Bikram: Form over Depth

I’ve practiced Bikram in three different studios now and each one is different. I am so extremely grateful to have started at Bikram DTLA because I learned form over depth. I had so many different teachers there  who mostly emphasized yoga practice as a journey and that you can’t expect to master everything in one class, one month, or even one or ten years. Having that mentality, I grew to know form and not push myself that hard because I was always like, it’s a journey, I have my whole life to practice, right? But now, it’s been four years and my practice is pretty solid, so I have teachers telling me all the time to push myself.

At the new studio where I practice, one of the teachers told me, “there’s no cruising in here.” I was surprised because no teacher has ever said that to me! It was harsh but I absolutely loved being told that. I needed to be told that, so every time I go practice I push myself. I’m not afraid to barf or get nauseous or sit down, and I haven’t needed to. I just focus on pushing myself the hardest I can go.

But there’s one thing I need to remind myself: form over depth.

DUDE….I pushed myself yesterday and wasn’t aligned properly in half moon and my back feels tweaked. I was a little scared to go to class today, so I didn’t go, but I definitely need to get in there tomorrow. There really is something to practicing with a teacher who will emphasize alignment. Yesterday I practiced with this lady who was kinda spacey, didn’t keep time properly and was more about cracking jokes and focusing on people’s faults rather than proper form. My side of the room was completely ignored and I could tell some of the ladies were just not having it because they would come out of the poses way earlier than the “change.” But I’ve heard many a teacher say it: every part of being in the hot room is part of the practice, beyond the poses. It’s really all about you and how present you can be despite the teacher, your neighbor, your focus, etc. As a seasoned practitioner, I have to remind myself to stay aligned even if a teacher won’t call me out on it.

I feel like I’m at this point where I need to push myself because I’m ready for it, but I really have to remember to focus on the form above everything.

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