Give Me Bikram Yoga!

So these last 2 weeks living in the Red Cross hotel, have been very trying. Trying on my kids, trying on my patience and faith. Just plain difficult in every way. It’s now been 2 weeks that we have been displaced because of a flood at our home. We have been living out of a tiny hotel room, no kitchen, 2 small double beds…I don’t like to focus on negative but it’s only fair to say that this has not been pleasant to put it mildly.

There have been two things that have kept me for losing my mind in this situation:
1. My strong unwavering belief in The Law of Attraction

2. Bikram Yoga!

yoga pose

Other benefits of living in a hotel include but are not limited too:

  • Someone else making your bed for you
  • Endless amount of free time on hand to do things like clip a zillion coupons and learn how to be an extreme couponer! A skill I imagine I might want to keep.
  • Lot’s of time to hit the gym, as they have a daycare and it gets us out of said hotel room!

But by far getting a chance to get back to my Bikram Yoga practice has been the thing that has kept me in some resemblance of control.

For those of you who have never heard of Bikram let me give you a quick tutorial of what it is. It’s NOT just yoga, trust me! I’ve done Yoga and this is NOT that!

Bikram is 90 minutes of the same 26 postures in every class across the world. It’s roughly 110 Degrees in a carpeted room with about 60 nearly naked sweaty soles crammed in looking at their own eyes in the mirror. You listen actively the entire class to verbal instructions only. No demonstration. No music. You do the same postures in the same order whether your in NYC, Portland or India. Sweat will pour off your body like your in a shower. Everyone’s mat and towels will be soaked. The room will stink.

Bikram Yoga
Favorite Yoga pose…

So that’s where I lose anyone I’ve ever tried to recruit to go to a class with me. Maybe I should tweak my pitch a little cuz in the 10 years I’ve half-assed been practicing I believe only 3 people have ever done a class with me. One was my sister the other 2 my longest and bestest friends who all happen to be more athletically gifted then me and I’m sure only went to prove they could hang in my class (which they totally did btw!).

Completing a Bikram class has been likened to a cross between running a marathon and great sex. I’ve never run a marathon so I cant speak to that, and to be clear there is nothing sexual about class, but I get the comparison. It sorta feels like being hit by a semi-truck, followed by a great spa massage.

It is a humbling experience. Maybe that’s why I love it so much over any other type of group exercise. There is NO ego. No vanity. No checking out your neighbor. There is only a mission of sole survival. Nothing else matters but living through the next 90 minutes.

There are several clear points to this specific hot yoga and that’s what brought me to share it with you. It’s such a great thing for anyone wanting to get a handle on their thoughts and the power of your mind, the meditation is intense. And the way you meditate is by being in the moment. Being completely present. Not letting your mind wonder beyond the words coming out of your instructors mouth, continuously for 90 hot, grueling minutes. It takes massive mental willpower and strength to accomplish this and I love that challenge. Your goal is to not allow your mind to wonder at all. To focus exactly on what is being said and then do it. That’s it. It’s so freaking hard! But so empowering.

Bikram Yoga Pose
Love this Yoga pose too!

For example I’m laying in “corps pose” in the floor series today, sucking wind. Soaked like someone had thrown my fully clothed ass in the pool. But I’m supposed to be focusing on “nothing” in this pose. A clean mind, blank. Have you ever tried to have a blank mind for 2 seconds let alone 60? So the instructor suggests we pick a spot on the ceiling to focus on and think only of that spot. I pick a bolt in the ceiling beam.

These are my thoughts in no particular order…

Bolt. Bolt. Bolt.
I want to bolt.
I wonder if I bolted now if it would distract anyone, probably not they are all deep in “blank mind.”
OK then screw.
Screw. Screw. Screw.
Damn screw as in…. to screw? Hmmmm….screw…. it’s been a minute since…
Focus! Focus!
The screw is holding the beam that is holding this building, I am the screw. I’m strong. I’m holding the building.
God cant I just bolt!?

