One of the teachers at our Bikram Yoga studio is doing a teacher training with Stewart Gilchrist and invited us to one of his classes to experience the groove.
I say it like that because when I first saw a picture of this guy, he looked kinda creepy…
…but after watching the YouTube video of him on Tedx, I could see why all those we knew who had been to his class thought he was cool and had so much praise for him. He’s one of those Austin Power yoga teachers, you know, groovy baby, yeah!
On the Sunday that just passed, we went along to his Yogasana class. There was chanting, groovy beats, enough chaturangas to make my arms want to fall off (I actually strained my shoulder though I didn’t realise it at the time), warrior poses that were held for so long I thought I’d get stuck in that position and then I started drowning in my own sweat (every time I went upside down, my sweat would run up my nose). I was dripping from head to toe and although sweating is normal in a Bikram Yoga class, it is extremely uncomfortable anywhere else especially when your clothes feel like you’ve just jumped into a swimming pool, come out and they’re dragging you down with the weight of the water.
The 3 guys around me (Tony, a fellow Bikram Yogi and one of our other Bikram Yoga teachers) all took a piece of clothing off (shorts or shirt) because they too were drenched in their own sweat and I was left unable to remove any clothing, just wishing I had worn less!
But there was no time to think about that, the flow was fast and you were either in a posture or falling out of one and just as you thought you’d cracked the case with how to get your arms to bind, you’d have to be in the next posture. Say what?!
This class definitely made me realise how much I rely on my eyes (rather than my ears) to figure out what I was supposed to be doing and how I was supposed to be doing it and with every up and down, I kept scanning the room for someone who looked like they knew what they were doing.
It seemed that the people I was looking at either didn’t know what they were doing or they all knew what they were doing because I had never seen so many variations of the same posture in one room as if they all had their own individual expression of the posture. For example, Utkatasana, some people had their palms together thumbs crossed, others just palms together, others had their arms apart parallel to each other, some arms bent, some arms straight, some fingers together, some fingers splayed apart, some looking up, some looking ahead, some bent a little, some bent so much their bum was almost on the floor and then all the possible combinations of these at varying degrees in between. I had no idea whose example I was supposed to follow.
When he said to kick up into handstand, some people were kicking with their legs bent and coming back down over and over, some people were in handstand and some people were in standing splits (???)
I guess the lesson learned there is that I really should focus on my own practice instead of trying to copy someone else’s. I need to take this kid’s advice instead of looking around at everyone else…
So, was he cool? The short answer is yes.
There were 4 of us in total that came along based on this one teacher’s recommendation and all 4 of us will be going back again. That’s a pretty good hit rate if you ask me.
It wasn’t just him, it was the whole class. So many strong and flexible people with positive vibes. I was so tired before I went into that class but so energised and happy afterwards. The other teacher said they felt like they were floating. Tony is super happy after it, he keeps saying “I don’t know what it is, but this yoga DOES something.”
Last week I mentioned how humbling it was to realise that we’ve only done 3 years of beginners yoga. Well, let’s just say I’m glad I had that realisation last week because it meant I got through this class (even though I struggled through it) with a smile.
Now it’s time to take that kid’s advice again, rest up and let my shoulder heal!