Last night at 5pm PST, I welcomed my first outside guest into the Bikram Yoga Training Lair (aka, the ballroom). It was his first Bikram class ever and he chose to kick off his yoga career in front of ~450 student, teacher and staff practitioners.
Mike from the Chicago studio taught a true beginners class that adhered well to the dialogue and made my friend feel like a more than welcome member of the team, the MVP. Motie not only stayed in the room and tried every posture, he practiced without his, once-chronic, lower back pain, something that 6- months prior, would have prohibited him from any yoga and non-essential movement. Motie's lower back condition ultimately required surgery which gave him a lot of instant relief and simultaneously provided new set of challenges.
We have been begging Motie to try Bikram, ever since he recovered from surgery. But he had to come when he was ready. The harmony in all of this is that everyone goes at their own pace in Bikram, irregardless of whether they are a teacher, a student or a first-timer.
I cannot tell you how good it made me feel to watch my friend get applauded for his endurance by over 400 yogis. God, I wish I had had that kind of welcome! Back in the day, I took my first true Bikram class in Boca Raton, FL with Alexa. She dragged me in and I absolutely hated it. I tried to convert each of the 26 poses into their Vinyasa counterparts. I worked myself into a tizzy. I hated the sit-up, the constant turning around, the heat - everything sucked!
Everything hurt in yoga, until it didn't. Everything pissed me off, until I calmed down. There became too many parallels to count, between what was taking place in the Bikram studio, to what was happening in my every day life. And then it dawned on me, over time, that Bikram was just life playing out in the simplest of forms.