Yeah I’m not really good at the “silent mind” stuff yet…but I’m actively trying! And that is the message of this yoga. If you just show up everyday, with belief and faith…you WILL finish the class, and coincidentally burned 1,000 calories.

Just show up and believe.

This yoga is so the metaphor for life, at least for me. You come, broken hurting, with little or no faith. Your self-talk is destructive. You look in the mirror and you hate what you see.

But the longer you practice the more you begin to believe. The more you begin to watch your body and mind do things you didn’t dream possible that first class.

Every class is totally different then the last. Yesterday it KILLED me. There was about 75 people in a room that should hold 40, it was the second class in a row of 2 so the room was extra hot. No amount of self-motivating mantra’s could help me yesterday. My skin laterally burned. My nail polish melted. I was in HELL. The instructor reminded us at least 20 times that Bikram himself refers to this yoga as a “torture chamber”, it was nothing shy of that yesterday. I sat out a good 1/4 of the postures, wanting to “bolt” more then life! But if there’s one thing you NEVER do in this yoga, it’s leave the room. (The second thing you NEVER do is make a sound). So my sweaty, ass was staying put and quiet, finishing what I’d started.

Bikram Yoga images
Hot Yoga

But today’s class was amazing~! In the 10 years I’ve done this yoga, what happened today has never happened before. Today after we would finish a posture (I did all of them today!) I would instinctively stretch out whatever area hurt after that pose, and then realize that the next posture we were doing was to do exactly what I was trying to sneak in…in other words it was bringing me what my body needed, posture after posture. I don’t know if it’s just that I’m getting old and now all of it hurts more then before, but I was amazed at how consecutively the next sequence was addressing my immediate pain. And I thought, this is just like living life with The Law of Attraction. When you believe and know that you will be taken care of, you are. You are granted everything you need.

Even in the tough times, like these past 2 weeks, we have been granted everything we need. And I’ve never lost faith that it would be the case, and it has been.

Today was a great reminder, of how when you live in the vibration of self-awareness, and positive empowerment that your life and the Universe rises up to meet you. It makes all those pieces in your life work in harmony. It brings you lessons in EVERYTHING. It’s just up to us to realize them. To be present and aware in the moment to recognize and learn from them. That is my goal.

I’ve learned so much through this experience, and yes I’m grateful for it. It’s taught me so much about myself and my faith and what is really important in life.





Sarah Centrella is the author of the book Hustle Believe Receive which teaches you how to apply the #HBRMethod to change your life and live your dream.

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  • June 17, 2011 - 4:43 pm | Permalink

    You have a wonderful way with words, you crack me up thanks for the message and the chuckle!!!!! Sharon, your FB pal

  • June 17, 2011 - 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Sharon, glad you get my humor! 🙂

  • June 18, 2011 - 9:09 pm | Permalink

    I so so so wish there was a Bikram in my city. I’ve done it once while on vacation and know it’s something I could TOTALLY get into four times per week.

    I trust you’ll be back in a home soon.

  • June 20, 2011 - 6:02 pm | Permalink

    yes thank god! the construction crew is here fixing it now 🙂 and yes it’s a killer workout for body/mind/soul 🙂

  • June 22, 2011 - 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for posting this! I’m taking my first class tomorrow morning and I am scared!

  • June 23, 2011 - 5:13 pm | Permalink

    How was it??? It’s addictive!!

  • July 7, 2011 - 2:00 am | Permalink

    Yes, I agree with you! It’s challenging to top Bikram Yoga to make a day complete!

  • December 28, 2012 - 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Aw. I’m sorry about the flood. But it is good that you found an activity to divert your attention from that frustration and weariness. I think it is a wise decision that you took yoga. As you may have known, yoga can benefit the body, the mind, and the spirit. Many old timers find that yoga gives them a clear and balanced mind. And it is an ideal outlet for stress and worry

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