SARAH WOLF | WRITER, READER, GAMER
My Inner Worlds
A Bikram Beginning
Yesterday I took a workshop taught by Billy Batten of Bikram Yoga Wilmington, hosted by Raleigh Yoga Company. I have now been practicing yin yoga for four weeks and continue to love it. Bikram is the next step for me, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from the afternoon’s training. I was the only one there who had never taken a Bikram class. Thinking the workshop was for people like me, a total newbie, I was a bit surprised to see folks there who have decades of experience in this method. I chose to feel special for being the only true beginner out of a room of eighteen yogis.
Billy said Bikram yoga is for the broken, physically or emotionally. I’m doing yoga to help with my spinal pain (see post here), and I can always become more emotionally healthy (see post here). Bikram uses the body to change the body, an empowering tool. He asked us why we come to yoga. If the reason is to look good in our poses, we can lose our motivation. My intent is to relieve the constant pain in my upper neck that gives me headaches and blurs my vision, as well as deepening the connection with my body’s knowledge and understanding. I’ve ignored the body’s quiet song long enough.
After the workshop I moved into the regular yin yoga class, which had more people in attendance than usual. The studio has been open for just over two months, and I’ve been spoiled by classes with only a handful of students. I can sometimes get overwhelmed by a crowded room and will avoid situations where I know there will be a lot of people. But this is yin yoga. I breathed and allowed the energy of everyone there to softly flow within my imagined space. Yin embraces discomfort, and I had an opportunity to be vulnerable inside a packed room. The class felt short, which tells you how good it was—the hour flew by. During an intense hip pose, I finally let go and cried through the pain that’s been in my left hip for some time, hindering my gait during walks. I had a chance two weeks ago to cry it out during Saturday yin, but I didn’t want to sob with a medical doctor on the mat next to me. Yes, I have my unfair prejudices.
In final savasana (“corpse pose”), I allowed the tears to fall and relaxed into the posture. Towards the end of it, I saw in my mind’s eye a circle of concrete blocks beginning to crack, transforming into living flowers. It was a beautiful image, and I feel the flowers are within my strengthening body. They aren’t there yet, but I have a picture to use each time I go to yoga—I’m transforming concrete into beautiful blossoms.
Thank you to Billy for sharing his wisdom, and to Laura and Susan for inviting him into their studio. I’m grateful to be a part of Raleigh Yoga Company’s growing practice.
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