This post dedicated to Boiler House student Tom C. who recently said it best, "This Yoga has helped every facet of my life."
1. Focus on many things, one thing at a time:
Focus is hard and illusive in a culture where speedy media and news feeds remind us with every ding of our smartphones how fast time flies & how little actually happens. Focus determines reality. Where you put your mental energy will have a direct physical correlation to where you stand and what your body is up to - and this happens all the time - sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. In a Yoga practice we can become conscious actors in our bodies and lives as we build the posture / mind / body / connections. When you take your Bikram class, try very very hard to direct your focus with the instruction to build the postures. For example, in 1/2 moon lock your elbows - focus on that one specific action and hold it in your mind like glue. Next, while keeping your arms and elbows locked - hold the focus - lift your chin up just slightly. If you keep your arms straight with the ears and then lift the chin, your entire spine with lengthen. Stretch up as high as you can keeping your elbows locked, chin up, and try to touch the ceiling. Stay with the teacher holding every single point of instruction embedded in your mind and body and gradually build the posture holding each component together. If you find that you are unable to go deeper or follow the next step without compromising your form - that is the point at which you hold absolutely still and breathe. Try very hard not to move your eyes or change your focus or allow yourself to give up. Keep breathing and be truly present where you're at. There is no way to rush the process except by fully engaging in it. In our postures we are not jumping up and down, or climbing over barbed wire in the mud, we are literally in one spot contained on a Yoga mat for 90 minutes - yet so so much happens in that small space. As students in that space we face ourselves focused and still, covered in sweat, deeply satisfied because there's no reason to look away. #selflove #compassion
2. Standing head to knee is probably the hardest thing you'll ever be asked to do, and it's totally worth doing:
Standing head to knee is a perfect metaphor for mastery of Bikram Yoga. Standing head to knee is hard. To 'do' this posture, every bit of mental clutter must be cleared. Focus must be established, and a strict control over the muscles in the body must be developed. This can take years of practice. When you tell someone they might have to work years to achieve something, there are two directions their attitude can turn. They will either give up, or trust the process. Trusting the process implies trying the right way over and over again, failing constantly, falling wildly at first, until progress is made and balance established. During the process, all attachment to outcome must dissolve in order to truly hold the posture. Complete control over the senses is developed through muscular, circulatory, and respiratory unification. After years of falling through the tears and sweat in the heat of the Hot Room, one day, we touch our 'exactly forehead to our knee.' Finding the determination to show up, try, fail, and ultimately succeed can be applied to every situation in which we want to progress as individuals. It's hard but so very worth the effort.
3. No windows, no doors. Now what?
When you want to give up, don't. Just don't. Don't go there in your mind. You are not defeated. You are more powerful and incredible than you realize in the moment right before you give up. Can't stand the sight of yourself in the mirror? Stare harder. Feel like you're going to puke? Either let it out, or suck it up. Is this tough? Yes. Here's the good news: you can practice in a way that is therapeutic every single class, without ever going to the place where you feel like you simply must escape. Does this mean you'll never puke? No. Does this mean you won't occasionally look at the door with envy? No. But it will help to frame the context of what you're experiencing and give you a tool to deal with these feelings. The answer: BREATHE. Breathe ideally by your nose, but really - who cares, just breathe! It sounds so contrite, right, 'just breathe' says the flowing willowy Yoga teacher siren with a beautiful bendy body and perfect hair. Mastery over the breath is probably the oldest, truest form of Hatha Yoga that exists today. The postures themselves are recent in the larger historical context of Yoga - but breath work is a practice that extends across civilizations. Perhaps you do 1/2 moon and you have the ability to bend fully sideways but halfway down the 1/2 moon you stop breathing, or slow your breathing, or speed it up to compensate for your efforts. Inevitably you have to either come up for air, or you just struggle and struggle until the teacher says 'change' only to find yourself near puking 10 minutes later. When you do every posture, lay down your breathing first with the teacher's instruction and move into the posture while you breathe. You will have to train yourself - (see #2) - over tons of classes - but keep your breathing completely normal in the postures. If your breath lags, make a change either in the breathing itself or in the way you approach the posture. Developing this control over the primary fuel your body needs, you will also develop the necessary coping mechanisms to not constantly retreat from, but actually thrive in a challenging time.
