Life Lessons from the Mat is a continuing series of the top 10 things that I have learned since beginning Bikram Yoga. Enjoy!
8. To loose the fear you have to go through it not around it
When students ask me how long it took me to do one posture or another. I always try to explain that each body is different. We all have had different experiences in our life that impact how our body moves. The more injuries, surgeries, and health issues we have the longer it may take to get into full expression of the postures. I previously spoke in generalities because I really didn’t want to admit what I thought was some of my own short comings. Yes, I had bad knees and lot of postures were challenging, but I also had a lot of fears that kept me from moving forward. As Brene’ Brown would say, I had developed this “beautiful coat of amour” to shield myself and the world from my true feelings of inadequacy. When I was at Bikram Yoga Teacher Training, I had to comfort those fears head on because I couldn’t go around them anymore. The program is very challenging both physically and mentally and it requires you to dig down deep within yourself to move forward. What I learned was the fear was more paralyzing that any of the tasks at hand. By tackling the fear I gained a sense of self worth. I can now say that “I am good enough”. This has been one of the greatest lessons that I have learned in life.
Ok, and “now the rest of the story”. I did not kick out in standing head to knee until I attended Bikram Yoga Teaching Training after practicing for more than 11 years. I still remember the morning class taught by one of the most senior teachers, Emmy Cleaves, when she asked the class of 400+ students how we expected to graduate from the program and teach this yoga if we couldn’t kick out in standing head to knee. I had left my corporate job family, moved to Los Angles for 9 weeks, and spent a sizable sum of money to take this program. I knew right then that I had to break through the mental fear of kicking out. From that moment forward I tried every class to kick out. It was not easy and my posture was less than pretty but I tried and by the end of the program I could consistently kick out. Today I can say that I actually enjoy this posture because I realize and appreciate how far I have come.
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.