The hardest part of Bikram yoga practice is showing up. This is especially true for shy students.
To do hot yoga you have to be in a brightly lit room, surrounded by mirrors, for 90 minutes. And attempt to do “unnatural” things with your body in front of a bunch of strangers! At least that’s how it can feel when you begin.
If you feel shy in the yoga room, don’t worry, and don’t fight it. Acknowledge the emotion and take the opportunity to examine your underlying fears. Shyness isn’t an in-born trait, it’s a defence mechanism. Ask yourself: what are you afraid of? Looking silly? Falling out of a posture? Not keeping up?
Then go to a deeper leval and ask why you’re afraid of those things: is it fear of ridicule? Because you think you need to be perfect to be loved? Because you’re afraid of criticism?
Don’t judge yourself, just be aware of how you feel.
Fear is something we learn. That means fear is something we can un-learn too.
Bikram yoga is an amazing tool to uncover, examine and address these fears. Every day that you go into the hot yoga room and stay the course you are chipping away at that habit of fear. Gradually, you find yourself getting braver about going deep into the postures. You stop noticing other students and concentrate on your own meditation. You realise that when the teacher offers corrections it is in a spirit of love and caring. You learn to focus on the breath and get out of your monkey mind.
The best part is when these transformations leak out of the studio and into your daily life. You develop a greater awareness of your singularity and self-worth. You have compassion for the fears of others. You learn to breathe through the tough stuff. You discover you’re not shy anymore…
Bikram yoga is an amazing journey. No matter where you are, now is the perfect time to focus, challenge yourself and let it transform your life.
Where are you in your Bikram journey? Share in the comments.