Sometimes life punches you in the stomach. Well at least for me things in life leave me with that very visceral feeling. My Bikram Yoga practice for the past approx 8 years, has given me strength, balance and focus to face the challenges of life. It’s like a big sweaty hug to heal from the punches and struggles of life.
There is a little more than a week left in the 60 Bikram Yoga day challenge, and I am feeling proud that I have made a commitment to myself, my mind and body to take on that challenge. The practice never is easy. Somedays it is quite miserable. But the benefits and rewards are amazing.
Let’s begin with physical rewards. I have always exercised, was a dancer, runner, etc and have always ate very healthy. Turning 40 a few years ago, clearly gave way to a slower metabolism and a need to eat less and less in order to maintain a desired weight. The more I practice yoga, the less hungry I am, and I tend to crave more fresh, raw foods. The consistent daily practice of Bikram gives me greater flexibility. I’ve never had a deeper backbend in my life. I have had a break through in every single posture. Perhaps I am even gaining length in my spine (I hope to grow an inch or two instead of shrink as I age). Summer is here and for the first time in ten years (post pregnancies) I now own a few two piece bathing suits and will wear them with confidence.
Emotionally, Bikram is my sweaty antidepressant. It is a place where I sometimes cry, but am able to leave the tears and sweat in the room and walk away refreshed and renewed. The focus and balance I gain, helps me be a better mother, actor, friend and therapist. It helps me believe in me. Because, really in life you are your own best teacher. And in order to share love, you have to feel it for yourself. This practice forces you to look in the mirror, and appreciate the sweaty, red cheeked image before you and leads to self-forgiveness and acceptance. Sometimes in life, all you can do is try… so each breathe, each pose, is your chance to try, your best, in that moment and be happy with that accomplishment.
Finally the most wonderful gift I have found is the beautiful yogis that have over the years become my friends. They come in all shapes and sizes, have all different jobs and hobbies. But the common theme is that they are simply wonderfully joyous people. They are kind, compassionate, supportive, hard working and loving. The studio in Hamden in which I have been practicing for 6 years, has become a second home, where there is always a friend. There is not a day that I am not inspired by another friend’s personal growth. The energy we all create in that room is amazing. Life is hard, but it is so much more fun when we can share in those struggles together.
Thank you Bikram yoga for being there for me, unconditionally. I am forever grateful for this practice.