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.


The Lemonade Cleanse Day 7

Oh man, I’m so happy to say that today is Day 7. I have endured the Lemonade Cleanse for one entire week and I only have three more days to go. I find that my days go by faster when I have to work and my weekend is now over since my work week starts on Sunday. I have a feeling the next three days will fly by.

I suppose the only thing that concerns me is how I’m going to stay feeling this way–light, clean, and toxin-free. I love how light my stomach feels. I love how my clothes fit. I love that my face has cleared up, and how in the moment I am. This cleanse is very centering. I started to imagine what the world would be like if we were all ate healthy and lived healthy lifestyles. Then I remembered something Louise Hay said about not trying to change other people and just focusing on changing ourselves. People around us are mirrors of ourselves and if we change ourselves then we change others. I find that hard sometimes because I like to help people, but I’ve learned that there’s only so much you can do to help others. It has always felt selfish for me to care about myself only and put myself first, but that’s what I’m doing now. That’s what moving to Arizona was all about. Change requires patience and takes time as with anything worth having.

I don’t need to worry about how things will happen. Like I’ve heard Louise Hay mention so many times-we need to focus on what we want to happen and “the how” will take care of itself. I think wondering “how” is fear and it’s been a journey to change my thinking and have faith that what I want will happen if I focus positive energy on what I want, rather than how it will come to be.

So today I’m focusing on feeling positive and continuing to feel light, clean, and toxin-free.

Master Cleanse a.k.a. Lemonade Cleanse Preparation

It is Lemonade Cleanse eve for me tonight as I just finished a cup of laxative tea in preparation for the storm tomorrow. The night before you start the lemonade cleanse, you drink an herbal laxative tea and as I drank my tea, I had some thoughts.

I have sort of been dreading this day but also looking forward to it for many reasons, which will become clearer to me as I embark on my second stab at this long overdue cleanse. The Master Cleanse is one of the most spiritual things I’ve ever done because it helps you get really clean in the body and as a result, other parts of your being involuntarily become clean.

If it hadn’t been for my Bikram Yoga community in Los Angeles, I wouldn’t know about the Master Cleanse, the benefits, and that there are other people who do this and don’t die. The reason I am doing a documentary is because when I first did the Lemonade Cleanse back in February, I was searching for anything I could get my hands on that would give me support, guidance, and advice about the cleanse and there wasn’t much other than a few articles and the Stanley Burroughs little pamphlet book, “The Master Cleanse with special needs and problems.” The book serves as the guide for the cleanse but it’s such a small book that I found myself reading it over and over again every day during the cleanse to make sure I was doing it right but I think what I was really looking for was something to read, a testimony of what it would be like. So this is my testimony of what this cleanse is, why I do it, and how it feels every single day for nearly 10 days. I might go a little longer depending on how I feel.

So these are just some of the thoughts I am having tonight but in all, I am looking forward to cleaning myself out again. It’s a great way to reset the body and just in time for my birthday at the end of the month.

I don’t have enough lemons at this time, but I’ll go shopping for them first thing tomorrow after I do my first dreaded salt water flush. Ahhhh. I got chills just thinking of it. I gotta look at it differently. Maybe I can pretend I am surfing back in California and I swallowed too much saltwater while getting wiped out in the ocean. I don’t mind getting wiped out at all because I love the ocean and surfing, so it’s definitely better to associate the saltwater solution with these elements rather than just drinking hot saltwater alone. I’ll give that a try tomorrow.

Put Yourself Through The Fire

There’s an amazing quote that I’ve heard Bikram Yoga instructors say often in class which is “put yourself through the fire and no one can touch you.” Today I apply that to my current condition which has totally humanized me: a nice little cold.

I am human but unlike many humans who take medicine to heal the common cold, I put myself through the fire in order to heal my sickness. I’m not fond of aspirins and over the counter drugs. To me, they only prolong the healing process. Instead of drowning my sorrows in Nyquil, Tylenol, or Ibuprofen, I made my body go through the fire of a Bikram yoga class whereby I experienced intense chills, nausea, and dizziness as my body detoxified all of the fear out of my mind. Oh, it was hard but worth it.
What I also love doing when I feel sick is making vegetable soup.
The process of cutting vegetables, especially onions and garlic, feels cleansing and detoxifying. There’s something about onion induced watery eyes that just feels like you are getting better and eating hot soup really makes you sweat and is comforting.

After the yoga and soup, I began to think about why I might have gotten sick in the first place and then it came to me. Sunday I had a heated conversation with my boyfriend via telephone and I immediately got a headache after. We were talking about the future and I was the one thinking negatively, not behaving very Louise Hay-like. I was letting fear take over and I can’t help but think that is what made me sick.

Today was all about making choices and deciding on what it is I want rather than what I don’t want because indecision clouds signals to the universe and indecision is really just fear at work that makes me get sick. I want to feel good. I want to feel peace in my present moment. The future isn’t here. The past isn’t here.
I let fear control my mind and I got sick.

I had to be aware of that. I had to put myself through the fire by just being in my present moment, getting in touch with my center. Once I became aware, I started to feel better.

Anyway, this experience of being sick reminded me that fear and negativity are what make people sick mostly and once we clear up our minds, the body heals. The way I work is that once I eat right and exercise, I get meditative and get in touch with my root, my center. Everything makes sense after that. This is what I experienced today.

Being sick couldn’t come at a better time since it solidified my decision to start my Lemonade cleanse (Master Cleanse) documentary come this Sunday. Ten days of documentary blogging will be coming as I cleanse all the caca out of my stomach that has built up since I last did the cleanse in February.