This weekend was all about connecting....making new connections with my LA yoga tribe and reconnecting with my closest of friends back home. In a lot of ways, I feel like Bikram when he first got his start in LA. He was originally encouraged to open his doors here, by some of his first, most influential students - Shirley Maclaine and Dr. Anne Marie Bennstrom, and of course later on in 1984 by Rajashree (Raj) Choudhoury, his wonder-woman wife. http://bikramyogasa.com/about-rajashree
It was Raj and Emmy Cleaves who ultimately proposed that Bikram begin training people to teach for him, so that his practice of Yoga could expand faster. For me, it was my mother and my best friends back home who encouraged me to make my own transition into living my dream, rather than dreaming to live.
Bikram's first ever Teacher Training session was held in 1994. It used to be 90-days, instead of 9 weeks and 3 classes per day instead of 2...I can't even imagine. Bikram taught every single aspect of the training himself. Everyone slept at the yoga school; women in bunk beds and men in sleeping bags on the floor. That being said, the evolution of what takes place during today's teacher training, in such a short period of time, is remarkable in and of itself.
The concept of the "yoga class" blew up in the 90's. Yoga became part of every major movement in this country from the hippie to the health to the new age movements. But as yoga became more and more accessible to everyone, people started changing it. Here's Bikram's problem with changing his series: if it ain't broke, don't fix it! When people are motivated by money they make changes to the postures for the worse; to sell classes rather than to save lives and help people. While the capitalist in me says, so? Money is fun. Money afforded me the chance to take time off from the grind and have this experience in the first place. Bikram would say to that, "you will make more money doing it my way," and believe me, he's willing to put his money where his mouth is. How? By giving us the tools to access our Latent Force / Hidden Power.
As humans, we do not know how to use all the energy in our own bodies, so the whole point of yoga is essentially to learn how to access this tremendous force / power. By simplifying the yoga, the way Bikram has done, WE ALL HAVE ACCESS. However, we will never learn something new, until we stop thinking.
"When one has become successful at Asana, Pranayama can be perfected. With Pranayama, the veil that hides illumination is lifted and the mind becomes fit for meditation."
Meditation is essentially the focus on a single point / stillness. When we meditate, things become clear. This weekend I was able to meditate in my yoga bubble with my yoga soul mates. I am ready to tackle the grueling week ahead because of this new found stillness. And yes, we had some fun at the beach in between the stillness.
|Clockwise from top left: Tom, Rosie, Lauren, Luiz & Ish|
|A perfect heart in the sand|