Zero Bikram Yoga in 2 weeks and counting…

Holy Tamale!  Can you believe it?  This is the first time in 3.5 years!  Tony and I loved it so much that every time we travelled to another country for a holiday we would make sure we found the closest Bikram Studio and visit it!

But alas, we have strayed, dare I say it, in the last 2 weeks we have been doing every other type of yoga except Bikram…  Say what?!!

It’s not really that dramatic.  Basically, we were introduced to another studio to try out a different yoga, we ended up paying for a 25 class pass which we had 6 months to use but instead of using it, we continued to go to Bikram classes and before you know it, the 6 months was over and we had about 18 classes still to use up, we had to pay more to extend the pass and now we have to use up all those classes otherwise we just lose them and our money.  We have 3 weeks to use up all our class passes.  Nothing like losing money to motivate you to go to yoga.  Whatever works I suppose!

So, it’s not that we’re not doing yoga at all, we’re just not doing the Bikram series.

Advantages:
Our practices have improved 10 fold as we get slightly more and more confident with things like crow pose, tripod headstand, headstands, handstands, side planks, wheels etc.  No, we are not doing them all to full expression yet but attempting them in every class means we’re getting used to the feeling, the strength and balance required to do them.  In Bikram yoga beginners series you do these zero times.

My shoulders, oh my dear shoulders, are finally opening up faster than before and I am so happy and grateful for this.  They’re still stiff but not the way they used to be.  I know because I no longer do wheels in agony, thank you God!

I find that after every few classes I say to Tony “Guess what?  Today I did …xyz… for the first time ever!”  Whether it’s the deepest or longest I’ve gone into an expression of the posture or, if it’s the first time I’ve ever attempted a posture, every class is a new discovery.

Every class is different and I mean different in that the series or the style changes depending on the teacher or type of yoga and all the transitions are different too so you must remain present in the room and listening at all times rather than just going through the motions and each class has you attempting to move your body in a way you just don’t ever move it so it keeps you very attentive and mindful.

There are people in the room who are superstars and are so far into their practice that they can just do some pretty unbelievable and amazing things that you would never see in a Bikram yoga room which means in every class you get inspired whether by the teacher or another person practicing next to you of the possibilities.

It does mean we’re engaged in the process again.  We talk excitedly about what we’re having problems with and go home and see if there is anything we can improve.  “How’s my alignment?” we ask each other, while we each attempt various postures that we’ve just learned that day and want to be able to do.  Yoga is fun again!

Disadvantages:
For the last 2 nights in a row, I haven’t slept well at all.  It’s like I’ve got way too much energy and wake up wide awake, not stressed but completely energised and I can’t get back to sleep again except it’s at 2am.  I then spend the next few hours wondering if I should get up or try to go to sleep, listening to the birds wake up and the planes start passing overhead before I finally fall asleep again and then wake up completely groggy.  This happened very rarely with Bikram yoga, 99% of the time I’d sleep right through the night.

Pain.  My shoulders started to hurt.  All the chaturangas, planks, downward dogs and handstand attempts really started working the shoulder muscles.  My shoulders started to sound like they were grinding and they started popping in every downward dog, they still do and eventually, after about a week of classes I felt my shoulder start to twinge in pain every time I lifted my arm.  After realising that perhaps I was putting more weight on one side than the other, I decided to use my other arm and shoulder more and the result is that the pain moved from my shoulder down to the muscle right next to the spine and the one underneath the scapula.  Now my back hurts.   There is a giant knotted ball of muscle next to my spine.  Strangely it doesn’t hurt while I’m doing yoga.  It just hurts at all other times.  I guess this is what progress feels like.

I dream of yoga.  This has to be a disadvantage surely.  I mean I talk about yoga during the day, I go to the classes in the evening, after the class Tony and I go through the postures and look for tweaks to do for next time and then I go to sleep and dream that I’m doing a yoga class???  Really?  I even wake up stretching as if I’ve just come out of savasana.  Surely this is bordering on obsessive?

Not to worry, it will all be over soon.  We’ll finish our class passes and we’ll be back to Bikram again before we know it.  It will be very interesting to see how well we do after 3 weeks off!  I’m hoping to see a massive improvement but you never know, zero heat, zero standing bows, zero rabbits and zero standing head to knee postures for 3 weeks could well affect our balance and spine mobility, results have yet to be seen.  For now, just enjoying the change!

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