Life Lessons from the Mat is a continuing series of the top 10 things that I have learned since beginning Bikram Yoga. Enjoy!
7. Let go of expectations and you will enjoy the journey
When I first started practicing Bikram Yoga, I was very self conscious. I remember taking my first class and wondering what all the other students were going to think of me and my practice. I had never taken a yoga class before and really didn’t know what to expect in class. The truth be known, I actually thought we were going to sit in a hot room for 90 minutes and hum. True statement! So imagine my surprise when we started moving in the hot room. Since I had no idea what to do or how to do it, I was forced to listen to the instructor’s dialogue word by word. The instructions were so detailed that I had to block everything else out of my mind just to get through the practice. I remember my friend who invited me saying “no one will even pay attention to you” but I didn’t believe her. You see even though I had been fairly athletic most of my life (and even taught high impact aerobics for years), and I still held a set of expectations for myself that were not realistic. These beliefs had gotten in my way of accepting myself “as is” and enjoying the present moment for what it offered. I am not sure when it happened but sometime in the first year of practicing I just let get of these expectations. My body craved being in the room and the peace that I felt after practicing made me lose the crazy expectations that I was putting on myself. Once I made this shift in my thinking, my practice and journey towards mindfulness just took off.
Ok, and now the “rest of the story”. One of the nicest compliments that I have received over the years about my practice is when a fellow student said “I enjoyed practicing next to you in class today, you were so calm and still”. In my early years, I would have wanted to have a compliment about my postures or my outfit but it was this compliment that made me realize I was truly on my journey of mindfulness.
Amy Clement is a certified Bikram Yoga Instructor and owns Bikram Yoga Lake Norman. She has practiced Bikram Yoga for over 16 years and still considers herself to be a beginner.