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 Team Member, Courtney Denelle