I wore long baggy pants and an old polo t-shirt. I certainly had no idea what I was getting myself into. Why hadn’t anyone warned me? Maybe they did actually warn me, and I just assumed that it couldn’t really be that hot. I mean come on, 105 degrees, really? Really. We all can see what the first three letters of the word assume are, and boy did I feel like one about 10 minutes into the class. I was already soaked with sweat and the armpit sweat stains were definitely unattractive, but I was determined to get through this. I had really wished I had wore a different outfit, I thought a sweat band would have been nice for my now dripping with sweat hair and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing in front of me. How long would it take to be able to twist my body like the lady in the row in front of me? She was at least 20 years older than me too, and not necessarily skinny, but radiant and healthy looking nonetheless. If she could do this, then I most certainly could tough it out and make it to the end, and I did! At the end of class the whole room clapped for all the new students, and at that very moment I felt a sense of accomplishment I had not felt in quite a while. I had just endured 90 minutes of what most would compare to pure hell and like a women who completely forgets the pain after her baby is born and placed into her arms, I was euphoric and felt empowered once again. If I could do this, I could do anything!
People actually come back for a second, third and fourth class, and let me tell you why. Bikram Yoga was exactly what I had needed at that moment in my life, because a week before my first class my doctor had tried to tell me that I might be depressed. Who me? Was he actually serious? Not only that he already wanted to put me on medication. Seriously? I mean are you kidding me? I am the optimistic, happy go lucky girl. Nothing ever would get me down, and I was always one who could find the bright side in ever situation. I just couldn’t except that he was right, and I was willing to do whatever it took to make sure that I proved him wrong. Also at the same doomsday doctor appointment, what he actually told me first (which is an important point as you will see in a minute) he diagnosed me with carpal tunnel syndrome. The restless nights I was experiencing with my hands going completely numb, and also the numbness I experienced while snowmobiling was positive signs of a deterioration happening in my wrists.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (a painful disorder caused by compression of a nerve in the carpal tunnel; characterized by discomfort and weakness in the hands and fingers and by sensations of tingling, burning or numbness)
Ok, so the doctor was at least right about that one. We decided that it was most likely linked to my cleaning business and all the time I spent with my hands pressing against shower stall walls and floors while scrubbing and washing and cleaning. Finding out that I would have to wear what I instantly thought were these ugly black braces all the time now in order to get any kind of rest at night, save having a surgery that would put me out of commission for weeks. I can clearly discern now that may have been the instant depression that he tried to diagnose me with next. I was completely crushed to find out for the first time in my life that my body was not indestructible. I felt humbled, scared and completely confused all at the same time. It was the worst doctor appointment of my life! At this point I was only 25 years old, what was I going to do now?
The practice of Bikram yoga was a complete surprise to me and quickly offered a prescription for all of my recent troubles. Was it fate that I found it during this low time in my life? First it is chemical free, if you don’t count the natural release of all the symphonic biochemicals that seemingly begin to harmonize after the first breathing pose. Every single class is taught in such a way that veteran and greenhorns alike can both feel challenged. Within my first ten days for ten dollars (their special deal they offer for brand new students) I was able to go three times and after that point I had already stuffed those God awful wrist braces into the back of my closet. My numbing wrist symptoms had completely vanished, and I was now a forever yogi, how could I ever not be? As far as I was concerned I was healed! The melancholy way of thinking that had so quickly set in a few weeks ago was easily swept away, and I felt like a brand new charged particle. I felt like I could do anything and I loved the challenge of each new class. I loved that it was a constant practice, there was always hope of going a little bit further. Someday I would be able to do a full back bend, and the standing splits. I had never experienced any type of yoga practice before I became a Bikram yoga student, so I had no biases, as far as I was concerned nothing could top this practice. It had completely changed my life, and I was fascinated to see and feel how my body had the ability to heal itself.
I also started to eat better too and my interests for food and nutrition once again returned. It wasn’t long before I started to cook again, became a vegetarian and finally realized my dreams for working with people to help them find the same daily happiness I was experiencing. I was like a sponge, my thinking so much clearer, and my desire to discover optimum health for myself and others continued to get stronger every day! I could never get to class as much as I would have liked. That’s the hard part about having more responsibilities than oneself. Work, kids, house, and everything in between still existed and I could not attend class every day, but still enough to be receiving the healthful benefits I had grown to appreciate. Pretty soon I was signing up for college again, feeling even more empowered and invincible than ever. I could envision my future in a way that was undeniably full of real possibilities now, and my hope to help others realize their own truth and happiness was already beginning to happen. My kids being the best example of this transition, their outlook on life continues to be so contented and joyful.
A Stellar Life begins when we face our fears head on and make a decision to take control of our emotions, of our lives. Maybe Bikram yoga isn’t for everyone, even though I would highly debate that one on the side of the yogis. The experience of a Bikram class is not the same for everyone, because we are all individuals, each of us has our own needs and expectations to be met. I challenge you to at least give it a try, especially if you are facing any type of difficulty in your life, physical or emotional. Be prepared to push your edge, because isn’t that really what we have to do if we want results, if we want a change? God created us with this extraordinary ability to heal both inside and out. If only when we give ourselves the right conditions and stimuli. We are truly products of our environments and intakes- I have discovered Bikram yoga practice is a place to stretch out and dispose of all the garbage in my life, if any, and leave it behind so that I can take on the rest of my day, and my life feeling happier, healthier and lighter for it.