Lessons from the Mat is a continuing series of the top 10 things that I have learned since beginning Bikram Yoga. Enjoy!
#4. Loose attachments and gain freedom
When I first started practicing I mentally developed a list of things that I had to have in order to practice Bikram Yoga. My frozen water bottle, my hand towel, my “spot” in class, and my list of favorite teachers. If one of these important items was not present then I knew that I couldn’t or wouldn’t practice that day. I remember one of my teachers challenging me and my fellow students to leave our water bottles outside the room. Even though I knew this teacher was extremely experienced, I thought she was crazy. How could anyone take a 90 minute hot yoga class without a water bottle? I resisted for weeks but she keep gently encouraging us to give it a try. I decided to “try” but under my terms. I started by deciding not to have any water until midway through the standing series, then it was after the standing series and then eventfully until the end of class. It took me a long time before I left my water bottle outside the room. I didn’t realize until the end what she was really trying to do She was encouraging us to let go of all the attachments that were holding us back. It seems so simple but yet so hard to comprehend until you can experience it yourself. By letting go, you create a sense of freedom for yourself.
Ok, and “now the rest of the story”. I can now practice without these attachments, but I do sometimes bring my water bottle into the yoga room. I don’t beat myself up for this decision. I recognize it is generally on days when I have already taught 1 or 2 classes or just have not had enough hydration prior to practicing. I giggle with my students when they share their attachments with me because I understand where they are in their journey. Having your hand towel or favorite spot in the yoga room is not bad unless it holds you back from experiencing all that the practice has to offer.
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.