4. Intention + Action = Karma Fulfilled
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The path to salvation lies in our actions. What if we are able to ally our intentions with our actions? What would the result be? Intention alone can leave us sitting on the couch for days thinking about when we'll take our next Yoga class, move on to the next job, or when we can finally move on from that terrible break up. Intentions are wonderful as long as they do not disable action. Sometimes we can feel like we're doing things or deserve things because we intend them to be a certain way. Knowing where you want to go is definitely the first step in the process, and perhaps the most vital, however, that initial step is followed by millions more. Maybe some residual construct from 'The Secret' that allows the will to be - BE the act. This is actually a denial of the practice of Yoga whereby the process is both subject, object, and destination. The process is the action(s) required to achieve a specific outcome. No one wins the lottery without first buying a ticket. No one gets the benefits until they show up and put in the work. Parallel to this is the emptiness of moving with only action and no clear intention. This leaves impulse in charge and can become a steamroller effect on ourselves and those around us. Actions require a dedicated intention to deliver the value of the process. For example, if you have a knee injury (or really anything you're working to heal in Yoga) wrap your entire being - mind / body / spirit - around healing your knee. With every action you take in the posture say in the quiet of your mind, "I'm healing my knee right now. This is amazing. I'm working so hard on healing my knee right now. I'm totally present with everything my knee needs to heal in this moment. I love my broken knee. My broken knee helped me slow down a bit. I hurt my knee being way too competitive. I'm glad I'm not that competitive anymore. Even though my knee hurts, it's taught me a compassion I never knew before. Wow this posture makes my knee feel great. Ok, this one I need to be a little gentle - but I can still do it!" Practice like this - unifying your raw will and determination with a fierce sense of value and purpose toward the positive fulfillment of your efforts & enjoy the journey.
5. Stay stoic - except for crying, laughing, and smiling - do those a lot:
Amazingly, between postures, some find the time to sit down / drink water / blow their nose / then use the same nose rag to again wipe their sweat and face / then put the towel on the floor - somehow in the near invisible space between postures. Everyone has one or two of these classes, or some goofy behavior, but for some these behaviors become the practice. Watch out. It's marvelous at times how unconscious the most conscious individuals can behave - stacking up challenges for themselves in order to feel victories over battles that never existed. Bikram's instructions are very clear after each posture "eyes open, breathing normal." He does not say, drink water, wipe sweat, blow nose, stand on head, eat oatmeal, do 10 jumping jacks, and then be still. Often times, when we distract ourselves with useless austerities, we may feel like we're doing work, making progress - but really what's happening is avoiding the main issue in exchange for a bunch of other small tasks. You say, 'I'm working so hard - I have sweat in my eyes, what else am I supposed to do but wipe it away? Geez I need to blow my nose, you're saying I can't blow my nose?! I'm outta here!" Instead of rolling up your mat, roll up your capris and take a look at the alternative. Our emotions are incredibly powerful. Left out of check, they can create scenarios in our minds that don't quite match up with the reality of what we're trying to achieve (#1 above). By subverting the emotional desire to outwardly act - we put our focus inside. This is very scary stuff at first but is the first step in meditation :: observe your senses :: observe your reactions to your senses. When we remove our external attempts to control our emotional state, it's like building a Hoover Dam inside us. The Hoover Dam uses all that power of the river to create steam and energy condensed. This too will happen in your Yoga practice. There's even a word for this energy: it's called 'agni' - or, 'the fire that burns karma.' You will discover a new source of fuel created by the waves of the past crashing into the power of the present moment. In this space you will be greatly challenged - anything to remove the pressure or break down the dam to get back to 'normal' will come up (wipe the sweat, hold back in a posture you know you can do, run for the door, scream cause it's so hot - hold it in!). You're a Yogi - so retreat is impossible. You must cope, breathe, and be still. It is from this place, from this well-spring of emotional power and energy that the true expression of healing are accessed: tears, laughter, and smiles. Your past will rush to the present and like a river you'll sweat it away and be left with a profound sense of renewed energy for the future. Before you know it, the sweat won't bother you, the heat won't bother you, you won't bother you, nothing can steal your peace. #feelamazing
Boiler House Yoga, Studio Director
friends bring friends to yoga!
