Bikram Yoga Confession: how I lost my practice.

by Barbora Simek

Forgive me Bikram for I have sinned, it has been 6 years since my last yoga challenge.

I don’t really know how it happened.

Image

My bow pose and I, 2010.

When I returned from teacher training I couldn’t get enough of the practice. Yoga was my life. All I cared about was doing the standing splits, touching my forehead to my toes, eating better, hydrating  more and sleeping consistently.

I didn’t eat dairy, wheat or sugar. I didn’t go out. I practiced five or six days a week. I taught 12 classes a week, sometimes 14, I hung out at the yoga studio. I journaled about the things I learned about myself in class. I didn’t drink.

But I was 19 Bikram! Just a kid. And I hadn’t let myself be a kid. There I was, hyper-disciplined, making yoga my life when it hit me: I wanted more.

I wanted to see what it was like to dance till 5am. I wanted to follow other career paths. I wanted to eat wheat and dairy. I wanted to be friends with more than my water bottle and naturopath.

Soon, the desire to escape my self-imposed discipline grew so strong that I started crying an hour before class. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to judge myself in the mirror. I didn’t want to obsess about standing bow or the amount of sugar in my diet.

I wanted a bit of freedom.

I blamed the yoga.

It was foolish, Bikram, I know. But it was so easy to point a finger at the most consistent and disciplined thing in my life: my practice.

I began to resent my standing bow. I stopped trying in forward stretching. I danced till dawn. I ate dairy and wheat. I began skipping class. I stopped being disciplined.

Days, weeks, months went by. It took me 3 months to want to be in the yoga room again. Slowly, inconsistently, I started practicing again. I didn’t love the hot room anymore, I was still mad at the practice. But I was trying.

After another year it became clear that it wasn’t the yoga, but it was me.

I began to understand that I wasn’t being true to myself. I had forgotten that I practice so that yoga can enrich my life but not become my life. I didn’t want to be a career yogi, but a yogi with a career.

I forgot to honour that I was both the girl who loved dancing and the girl that loved working hard.

In a way, diving so deeply into the practice taught me the most valuable lesson of all: that we must all follow our own path and stay true to our spirit. You talk about it all the time Bikram. How yoga teaches us self realization. How our practice teaches us to like and love ourselves.

And so here I am nine years into my practice, about to turn 26.

For the first time I am ready to love both parts of me, the girl that loves to stay up dancing until 5am and the girl who loves to eat fresh salads and work on her standing bow.

So I am trying again. I am ready to welcome some discipline back into my life.

For 30 days, I am going to show up and try. I will still drink lattes and eat pastries but I will also dream of standing bow and touching my forehead to toes. Let’s see what we can make happen in 30 days.

See you in the hot room, Bikram.

Love,

Barb

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Filed under Bikram Yoga, Diary of a Yogi, Yoga Challenge

Posture Clinic: triangle pose

by Barbora Simek

Triangle Pose

Tony Parrish in triangle pose. photo: sportsillustrated.com

Trikonasana

“Triangle pose this is the master posture of the series, perfect marriage between the heart and lungs,” says Bikram in many of his classes.

For many practitioners, triangle remains one of the most challenging poses in the Bikram series. The pose involves strength and flexibility and challenges a practitioners concentration with detailed movements that can make or break proper form in the pose.

What is happening in the pose…

Continue reading

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A letter to OhMyBikram Readers

Dear OhMyBikram Readers,

I’d like to start off this letter with an overdue apology. It has been too long since this site has been updated.

Since creating OMB a year and half ago I have been continually surprised and humbled by the hunger for our content and the support you all have offered OhMyBikram.

Over the past few months, as a result of my personal career pursuits outside of the yoga community, updating OMB was next to impossible. However, in my absence from these pages I continued to watch as site views remained steady (300-400 of you still visit the site daily) and online subscriptions grew to include over 500 people from all over the globe.

I would like to personally thank each of you for continuing to have interest in the work that has gone into this site. Each subscription notification in my inbox felt like an affirmation of OMB’s relevence and a reminder compelling me to write for you all again.

Let me make it official, OMB is back. You can expect new posts, posture clinics, news updates, testimonials and features as of this week. For those of you that have left comments and questions, I will be getting back to you within the week, in the meantime I appreciate your patience.

As always I welcome your submissions, comments, questions and concerns. Feel free to contact us by commenting on our posts, emailing us at ohmybikram@gmail.com, follow us on twitter or like us on Facebook.

