“Give me 30 days I’l change your body, give me 60 days I’l change your life” Bikram Choudhury
I made it through 54 daily visits in Bikram Choudhurys yoga concept, before circumstances of life suggested me to shy away from the challenge. The yoga is performed in relation to a more or less fixed dialogue that is led by the teacher. The teacher uses her voice and the students their physical appearance as respons.
Some quotes that still echo in my mind:
“Push, push, push!”
“Puling is the object of stretching”
“Charge your body forward”
“Lock your knee, lock your knee, LOCK YOUR KNEE”
“What would happen in class if the teacher gave up on the students as quick as the students give up their posture?”
“A tight body is a light body”
“Are you in pain? Yes.. Then just be still”
“First back bend of class, it will hurt, dont be afraid”
“If your knee is bend, posture hasn’t even started yet”
“Calm your breath and your heart will follow”
“Stories about superheroes of everyday life”
“We need to travel 6 inches throughout or iifes – it is the distance from our mind to our hearts”
“Love and body is related”
“Where your eyes go your body will follow”
“Find your comfort in your discomfort”
The yoga system is build up of 26 yoga postures and 2 breathing exercises. It is conducted in a 40 degree hot room. Always 90 minutes. First theres the warm up with pranayama breathing and some postures, then the balancing serie and after that we go to the floor and make spine strength until we finish up with a spine stretching serie and the breath of fire. The postures affects a lot more than just balancing, spine and breathing. See here
I experienced great discomfort as well as great joy during the 54 visits. My expectations was high as I did 30 days before, 10 days before that, and started with a few mind-blowing visits in 2012…. My advice is to join in class with no expectations, an advice i really put effort in to follow myself.
I have used this practice in relation to students and fellow training colleagues, to test their ability to follow through with what they did, and face the extreme discomfort of the unknown or to expand their knowledge about what they can accomplish.
Its because this system has the potential of breaking you as well as pushing you away.. I think this is a well resonated statement by the founder. But it also has the potential to make one go further than ever imagined.
Practice and person
We often find a practice or discipline that we think is fitting our identity or fitting the person that we think we are. But often the people who do strength training could benefit more from yoga as well as the other way around.
I am convinced that this person – idealised or compromised – that we feel we are, is really nothing more than a believe rather than anything else. Instead we build – and are build – into the persons that we are. We reinforce this by moving in coherence with this image, searching for things that fit us, or fit this idea of ourselves.
In this way – If the strength person did soft practice and vice versa- there would be a possibility to experience that our self image is not that bund by law and that we have other relative potential.
Other than a feeling of more space in the body, a better way of applying endurance and general well being, I also gained the experience that everyday is different. Every day I entered the exact same environment than the day before, and everyday I reacted like I was a new person. Like I was something different from yesterday, that I was not a fixed thing and especially that I am just as soft, flexible and emotional as opposed to the qualities of rigid, hard and cynical.
And how does this, strict environment, fit my general movement practice?
It actually does not. It is way to fixed. I like to connect more to environment outside my window, to change the postures, work with different characteristics and to play more.. But…
- It still fits; because I have used years of violating myself in the regime of headless fight training. Being stiff, relying on effort in each action and endurance as main characteristics. In that process compromising everything else to reach the goal of being stronger than my opponent. So.. To connect with my body in a soft and healing way seems rational to me, next to the feeling of it.
- This particular yoga is extremely demanding. Mostly I’ve experienced yoga as something simply too loose and vague of a practice. This is not. This is serious business. This make me also refine my already established characteristics of endurance and effort to work in a better way; long term instead of short term.
- My spine. My thoracic vertebras is a bit deformed. It has affected my structure and this training is helping this particular issue with the focus on spine stretching, strengthing and straightening.
- A reference point. My 30 days challenge in 2013 gave me huge development. Since that I changed my practice from fighting to a general orientation towards movement. The form of bikram yoga – which is the same every time – gives a form of reference point to where and what I need to work with in my individual practice.
- Because of its extreme nature, the body gives you a lot of sensors feedback. Tellings about how it is right now. These tellings gets more through with the chamber, than with the morning coffee.
I recommend everyone to try it out, and then try it again after coping with the shock.
See more at www.bikramcph.dk