-FRIENDS BRING FRIENDS TO YOGA: UNLIMITED FRIENDSHIP CONTEST-
Bring 5 friends to Boiler House Yoga in July who each purchase our $39 Introductory Month (they must be brand, spankin' new first time to Boiler House friends) and win your choice of either:
1. Boiler House limited edition artist TOTEally Tote bag
2. Boiler House Yoga Big Ol' Logo Water Bottle
3. Limited edition Graphic Tank Top
4. Boiler House Bandana embroidered by Studio Director Derek Stout
5. 25% off retail purchase voucher
Every friend you bring will receive a SuperStar magnet star on the HotLips magnet board in the Lounge. Whoever brings in the most $39 Intro Friends will win:
ALL OF THE ABOVE PRIZES, PLUS, YOUR CHOICE OF EITHER A BRAND NEW YOGI SURFBOARD YOGA MAT OR BREATHE MAT - FREE!
Fine print stuff:
Friends must be brand new to Boiler House and they must either come with you to class, or, put your name on the New Student Registration form with the words "UNLIMITED FRIENDSHIP WITH ________(YOUR NAME)" In the 'referred by' section for you to receive credit. They will then get a SuperStar Star on the HotLips magnet board next to your name as the referrer. Contest runs from July 1 - 31 ONLY with the grand prize winner announced August 1. 5 Friends minimum to win prizes. Every 5 friends you bring, choose another prize!
Super Secret Social Media Bonus:
Take a pic with your Unlimited Friends after class in sweaty glory and post to Boiler House Yoga's Facebook with the hashtags #friendsbringfriendstoyoga #feelamazing and we'll put a free drink on your TAB for your next class.
the rhythm of effort 3/17/14
In every Bikram Yoga studio worldwide, each passing day produces hundreds of new students who walk into the hot room for the very first time. Perhaps they are seeking stress management or relief from chronic back pain… Perhaps they are athletes looking for overall maintenance in light of a recent injury, or maybe they have a friend who’s been practicing for a while and simply will not stop talking about it. Regardless of what brought them through the door, each and every new student gets the same suggestion from the teacher: Take it easy.
Let’s face it, every student wants to hit a home run their first class, even those who are a bit unsure of what they’re headed into. The concept of hard work is so built into our mental makeup that it can confuse the trajectory of our 90 minute moving meditation as we work to uncover those things in our mind, body, and spirit that no longer serve us. Westerners are so inundated with messages and images that confirm that force and sheer will can overcome any kind of adversity; so much so that it becomes the measuring stick for which we gauge efficiency and success. Of course there certainly are merits to this point of view - even Bikram would say that the right way is the hard way - but what if we have been taking this concept all too literally?
There’s a part of us all that connects Taking it Easy with Keeping it Lazy. It’s a paradigm that most operate under without even realizing. Heck, it took me almost three months of practicing 6 times a week before I realized that when a teacher remarked, “You certainly are working hard,” that it wasn’t necessarily a compliment. To be fair, I was working hard; grunting and moaning and groaning, holding my breath in postures to throw myself in deeper, regardless of alignment and completely devoid of mindfulness. Dancing around from foot to foot in between each asana and compulsively wiping the sweat from my forehead to validate my effort, I would look around the room with both envy and condemnation at people moving fluidly through their practice. Even if their postures weren’t textbook perfect, there was a mindful rhythm to their personal incarnation of the very same 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises that I was barreling through. But what gives?!
