Friday, September 2, 2011

Bored with Bikram's.....lessons in letting go....





Until recently (like this week!) I've been having a hell of a time getting myself through my Bikram's practices with a good attitude (anyone that knows me personally knows that I can come across a little bitchy) Ninety minutes is a long time to listen to bad instruction much less spiritual and metaphysical philosophies you don't agree with. I don't know when it all started to get to me...more than normal....



What I mean by normal is that I've known since I started, since my first class, that the instruction was lacking. In the very first breathing exercise you place your clasped hands underneath your chin and raise your elbows until your arms are next to your ears....now here's the good part....then you drop your head back....way, way back, open your mouth and exhale as you bring your elbows together to touch in front. Pretty harmless huh? Well it may be if your traps aren't as tight as drums or if you've got good should, neck and chest flexibility.



I remember asking the teacher after class, "When you say drop your head back do you mean just drop it?" And she answered, as she threw her head all the way back as if she was just decapitaed, "yeah, just throw it all the way back". Somehow this did not seem like good advice. Call me crazy but isn't your neck something you should treat more cautiously?




So the other morning in class as the teacher was leading us through the beginning breathing exercise she kept telling this one woman to drop her head all the way back. "Drop your head all the way back...no, all the way back.....just drop it all the way back.....can't you just drop your head all the way back?" I thought to myself "NO! SHE CAN'T! DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT IS TO DO?" Sheez... Not everbody has that kind of flexibility in their neck for God's sake! It took me months if not a year to be able to do that!


Back to the story.... This is just one small example of what drives me crazy. No awareness of how hard alot of these poses are for most people, and to top it off no knowledge of progressions and how to really teach someone the skill of yoga. And alot of times false intruction spreads like a virus among teachers with blind trust. I found myself not being bored with the practice but bored with the Bikram cult.



Back to the real story (enough bitching)....



As I find myself getting more and more irritated and hoping the teacher doesn't catch me rolling my eyeballs (that has actually happened...yikes), I asked myself, what was this supposed to teach me? Getting frustrated, irritated and angry wasn't how I wanted to spend my time, besides what am I really getting all worked up about? As I started to calm myself I started repeating in my head, "let it go....let it go....let it go..." "Let it go" Let what go? Let it all go. Let go of all the stuff that you are wasting your time feeling bad about. I've got better things to do with my time. So I challenged myself to see how long it would take me to start feeling better. How fast could I let those feelings go and focus back on what was important to me, to improve my practice.


My irritation and anger was not the fault of anyone else, especially not the fault of a teacher who was there spending her (or his) time leading a class through something that they believe will make a persons life better....and I do too. It's not the fault of a teacher who is truly there to help. I'm grateful for their passion and enthuasim that they share with so many others. I'm grateful to all of them for showing up everyday so I can practice. They are not responsible for my happiness and good feelings, no one else is, I am! Everybody does the best they can until they realize they can do better, even Bikram teachers! Once I realized I could do better I did.



How fast can I let go of some of the other stuff that "bothers" me? Some of it so small in the grand scheme of things, in fact most of it. For me Bikram's is not just a yoga practice but a practice in letting go.


4 comments:

Juci RKC said...

Most excellent post Tracy!
Do you study Zen? Your wisdom is amazing. Seriously.

Maribel said...

I use the process of elimination. If it bothers me, I eliminate.

I think Yoga in general, probably like everything else, has good and bad teachers. The very first time I tried yoga, I was pregnant and I wanted to punch the woman leading the class. I didn't try yoga again until about 5 years ago with the an awesome teacher. I think that set the foundation for HOW I was going to apply it for Bikram.

I agree, with Bikram, you have so many teachers that push you without understanding differences in people's body structure. Add in that if you're new, no one is really taking the time to show you what to do. I find that with the variety of teachers you learn different things. Though I've had a few that pay quite a bit of lip service without ever teaching one thing!

So, yes, letting go is a good thing to practice.

Tracy Reifkind said...

Juci,

You know, when I read books with zen phrases I'm always amazed by the wisdom in so few words....

Mark studied Zen and since I live with him and he "lives" it, I guess I've picked it up. Besides I always share my ideas about what I write with him before I post so he has alot of influence on me....and I on him.....a perfect match. Just like you and Zolly....

Tracy Reifkind said...

Maribel,

I like that...."process of elimination"!

Good Lord I let things get to me, especially driving! I should take a lesson from the Hungarians....they drive like bats out of Hell, but never do they curse at other drivers, they just go with the flow...

I forget some of the teachers I've had that actually do motivate and inspire me to do better. But as Mark says, "we're a tough crowd" lol! (the two of us!)