I have done yoga, alone in my bedroom, off and on for a few years. I am not particularly flexible nowadays, but once I was fairly so. I had a health problem in the beginning of the year and since then I had done no yoga at all.
My older daughter lives where there is a Bikram studio and has practiced Bikram for over three years and says how much it helps relieve her chronic health problems. It surprised me because she is utterly against being physically uncomfortable, so I could not imagine her being hooked on it!
I, myself, don't like being physically uncomfortable so I was certain that I would never do this form of yoga, in the same emphatic way that I don't need to sky dive or bungee jump. I also don't like being committed to going to classes.
Well, I have noticed over the years that whenever I say "never" to something, I inevitably end up doing that very thing. I think it has a lot to do with the "Law of Attraction". I only learned what the law was really about during the past year or two. I had seen the movie, The Secret, but the tone of the movie made me feel suspicious. I felt that it was a bit sensationalized, and really didn't make me believe in the "Law of Attraction".
During the past two years, I have learned a lot about how our brains take in the information in our world and begin to track for similar things show up. For instance, if you think of a red car, your brain will focus on red cars, almost causing you to not even notice other color cars but red ones. Our brains work to help us gather more information about what we are thinking of so that is comes into our awareness. You could say our "Attention aligns with our Intention". Martha Beck, my mentor and creator of the coach training school I attended, refers to this frequently. Whether we say that we always wanted to go to Bikram or never wanted to go to Bikram makes no difference—the point is that our attention is on Bikram and the brain begins to point out Bikram whenever it can. We have programmed it to do so. This is a lot like the "Law of Attraction" in that we get more of what we focus on.
A new Bikram studio opened up five minutes from my house. Every day, I would drive by and notice if there were cars there, and say to myself, "I will never go to Bikram. It's too hot." Then about two weeks ago my younger daughter (who had also said she would never go to Bikram, because she hates being hot even more than her sister), called me to see if I wanted to have an adventure. You guessed it. She wanted to try Bikram with me. She gets me into all kinds of "fun" situations.
I have had a lot of health annoyances over the past few years. I developed asthma, I have a herniated disk in my low back, arthritis in my neck...blah, blah, blah...I went begrudgingly to a class with my daughter and as much as I didn't want to believe the instructor about all of its benefits, I kind of liked it. I sweat like I have never sweat before. My body and mind asked me why I was stretching so much after such a long time. I answered, "Because the heat is allowing me to stretch!" I was amazed.
As each class begins we do breathing exercises, doing deep breaths in through our noses, and audible exhales with our mouths open. Before the series is done, I have had enough, but it seems that doing this has a great affect on my own breath and breathing. We also use neck, shoulder and arm muscles during the exercise which adds to the depth of the breath. And at the end of the class, we do another series of breath exercises of short, huffing. The whole class seems to make a big difference in my breathing. Not bad for someone who has held her breath for 30 years!
Each time I have gone, I have been able to go a little deeper in the stretches. In the beginning, I was afraid that I was going to reinjure my lower back, but in a short period of time, I began to trust that the whole of the program of postures support me where and when I need it. At home, I am able to bend down to do everyday things with ease in my back and hips. My breathing has gotten much better. My neck has better mobility.
Doing yoga helps to quiet our busy minds, by having us focus on exactly what we are doing in the moment, instead of falling prey to our "monkey mind", going off into the frantic details of "to-do" lists for the day. This ability to quiet our mind has deep and lasting affects for our minds and bodies.
So, I bought some yoga clothes. I warn you, "Never Say Never"!
Bonnie Olson is a Certified Martha Beck Life Coach.
You can find her and more of her blog posts at www.bonnieolsonlifecoach.com
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