I scoffed when I learned the meaning of the word Asana: seated with ease. Yeah right, buddy. There certainly wasn’t anything easy about teetering in Balancing Stick or Triangle, not for me at least. But one early morning, I found myself on my mat, reeling. I was tired that morning; simply too tired to be my own cheerleader. You would think that alone would have doomed me to a horribly demoralizing class. But the craziest thing happened in that sunrise class… Where once there were aggressive and forceful thoughts to “push” myself, there was now stillness. Presence. Mindful breathing in the moment. I slipped into the proverbial pocket of the practice as knowingness moved through every fiber of my being. I wasn’t thinking I could. I knew I could. Of course it’s worth noting that I didn’t magically perform the full expression of every posture like some Himalayan master of old. But it’s also worth noting that it really didn’t matter.
The lesson is sometimes in the strangest place. I got to thinking about the musicians I had so loved through the years; virtuosos who could perform seemingly impossible sonic feats but made it look so effortless in the process. When Jimi Hendrix would play it never once looked forced. It was moving art - languid and easy and totally of the moment; nothing of which took away from skillfulness nor result. It suddenly became so clear where the ease in asana comes from. It’s not as if composure in the dynamic action of Triangle somehow takes away from the overall effort of this marriage of heart and lungs. You’re still sweating and your heart is certainly still pumping. But awareness and poise move into the neighborhood where force and frustration used to live. To be in your body in this very moment carves out the kind of gratitude that celebrates what you are able to do today and honors your Higher Self with the priceless alms of love, infinite possibilities, and pure potential.
What would happen if we were to change perspectives on what delivered efficiency in our lives? The paradigm shift from force to grace can elicit greater results than ever imagined, especially when we uncling ourselves from perpetuating a heightened state to achieve maximum results. In subscribing to the power of Yoga to provide life-changing transformations, it’s safe to say this is a relevant lesson on your mat as well as in your life; the kind of lesson that frees up a lot of energy and keeps you coming back for more.
So, yeah… Take it easy.
Written by Boiler House Yoga Front Desk Manager, Courtney Denelle
the action in reaction 3/3/14
If you have been practicing Bikram Yoga for a while now, it’s safe to say that you are getting in touch with the Lifestyle component of your practice. Let’s face it: the time commitment alone is worthy of note, but it’s the manner in which you apply your practice to your life off the mat that carves out a Bikram Lifestyle.
In true form, a Bikram practice even has its own lingo that gets thrown around left and right during your 90 minute moving meditation. I’ll see your Japanese Ham Sandwich and raise you a Broken Umbrella! Sure, you’ve got your Bengal Tiger Strength, but are you in touch with your English Bulldog Determination? New students may chuckle at these turns of a phrase in the beginning, but as your practice starts to shape up, you begin to embrace these mantras as if they were Sanskrit: homage to yourself that would enable you to test the limits of your Standing Bow or breathe a little deeper into your Camel. These are nurturing and supportive concepts in disguise, after all. A Bikram practice isn’t very hand hold-y. It lends itself to interpretation because at the end of the day, you are your best teacher. The true meaning is within you. Your practice will show you the door, but it is you who walks through it. We’re talking empowerment. Big time. With all that being said, there is the mackdaddy of Bikram-isms that can be a true game-changer: Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Peace.
