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.


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.




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

11 responses to “Bikram Yoga Confession: how I lost my practice.

  1. Sabrina

    Best of luck to you! I am going through the same thing, just finishing up a 100 day challenge and this last part has been really tough because I just want to eat whatever I want and not think about going to yoga and going out dancing until 5 am! It’s good to know that other people go through this and struggle too!!

  2. superval

    love it!!!

  3. Amazing, beautiful, and oh so perfectly put. Thank you for sharing, both your departure and your return.

    • C J

      Hi Barb. This is great. Did you train in Autumn 2010. If so I am Cj would be great to talk bikrambrighton is my twitter account. Take each day 1 at a time and each practise one at a time!,,,

  4. anon

    Welcome back! And I bet, if most of us are honest, there are moments we hate or resent our practices too. Working through those moments always seems to lead back to being in love with the practice again. I hope you reach that point as soon as possible.

  5. Valeria G

    Funny… i think you have described me , but im still in the young phase with a studio just opened, and i love my practice and bikram yoga, sometimes i feel i could something else. Anywya great for you!! it was sooo nicee reading this 🙂

  6. Nuzhat Jillani

    beautifuly written, always a pleasure reading your posts. Hope to make to your class one day.

  7. marcia giella

    what a great read

  8. Sarina

    Life is all about balance….once you find that inner peace will follow!!! Thanks for sharing because this is a battle we all have!!! : )

  9. great post! I think it rings true with many Bikram yogi’s out there 🙂 I know I can definitely relate!

  10. What a great post! I’m a bit scared to try bikram (i’m not very good with heat) but i love the passion that people have for it. I”ll stick to room temperature yoga for now!

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