When I found myself in a Bikram Class for the first time 15 years ago, I thought that I would either faint or throw up. This had nothing to do with the style of yoga I knew and liked, where there were no bright lights, mirrors and intense heat. So I continued practicing Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Power Yoga for 10 years without ever thinking of returning to Bikram Yoga.
Until I was living in Brisbane. Despite that Brisbane is located in the sub-tropics, the winters are cold – freezing cold! I have actually never been that cold in my life as I have in Brisbane winters. That might be due to the fact that we are just too well accustomed to heat and incredibly soft when it comes to cold, or maybe it’s a result of non-insulated houses. However, on the 16 of July 2010, in the middle of Brisbane Winter the unthinkable happened: I fled the cold by running to the nearest Bikram Studio to take a class.
What can I tell you? I have been hooked ever since – and not only in Winter!
5 years into my Bikram Practice I realise that 15 years ago, living in Manhatten I had simply not been up for the challenge this practice brings with it.
The Bikram Series, 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises, practiced for 90 minutes at 40C heat, is challenging. Mostly for your mind, that will tell you to run out of this room and never return! But if you learn to observe your thoughts and to not give in, this practice will indeed make you fall in love with the Asana, the heat, yourself.
Over the past 5 years, the practice of Bikram Yoga has taught me endless lessons, it has helped me to realise my true self, my strength as well as my boundaries. I have learned to listen to my body’s needs and wants, I have learnt to respect myself for everything I am, to treat my body the way it needs to be treated in order to be healthy and happy, flexible and strong. I have learned to be vulnerable and honest, open minded and compassionate and I have, along the way, found an amazing community of people.
Today, I am incredibly grateful for the freezing Brisbane winters as without them I would have never returned to another Bikram Studio in my life!