We’ve all been there… You’re on your mat, getting after it… Sheesh, but that person is breathing so loudly. Do they know how loud they’re breathing? It’s so distracting! Gosh, they’re way too close to your mat… You know it’s a packed class, but why did they have to roll out their mat next to you? The teacher totally just held you too long in triangle… That’s why you fell out… You were looking forward to having a great practice today but all these things are so beyond your control that it feels impossible!! And now it’s official: you’re having a bad class. You’re getting sucked into the trappings of set and setting and are gearing up to assign blame as to why it’s going down…
And we have all been there, most certainly. The concept of Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Peace lives in the eye of the storm, with chaos swirling around in every which way. Your peace - your stillness, your infinite self - lives within you, even in those moments where Peace seems impossible. The true Yogi isn’t the person who can twist and contort their body into crazy advanced postures, or hold the perfect handstand for what feels like forever… The true Yogi is the person who can access their Peace and be present in the face of any kind of adversity. Tapping into stillness as you practice enables you to defy any feelings of frustration at falling out of Balancing Stick, even as your ego shouts loudly: “Why are you not better at this yet?!” Pipe down, ego… I’m calling the shots now! Your stillness is your magic carpet that transports you away from your neighbor who might be a little too close to you in Triangle. Your Peace lives in the space between what’s happening around you and the stories you tell yourself about what that means for you or - even worse - about you. There is this brilliant sliver of space that lives in between the two. In short, the majority of what you think and feel in the hot room is very real, but not true. Carving out an awareness of this concept is the very first step in a embracing a lesson that can utterly transform your life off of the mat. Where you once would react aggressively, you might find yourself stepping inside for a brief flickering moment and witness how you are feeling. The beauty is that, even in glimpses and moments, this can have a tremendously positive effect on not only you, but on those around you. You might begin to notice choices where you once saw dead-ends; options in a situation where you once felt powerless. The subtle themes of a Bikram practice are yours to utilize if you choose to. Karma is all about choice, in the end. Today, I choose Peace. What will your choice be?
Written by Boiler House Yoga Front Desk Manager, Courtney Denelle
84 Asana workshop 4/8/13
yogi luke visits new england 3/2/13
Money as energy and the joy of yoga 12/27/12
I can remember in the early days of my practice how little disposable income I thought I had. There were so many things I had to buy - daily coffees for myself and my entire group of friends (they'll like me if I buy stuff for them, right?), sushi lunches with Jenny that lasted 3 hours and cost over $100 - we had to eat, why not eat off a beautifully displayed three tiered boat covered in raw fish? It was fun, but how long did the enjoyment last? It lasted exactly until the last California roll. After that, the feeling that set it was a profound sense of guilt - and being stuffed with shrimp tempura. This guilt grew and grew with every swipe of my credit card -- pushed me to work longer hours, and found me weeping at the psychiatrist for a solution to the endless energy exchange that money and keeping up with Jones's (or Kardashian's as the phrase we know now) had found its way into my life.
With a full belly and guilty heart, I would make my way to Yoga (after digesting a bit). The studio I practiced at was small, independently run, and artfully instructed. My teacher Elizabeth was a Yoga technician - incredibly fit, highly precise with her teaching, and honest to the core. An amazing thing happened when Elizabeth said at the sign-in desk, "Oh, Derek looks like you're due to pay. How about a month unlimited?" Muscle memory kicked in, my hand shot back for my wallet, and produced my credit card. I can still hear the sound of that swipe today, many years later. The amazing thing was, in that instant, in that single transaction, I became elated. I signed the receipt and walked into the changing room and almost burst into tears. I had made a purchase that was completely devoid of any guilt or regret. In this one transaction I had purchased the ability to spend time with Elizabeth - a master teacher if there ever was one, I had a second home where the requirement was the unfolding of my highest good. I had a place to sweat out the sushi. I was in a hot room where my Diesel jeans were not allowed. I could clearly see the reflection of my own self in every move of my body. A path to personal fulfillment was rolled out like so many red carpets I dreamed of walking down one day -- only this one was gold, shining, and would continue to unroll as long as I was prepared to keep moving forward. If she had asked for every penny in my bank account I would have given it to her because what she was providing -- what I was creating for myself -- was so deeply precious.
Money is no different than any other type of energy in the universe. In fact, money is a wonderful thing as it is a direct reflection of our potential energy into something kinetic and real. Money literally brings things into our hands that were first thoughts in our minds. What more blatant connection to mind and body could there be than the observation of money -- where we spend it and how we value the world we create.
A regular practice can not only add quality to life, it can add years of life. Health and vitality, mental and physical clarity, energy, joy, fun, friends, family, and connection are priceless and immaterial commodities that fuel the greatest parts of life. However, something has changed in the Yoga community that has me a little nervous. There is a great push for us to do things for 'free' or highly discounted to attract students. Strike "nervous" it actually makes me (in a very zen, Yoga studio owner kind of way) furious.
