i am [inspired]
Curious about what yoga can do for you? check out what some of our yogis have to say about this amazing thing that changed their lives.
When I began taking classes at Bikram Yoga Williamsville (now I AM YOGA BUFFALO) my intention was to develop more concentration in preparation for giving a lecture at Canisius College. I definitely got what I was looking for, and the lecture went well. However, for the best part of this story and for what I believe applies to all Bikram students, please read the following:
In the very beginning I quickly learned, and this brought tears to my eyes, that my body expressing itself in class felt like a ‘performance’. Similar to dancing, or singing … and this was something for which I had no reference point. I knew this was special.
Before long I was aware of the meditative quality I always experienced in class, and this aspect was incredible to discover. I realized this meditation experience was more important to me than the physical experience, which by itself was also incredible.
As I attended regularly I used Bikram classes to enjoy what my body could do and what my mind would experience. I knew I had to continue, and I knew I would further explore what this meditation was about.
So, the meditation part: I and I believe for you too, experience improved mental clarity, concentration, and mental efficiency. During class when you focus on the dialogue, and focus on your breathing, then the physical nature of the class … with the challenging elements … becomes incredibly minimized and the meditation experience becomes enhanced. The best skills I discovered, acquired and continue to use in every class are: relying on ‘home base’ or your ‘anchor’ (focus on your breathing), and ‘noting’ thoughts that come up (you call them by name, you label them – and they dissolve). And, before you know it, you realize class has moved so far along with clock time you know you have done well with your meditation.
Currently, my daily meditation practice is early morning, before coffee, before the day starts, listening to Tara Brach, PhD, her “Mindfulness Meditation” CD. I am finding the same benefits with my mind. I am experiencing improved mental clarity, focus, concentration, and mental efficiency. This helps to deepen my Bikram practice every time I am in class. While this is such a pleasure for me, my wish for you and all Bikram class participants is that you recognize and connect with the meditation quality in class; which, I believe, is the secret about Bikram Yoga that I did not know at my beginning.
This meditation quality enhances your class experience, it improves your physical discipline, you experience less mental distraction in class, you teach yourself to minimize distractions, and for me I even realized that drinking water during class was a distraction. That did not work for me, my decision was to forgo the water, and that deepened my practice. When you meditate, as with any meditation experience, any distraction requires you to pull yourself back to the moment, and get back on track with using your mental skills (ex. breathing, ‘home base’, ‘noting’).
Bikram Yoga is an incredible life experience. It is a ‘letting go’ practice, it is a way to ‘be in the moment’, it is exactly what a meditation experience is, and you get to experience that every class you take.
I wish all class participants an opportunity to continue to love Bikram Yoga, and if this should resonate with you, I wish you are able to enhance your class and yoga by connecting with this meditation experience. And, perhaps above all – allow this Yoga to be your yoga, your experience, your meditation, and you can discover for yourself what benefits and gifts happen to come to you.
Love and Peace,
Many wonderful healings have happened since I established a regular yoga practice in November 2004. Sinus infections lasting a couple of months every winter are now a thing of the past. Painful elbow and knee ailments that developed as the result of years of extreme pounding in different sports have cleared up completely.
Maintaining a sense of calm and perspective when under duress is generally the normal with only occasional lapses. This is what comes with the life style of a yogi: increased immunity to ailment, compassion for yourself and for others and strong general health and vitality.
I have realized lately how different I actually look. Most people say I have taken five to ten years off my appearance. When asked how he created his statue of David, Michelangelo replied that he just ‘chipped away the marble that wasn’t David’. In a much smaller way, this is what happens when you maintain a yoga practice, the parts and pieces that are not your true self gradually fall away.
I started practicing yoga because my friend Dawn who participates in my Group Fitness classes thought I would enjoy and benefit from it. She sure was right! She invited me to come with her on a Sunday. Initially I thought I’d just practice on Sunday because I live in Lockport and the commute can take 45 minutes in heavy traffic.I soon realized this was the best thing I have ever done and 1 day a week was just not enough for me. I remember my first class I looked at Dawn and said, “this is the hardest class I have ever taken!”
The benefits I have received are many!! Where do I begin? With the high impact and intensity of my job, I can say that Bikram Yoga has helped me to stay injury free! I no longer suffer chronic sciatica and restless legs. I remember my first long plane ride just after finishing my first 30 day challenge. I have never sat on a plane without my sciatic flaring up. I flew to Lake Tahoe and never gave it a second thought. Emotionally I am able to handle life’s daily challenges much better. Situations that would have had me up worrying over all night no longer exist. My mind is more at ease and I am better able to deal with stressful situations.
The standing bow is my favorite posture. I can feel how my body has changed in this posture since I began and it is gratifying to me. It is also the most challenging for me and I love a challenge!
I honestly have to say that I have never walked out of a class and thought it was easy. I have learned to never set expectations for myself other than to give it my best every class.
Bikram yoga has changed my life in every way imaginable. My eyes are wide open to all of the possibilities the world has to offer. I now feel I can take anything that comes at me and I can do anything I want to do. My goal is to one day become a Bikram Yoga teacher. I admire and respect all of our teachers. I would like to give back the gift you have all given to me. I thank all of you for changing my life!