Leave your shoes at the door..

September 26, 2008

It’s an instruction we give everyone who comes to the studio, right?  Leave your shoes outside the room.  Respect the space.  It’s a common sign of respect all over the world.  Shoes are filthy things that we wear to protect our feet.  Taking them off is a sign of respect

But for me, as Bikram taught last night, this simple request is also a great metaphor for how I should approach this Training, and my practice.  Leave your shoes at the door.  Leave everything you know, everything you believe, everything you thought you had learned at the door.  Take off those filthy shoes, that old knowledge, that stale faith, and just leave it at the door.  Come into the hot room with a clean slate, a fresh mind, and a willing heart.  The hot room is a metaphor for the entire training, and the postures are a metaphor for the process we go through here as we purify, purge, and process all the junk we’ve been carrying around all of our lives.

I woke up this morning, NO – I went to bed last night, completely discouraged, exhausted, ready to get the hell outta here.  Late nights, early mornings, endless lectures, movies, YOGA, heat, sweat, eating, showering, laundry….  It adds up fast.  Add to that the anxiety and homesickness, and well, you get the picture.

But what Bikram was saying, I believe, laaaate last night in lecture was that this whole thing is about me letting go and just doing it.  Shut up Karen.  Remember?  In the last blog?  Remember the conversation I had in Ulysses’ class?  Yeah.  Shut up brain.  Breathe, take off your filthy shoes and get on the mat.

Expectations are my enemy right now.  Because no matter how hard I try to prepare, whatever expectations I have set up for myself end up making me miserable.  The only way I can be free is to open my mind and let go.  So this morning, I woke up, had myself a good cry on my terrace watching the sun rise and just let go.  It doesn’t matter.  But once I let it go, I could move on.  I got up, washed my laundry out, changed, and walked down into the dungeon hot room.  It doesn’t matter.  All we have to do is leave our shoes at the door.

Edit:  After some careful introspection, and some input from my readers, I have decided to no longer refer to the yoga room as the dungeon.  I think you know why 😉


9 Responses to “Leave your shoes at the door..”

  1. Duffy Pratt Says:

    It’s funny, but unless you are saying it fondly, the word “dungeon” carries its own expectations. There are lots of things you could call the room.

    It still sounds like you are doing great.

    Oh, for some of us with bromodrosis (AKA Stinkfoot), leaving shoes at the door is anything but politeness.

  2. Ruben Says:

    That’s so true. Things in life will be easier if you leave all the things behind, every day, every moment. TT is such a good practice for living life how one should live it.
    You’re doing great!

  3. mammaren Says:

    Good point Duffy. I say it a bit tongue-in-cheek. The room is what the room is. Many days it feels like a dungeon. I actually have found that the bulk of my expectations stem from the other aspects of the Training besides the yoga class. Lecture, dialogue, all of the other learning I am doing. The yoga class is such a constant thing I have found a little bit of solace in just letting it go and doing it. But your point is valid, and I see how my words can reflect even underlying emotions about it.

  4. Michelle Says:

    I love the way you write. The metaphors and how they relate to life. Your post actually made me think of my practice, how it enrichs my life. AND I started to think maybe I need to “leave my shoes at the door” with other things in my life. Like my new relationship. I’ve only been seeing this guy for 6 weeks, but I’m already falling hard for him. Which is scary, coming out of a 4 and 1/2 year live-in relationship earlier this year. But I can’t bring any of my baggage with me. I have to let go, have no expectations, live in the moment, breathe, be present…..all the things I do when I go into my wonderful hot room for my very necessary Bikram practice. Thanks for making me think. And thanks for blogging while at training. Perhaps someday the universe will allow for me to be blessed with taking your class in my travels….
    Michelle from Vegas

  5. jenn Says:

    Hey there,
    If you decide to close your blog, please invite me! jennsteff@pobox.com. Thanks! I’m enjoying it a lot!

  6. Jessica Says:

    Yes, i just got the boot on isaacs blog 😦 invite me if you make it private!!!



  7. Maya Says:

    One of my teachers had mentioned something similiar about”leaving things at the door” which stuck with me for a long time. When we practise so intensely, it is normal that we have expectations and believe that what you could do yesterday should be piece of cake today. But when it does not go easy,this can easily become a reason for frustration and self-distruction. My teacher also gave a valuable advice that “if you come to the training, you should have no expectations and be simply open for everything + be grateful”. So, please do not despair and enjoy!

  8. Heather Says:

    Thanks for posting your impressions! I don’t know exactly why, but reading your post made me really emotional all of a sudden out of the blue. Maybe it’s because I’m thinking of taking teacher training in the spring. 😉 Hang in there, hon!

  9. Matthew C Says:

    Nice post.

    We should all leave our shoes at the door.

    I have an whole blog about removing shoes: Shoes Off at the Door, Please You might like to take a look.

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