What's amazing is that the investment you make in your practice might actually open a space in your heart and mind that moves you toward fulfilling your passions in life. With the added years that can come through the health beneifts, you have more opportunity to earn and enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you question the value of a regular practice, ask youself whether the beneifts will outweigh the expense in 10 years. Imagine yourself reflected at that fork in the road and observe the two different images facing one another. Which would you rather be?
At the Boiler House we have made a considerable attempt to keep Yoga affordable to the people. It's a tough economy, there's a lot of competition in the Yoga world now as there are studios everywhere -- and we run a serious business dedicated to developing You - our students - so that you may derive the benefits of your hard work.
We dedicate ourselves to providing the highest quality instruction in the most fabulous space at a price that will allow you to still enjoy this wonderful town we live in. If you're reading this and Bikram Yoga just isn't your thing - go wherever you feel good and pay them even more than what they ask for. Work harder at your practice and let your teachers see how much you appreciate them by remaining dedicated to revealing your highest self.
With all this said, if you are truly in financial trouble and literally cannot afford the Yoga we will never turn you away for an inability to pay. However, we will expect you to be the most dedicated student if you are indeed not paying for the service -- you must fully utilize the practice.
You're worth it, get your money's worth!
Providence online q&a 10/08/12
In November, Boiler House Bikram Yoga will be the featured fitness business for www.providenceonline.comand it's related publications. Their fitness editor, Jane Govednik, stopped in for class and had me prepare a couple responses to her questions. I gave her quite a bit of content for the article so I thought I'd put the complete responses here. Providence Online is an awesome source for everything happening aorund town. Check it out:
1. Why did you decide to open Boiler House?
Opening a Yoga studio is a labor of love. I began looking for space in
Providence over two years ago. Providence has so much incredible real estate in
so many different neighborhoods I had a lot to look at and lots of things to
consider. When I arrived at The Boiler House is Rising Sun Mills my business
partner and I knew immediately this was the place for us. We wanted to open a
space in a location that could draw people from all areas while helping to
uplift the local neighborhood. Yoga is a vehicle of transformation. The
management team at the Armory Revival Company (the owners of Rising Sun Mills)
have embraced this project with open arms and worked hard to create a healing
space for our community both local and beyond. Providence is working hard to
revitalize its neighborhoods and we want to be part of that
2. What is your Bikram yoga background (how did you become interested in it, what
made you want to open a studio)?
I began practicing Bikram Yoga when I was 16 at Bikram Yoga Dallas,
Texas. My history with health and wellness is long and torrid. At 14 I was
diagnosed morbidly obese. Being young and feeling trapped in your body is a
terrible feeling. Bullying, dieting, and being unable to breathe and play with
your friends is very tough both physically and emotionally at any age. When the
doctors told me I may not live past my 25th birthday because of my obesity I had
to make a personal decision to take control of my health. I made a 10 year
promise to myself that by my 25th birthday I would be fit, healthy, and feel
amazing. Not long after this promise I heard Madonna talking about hot, sweaty,
Yoga on the radio. Something told me I had to try it. So, at 16 I took my first
solo drive into trendy Dallas to take my first Yoga class ever at Bikram Yoga
Dallas. It was early in the class when I realized how beneficial the practice
would be for me. I was immediately attracted to the honesty and intensity of the
practice. There's no hiding from yourself in a room full of mirrors. There's no
way to cultivate anything but peace when your eyes are full of sweat and you're
trying to balance on one leg. There's no better way to exercise than by working
directly next to the bone--from the inside out. I practiced for almost five
years before taking a semester off of college in 2006 to attend Bikram's teacher
training program in Los Angeles. Since graduating from Bikram's training and The
University of North Texas, I have taught extensively across the world at dozens
of studios, participated as a mentor at Bikram's Teacher Training, and managed
Bikram Yoga Oswego in upstate New York. I wanted to open a studio because it's
my passion and my belief that Yoga heals not only bodies but restores, improves,
and extends quality life to those who practice it. Regardless of the style
anyone practices, I encourage everyone to find a Yoga studio near them and take
the first steps toward a dedicated practice -- you'll forever thank
3. Are all classes the same in terms of poses and sequence? Are they for all
levels, or geared more toward beginners/intermediates?
