TESTIMONIAL TUESDAY: Yoga to Thrive
Originally posted on June 19, 2018
Where to begin with the never ending list of gifts this practice has brought to my world? My name is Holly and I began Bikram yoga back in 1999 in Seattle, WA. During that time it wasn't my primary practice, but then nothing really was. you see as a quintessential dabbler at heart, like many of us, it was always difficult to choose. Since moving to RVA in 2001, I continued my dabbler days, always having Bikram yoga as my back pocket yoga "go to" for all of the immediate benefits it offered - joints free of any stiffness or pain, a respiratory system that always got a reboot after reach class, allergy free living, as well as, a general sense of peace in a body at once enervated and relaxed.
Then, an interesting thing occurred many years later. In 2011, I contracted an autoimmune disorder that forced me to reevaluate every physical, emotional, and nutritional step forward. At that point, gone were the days of Zumba, dance, or essentially any aerobic endeavor, and Bikram yoga became a devotional practice which I savored 3 to 4 times per week. Now, 7 years later, with a heart brimming with gratitude and a pain free body, there is a constant skip in my stride. I still joyfully continue this practice, honoring the core principals of a 26 pose series designed to sequentially open each and every part of your body (including its 13 systems!) as they naturally unfold. The benefit of having each pose 2 times per class allows for greater body awareness and intuition, as you scan more in the first, and allow for release in the second. And probably my most favorite principle is the maximum contraction vs. maximum relaxation at play in each pose. Bikram encourages the discovery and understanding of how this active vs. passive discipline assist in creating a body and mind at ease with itself, both in class, and in life.
Did I mention the heat?! Please relieve yourselves of any worry or concern! I'm currently going through my own tropical heat wave as a maturing female, and even then I end up sweating a whole lot less in the outside world than I ever would sans Bikram. The heat is nothing short of an amazing opportunity. Yes! It is an opportunity to extend deeper into the tendinous body, increasing circulation and breath awareness, while slipping into a meditative third eye state. This provides a focus which keeps your mind and eyes from wandering off, as you stare gently and kindly at your own reflection in the mirrors. I, like many other veterans, like to don a smile, regardless of the precision or flailing of the asanas. This always helps me remember to be present and grateful
And the Community! Did I mention how BYRVA feels like a home away from home?! Whether from the students or the teachers, there is a genuine warmth (no pun intended) and kindness that pervades a simple and gorgeously adorned studio. So, get ready to feel like you're in the Caribbean year round! Throw away all the preconceived notions of, 'I've got bad knees' or 'I've got high blood pressure.' Realize THAT is no longer the message you need to carry. After a doctor's diagnosis of knees in stages 3 and 4 arthritis some 20 years ago, my knees are still my greatest teachers and show up to class in ways that make me proud. Heck, I've even known many along my Bikram journey to throw away their need for medicines, and embark on a pain free/symptom free life of enhanced joy and awareness, as a result of a committed practice. Give yourself the gift of at least 3 classes to see and feel your own difference. Like a dear friend, this practice has me 20 years in, and I'm still discovering things about my body and mind and their essential connection to a thriving life. Don't wait, time to THRIVE!