at myself in the mirror with a destructive mind was torturous. I didn't understand why we did each posture twice, why it was so hot, or why my posture didn't look like the woman's or the man's next to me.
My "monkey mind" ran 100 miles an hour as I thought about my depression, my hopes and dreams, my struggles, how I felt about my body in the front mirror, and my daily to-do list. Finally, the 90 minute, 105-degree class was over, and I felt accomplished.
What have I gained from Bikram yoga?
People ask me, if you hated your first class so much, what brought you back?
It was a challenge. I never turn down a challenge, and Bikram yoga was the ultimate challenge for me at that point in my life.
Additionally, between my first and second class, I read about the benefits of yoga, which included increased energy, depression and anxiety relief, self-awareness, and the chance to be an overall happier and healthier person. Here’s how Bikram yoga changed my life for the better.
1. I learned to love myself.
Posture after posture, I made little improvements. My teachers say that progress in the hot room is made in millimetres.
2. I paid attention to myself.
I began to observe my little physical, mental, and spiritual improvements, and I wanted more. I became more dedicated because I wanted to see more progress, and I slowly fell in love with myself.
3. I learned how to be patient.
Waiting for improvements to come in my practice was difficult. I learned to accept that it takes time to change my mind, my body, and my spirit.
4. I learned to take care of myself.
I have discovered that I must take care of my body, and it will take care of me. And when you take care of yourself, you can take care of others.
5. I learned how to be in the present moment.
Savasana, Dead Body Pose, taught me this one.
It looks easy, but there is so much to it. To lie still and think about nothing but the breath is extremely challenging. Each time though, I find myself controlling my thoughts a little bit better. This translates to my life outside the hot room as well. It has allowed me to focus and handle stress better.
6. I made another family.
The great thing about practicing yoga at a studio is that everyone is there with one ultimate goal: to be better than their previous self. I have connected with so many wonderful people, who are all so passionate about this yoga.
7. I learned to never give up.
If you can get back into a posture after falling out one dozen times, sweat like crazy, and stay in the hot room for the full 90 minutes, you can do anything! Bikram Choudhury says, "Falling out of a posture means you are human; getting back into the posture means you are a yogi." I am proud to be a yogi.
8. I smile more and I worry less.
People cannot believe how much I smile since I started practicing yoga. I often even catch myself smiling during class! I still have bad days, but I have so many more good days than I once did. I feel healthier mentally, physically, and spiritually. I am eternally thankful for Bikram Yoga for saving me.
Bikram Yoga has changed my life, and I highly recommend you to give it a try.
by Robin Fox - Robin is a 16-year-old Psychology major and has been practicing Bikram yoga for 3 years and counting. She enjoys Yin and Vinyasa yoga, and all things fitness & health. She's the yoga ambassador for One Tribe Apparel. Connect with her on Tumblr and Instagram.
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