Bikram Yoga is a beginning Yoga class accessible to any body type and
level of fitness. We do not have different levels of classes. Rather, we take
the position that in this life we are all beginners. A Bikram Yoga class is
unique in that there can be two people standing next to one another from
completely different backgrounds and levels of ability who are equally
challenged by the practice. While the postures and breathing exercises are the
same each day, each class is different. The mind and body are constantly
changing. By keeping the postures and technique the same, the body and mind mold
around the healing nature of the practice. The postures are designed to
constantly challenge the body -- there's always a 'next step' in the posture
that moves you deeper as you improve. By keeping the practice consistent, we can
witness the change in our bodies and selves over time in a very direct and
tangible way. New students should arrive to class well hydrated prepared to
sweat and work hard. We offer introductory offers so that new students have an
opportunity to try several classes. Usually the first couple classes are very
challenging as the practice and heat are new to the body. After a few classes,
however, the Yoga starts working its magic and students begin to feel absolutely
Thanks Jane for taking the interest in our studio. See you soon!
on becoming a better teacher 8/25/12
My first couple years of teaching, and even still, I get feedback that hurts. I've found that the exact same information hits us differently depending on who it comes from and at what place in our personal growth we hear the information. Two people might tell you the same thing, but at different times with different tones, and somehow it has different meaning. Giving feedback is extremely tough as this is an emotional and personal relationship business. Find a studio where you fit energetically so you're able to receive some of the tough lessons that come through serious feedback. If you feel immediately comfortable, chances are you're not being properly pushed to grow. After teaching thousands of classes, I'm still nervous before teaching a class. This keeps me sharp and humble. A 'great mentor' will not give feedback to damage, control, or limit a person's potential. A great mentor will observe and eliminate patterned obstacles that stand between connection. A great mentor has a deep understanding of the postures through their own kinetic understanding of the postures--they practice what they teach. A great mentor leads through years of experience. A great mentor will not accept every aspirant as not everyone requires their lessons. New teachers are exactly this: new. I learned as a new teacher that knowing nothing is a great place to be, as there is only progress from there. My ego gets knocked down a every once in awhile to remind me that I am still a beginner. Yoga is a multi-lifetime process based on trial and error to find what works. "Be humble you are made of earth, be noble you are made of stars." "look into the mirror and see the reflection of your teacher"--Craig Villani.
trust the process 8/6/12
My dream of opening a studio began somewhere around the second breath of my first class at Bikram Yoga Dallas. I really knew it in standing separate leg stretching when I looked forward to see the owner Denise smiling at me upside down with sweat pouring off her body. She was in the best shape I'd ever seen, working harder than I could ever imagine, smiling at me. I knew I had found a practice that would carry me through and forward to real fitness--mind, body, and spirit. This was in the year 2000 and I was 16. It was a real challenge to make it to Yoga. I was graduating high school, working full-time at a coffee shop, and had just moved out of my parents house....
For some crazy reason I made a choice to take the hour long drive from suburban Plano, Texas to the heart of trendy Dallas and practice with a room full of people much my senior in what I learned later was infamously a hot, hard, humid, and strict studio. I wasn't aware at the time, but those same people who were taking class with me would become life-long friends in later years. See, the buzz for Bikram Yoga hadn't really set in like it has now. Sure there were quite a few studios, but nothing like the growth we've seen since then. The vibration was so high that in those classes there were at least 10 soon-to-be studio owners I can think of off hand, and maybe more. Certainly there were many other teachers who were 'born' from that torture chamber. I learned then that nothing comes without hard work, patience, and dedication. It was in these crazy classes where heat and humidity would max out in a mix of 85 sweaty bodies that I began to understand what true peace meant and where it came from....