Today was day 21 in the Bikram Yoga 30 day challenge, and the 24th day in a row for me of practicing this sweaty yoga. I have experienced some major improvements in my yoga practice, being able to touch my thumbs to my forehead in the sitting forward bend, I am doing the deepest backbends of my life, and had some epiphanies into my personal life. It is as if the healthier your spine becomes… everything else in your life improves. Founder of the sweaty yoga practice, Bikram Coudhury says with a healthy spine, “you don’t have to chase the gods, the gods chase you, you don’t have to chase money, money will chase you, you don’t have to chase love, love will chase you.” He also says that if you allow for someone else to make you feel sad or angry, you are a loser. My understanding of that quote is that you are in control of your own emotions, no one “makes” you feel anything… you chose to feel a certain way. It’s not what happens to you in life but how you react to what happens.
Perhaps this is a level of higher humanness… because this type of processing does not seem to be the case with most people, including myself. There exist people in our lives that can be happiness thieves… a simple interaction with these people can ruin your day, make you cry, put you in a horrible disposition. Even in my yoga practice I am sometimes very distracted and even annoyed with the person that may be talking during savasannah, a time of peace and rest. Very fidgety yogis that are unnecessarily moving while I am trying to balance on one leg and kick the other straight behind my head. People that arrive late and noisily set up their mat while others are trying to focus on their breathe and meditate. One of my favorite yoga instructors said that people that leave the room because they are too hot in the middle of the practice have narcissistic personalities… look, we are all hot.. it’s over 105 bloody degrees in the Bikram room… why do you think you are so special that you can leave… we all in the same sweaty boat. These distractions can knock me out of my concentration and focus, and disrupt the moment of being in the moment.
This is why I really appreciate my Bikram Yoga practice… it truly is a metaphor for life. It can give you patience with yourself and with others. It can help you learn to focus and remain balanced while the person next to you is moaning and complaining in the hot room… can help you focus and remain balanced in your life when faced with a happiness thief.
So perhaps Bikram is a bit harsh saying you are a loser if you allow others to negatively impact your emotions. But he does have a point… so be healthy, balanced and be aware that happiness thieves do exist in this world, inside and outside of the yoga room. Just try not to spend too much time with them.