Saturday, November 9, 2013

Day #6: Bikram Yoga Etiquette

On the second Saturday of every month, the studio I practice Bikram Yoga at, Bikram Yoga Tracy, opens the studio doors all day to anyone who wants to try the practice for FREE. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me. It's a really nice way for the studio to give back to the community and introduce people to Bikram Yoga that might not have tried it at all. I mean, who doesn't want free yoga? This morning's class was the fullest class I have ever taken at the studio so far. It reminded me of taking Bikram in San Francisco where the classes are always full, almost uncomfortably full.

The room was full of Bikram newbies. How exciting! I remember taking my first Bikram class. I was so nervous. I didn't really have any idea what to expect. I gave it my all, did what I could and ended up getting addicted to the practice. The class itself was complete torture, but my body and mind felt incredible for the rest of the day, especially after my shower.

Day #6

The room was full of newbies who were spread out everywhere. It was great because there was a lot of energy in the room and it seemed hotter than usual. More bodies usually generate more heat. I typically don't like to pick a spot in the front of the room, but in a crowded class I think I'm going to start. I got set up for class early and only a couple minutes before class started, some girl came in and set up right in front of me, totally blocking all of my mirror space. Bummer, but not a deal breaker. Then before class started this morning, there were several people chatting away in the room, loudly. I didn't want to be the bitch who started shssshing everyone so I kept my mouth shut. I tried to close my eyes and relax, but the chatter was so bad that I ended up just sitting on my knees and got an early start on my water drinking. As people came in and out of the studio, many of them didn't realize that the door didn't shut automatically behind them. Several times, before and after class, the door to the room had been left wide open. And yes, during class this morning, someone's cellphone went off. SUPER ANNOYING!

I know that not every class will be perfect. Each day presents a new challenge. The beautiful thing about this journey is how I decide to work through these challenges. Today, I just had to work that much harder to stay focused on my own breath, body and mind. I did manage to quiet my mind completely during a few of the postures. I made it through all 26 postures without feeling dizzy, having to sit down or giving up on holding the stretch. I even got my toe stand in again. Score! But whenever someone in class did something that broke my focus, I quickly reminded myself that I was a Bikram new bite myself and that this experience would only make me stronger. It also of course made me appreciate my small, quiet, intimate classes during the week that much more.

Bikram Yoga Tip

So with a room full of newbies this morning, I realized that today's class wasn't going to be the small, calm, serene class I've grown accustomed to taking all week long. Instead, I took a mental note of a few key pieces of Bikram etiquette that I've become accustomed to with all of the classes I've taken over the last couple of years.

First Piece of Bikram Etiquette: No Talking in the Studio

As soon as people started coming into the studio this morning, many of them were chatting away. There are a few people who show up early each class to meditate.  Some people need to take a few minutes to relax, clear their mind and get in the right head space before taking a Bikram class. When people come into the room and start talking to one another, it's disruptive to this process. I get that some of the newbies were so excited to try Bikram that they wanted to talk about it with their friends. That's perfectly fine. We just need to have respect for one another and honor everyone's process. When you come into the room, be sure to enter quietly and set up your towel and mat without making too much noise. If you want to chat with your friend, leave the studio as quietly as possible and have the conversation either out in the lobby or in the changing room.

Second Piece of Bikram Etiquette: Close the Door Behind You

In Bikram Yoga, the room is heated to 105 degrees. The reason why the room is able to stay so warm is because the all of the doors and windows are shut, helping to keep the heat inside. When people come in and out of the room and don't shut the door behind them, the hot air can quickly leave the room. No hot room = no hot yoga. Also, the changing rooms tend to be right outside of the room as well. When someone leaves the door open behind them, the noise from the changing rooms tend to flow right into the room. Then you have that non-quiet issue in the room again which disrupts the poor people trying to meditate before and after class. It's real simple, if you come into the room, be sure to close the door behind you. If you leave the room, be sure to close the door behind you.

Third Piece of Bikram Etiquette: Leave Your Cellphone Outside

Trust me, I'll be the first person to admit that I'm helplessly addicted to having my cellphone near me at all times. When it comes to Bikram Yoga, there's no valid reason why you should need your cellphone with you in the room. For one, the room is hot. The hot air could possibly damage your phone, especially if you get clumsy in class and knock your water bottle over on it. And then of course why would you want to bring your phone with you to class? These ninety minutes are for you! You're gifting yourself a whole hour and a half of time where the focus is 100% on YOU: your breath, your body and your mind. Why would you want to interrupt that process? Trust me, whomever is trying to text or call you can wait ninety minutes. If not, pick another time in your schedule where you won't be interrupted by the outside world.

Whenever I take a Bikram class, I leave my phone in the car. I certainly don't want it with me during class and I'm too paranoid to leave it in my bag in the changing room. My phone stays locked up, hidden and secure in my car the whole time. It's just one less thing for me to worry about during class.

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