Summertime! Dive in for seasonal recipes, yoga tips and inspiration in the
July Yoga With Paul newsletter
The essential practice of Bikram, or any yoga, is simple: never quit.
We all have moments, days, or even weeks sometimes, when we think “I want to quit.” Yoga is too hard. Life is too busy. We have jobs, partners, kids, debts, commitments, houses, pets and our sanity to look after.
Sometimes yoga feels like one more line on a never-ending to do list. In those moments it can be tempting to quit. But yoga teaches us that quitting is not a solution. If we quit yoga when the going gets tough we are putting down the one tool that can help us hack through the jungle of stress and strife and come out smiling on the other side.
Yoga is where we hone our minds and bodies. It is where we return to ourselves. It is where we learn to breathe, be in the moment, and let go of external things. Yoga is also where we find community. Even if we dash in and out of the studio, we spend 90 minutes in a room with people who share positive energy and affirm the power of our practice.
Quitting is a temporary fix, like getting drunk after a bad week. But you wake up with a hangover, and feel worse than before.
If you are truly struggling for time and energy to practice yoga, it is better to modify, adjust, reschedule, or practice at home. Don’t quit on the one thing that will, over time, build a stronger mind, body, and spirit.
Have you ever quit yoga? What did it feel like?
We’ve officially reached the time of year when almost anything seems easier and more fun than getting up at 5:30AM to get to 7AM yoga. Believe me, I feel it too. Psychologically, it’s tough to get out of bed with enthusiasm when it’s pitch dark but there are also physical changes that affect your practice.
The principle thing to be aware of is that your body is tighter. Your body will contract with the cold and even when you feel warm, there is likely to be more underlying tension in your muscles. The best way to overcome this is to fight your natural urge to huddle and move your body instead. Leaping out of bed to do star-jumps might seem crazy, but it’ll get the blood flowing! If that seems a bit much even some light stretching or a quick jog-on-the-spot while you’re cleaning your teeth will get your body moving.
To get the most out of your Bikram practice arrive early and spend a few extra minutes getting warmed up before the class starts. Remember to dress warmly on the way to the studio to avoid shocking your body with the temperature contrast.
During class be aware that your back and hamstrings might be particularly tight. Take your time getting into postures, focus on maintaining calm even breathing, and make smooth transitions — moving out of the posture the same way you went in.
Above all, don’t give up! The tougher it is to get to the studio the better you’ll feel when you’re finished!
Questions? Tips? Share in the comments!