Sincerely,

Barbora Simek

OhMyBikram Editor

 

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Filed under Letter from the Editor

OMB Conversation: it’s all in the Details

by Barbora Simek

 

The February 2011 issue of Details Magazine featured a full article on Bikram Yoga under a gasp-inducing title. The Overheated, Oversexed Cult of Bikram Choudhury, was undoubtably sold to an editor as a racy behind the scenes expose into the culture and sexlives of teacher trainees. Understandably, many of the yogis in the Bikram community have stood up to declare their disappointment and outrage at the content. At OMB we want to know what you think of Bikram’s latest press scandal.

Here is what I think…

The article describes the routine of teacher training from the perspective of an outsider, while exploring the sex lives of male trainees. And to be honest, for any guy going to training in hopes of finding a mate, the odds are stacked in their favor. I know few men who go to training and DON’T take advantage of these odds. Relationships, flings, marriages and more start at training and it is no secret. While the drastic majority of teacher trainees take to heart Bikrams “no kissy kissy…” instructions, the majority of male trainees indulge in the opportunity before them.

Some people on the Details page call for the writer to be barred from his profession as a professor while others lecture that he has missed the point of yoga. I would argue, that many of these people have missed the point of journalism.

More after the jump… Continue reading

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Filed under About Bikram Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Links, News, Teacher Training

Sweat the Small Stuff: a photo essay

by Barbora Simek (text) and Caitlin Hicks (photos)

Photographer and yogini Caitlin Hicks joins OMB with her stunning yoga photo essay. Hicks is a fourth-year photography student at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD). The images below are a part of her final project in which she photographs yogis of Bikram Yoga Toronto.

“In photographing this series, I aimed to get away from the idea of photographing each pose, instead I examined the intense form and focus that is required throughout the 26 postures,” said Hicks.

More after the Jump….

Continue reading

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Filed under About Bikram Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Bikram Yoga Toronto, Photos

An open letter to a new student on their first class

by Barbora Simek

Dear New Student,

Welcome. Like it or not you are now a part of the Bikram Yoga family. Whether today’s class will become something that is laughed about with friends and never attempted again, a daily routine, an occasional pass time or obsession, your experience today will stay with you forever. This means I have ninety minutes, and ninety minutes only to show you a practice I have dedicated a part of my life, my heart and much of my body to. So listen carefully, because this is important, this can change your life in ways you never thought possible.

I know the room is hot, and the poses are difficult. This is not because we are trying to prove something. This is because these specific elements: the postures, the heat, the mirrors, the style of teaching — are the perfectly combined to heal your body, heart and mind.

I know there are a lot of people. This is not because the studio is interested in a big pay-day. This is because the more we can practice together, the more we can share energy. Your neighbors will help you get through class, inspire you, become your friends and maybe even your future fiance (it’s happened more than once!) So be kind. Be patient. Because the more patient you can be with people here, the more patient you will be with them out there in the world.

I know my voice is loud. This is not because I want to dominate you. My voice is the best tool I have, along with the dialogue (the directions), to help you through your class today. When you feel weak, my voice will be strong to support you. When you are tired Continue reading

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Filed under About Bikram Yoga, Bikram Yoga

Inspiration: Bikram Yoga Forest Hill’s Challenge

As January gets rolling, many new and regular yogis are getting started on their New Year’s resolutions whether it is by making new commitments to their practice or starting 30, 60 or 90 Day Challenges. To help all you yogis get inspired and in the mood, OMB brings you coverage of the most consistently successful challenge in Toronto (perhaps even Canada): The Bikram Yoga Forest Hill 30 Day Challenge.

The Bikram Yoga Forest Hill Challengers

Each time director Janice Guertin throws up a 30 Day Challenge, her students rush to sign up. This past November, over 65 yogis signed their name to take part in BYFH’s bi-annual challenge. Some of them chose to sign up because they wanted to see a change in their lives, bodies or well being, others wanted to step up and challenge themselves, but all were looking forward to the wonderful sense of community and excitement that fills the studio each time Janice throws the event.

OMB went to their fun and exciting 30 Day Challenge Party to see what all the buzz was about and to chat with some of the students who made it through their 30 Days. Continue reading

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Filed under Bikram Yoga, Bikram Yoga Forest Hill, Bikram Yoga News, Bikram Yoga Toronto Events, Daily Feature