This blog entry was called “True Story” on my personal blog. It this lays out the story of how I found Bikram Yoga and a little bit about how it changed my life forever. Enjoy!
May 31, 2008
Tomorrow is the first day of my Bikram Challenge. And even though it’s late and I should go to bed so I can get up tomorrow and get on my mat, I am going to write this story. I need to write it. I have to write it. And hopefully this story, this story of my first class, my journey and the yoga that won’t let me go will honor what I am about to do.
I was 19 when I found the Bikram book nestled in a case of books about yoga at the Boulder Bookstore. I bought it because it seemed the easiest to understand. It was concise, to the point, and had lots of pictures. I remember getting back to my apartment and opening it up. I remember devouring that little blue soft cover book about twenty times within the space of a weekend.
I started doing the series on my own. I did the yoga whenever I had time. It became an obsession for me. I never attended a class, not fully recognizing the “world” of Bikram yoga. I just read, and did what I thought I was supposed to. I created my own heat with space heaters, and wore sweats when it was cold. I had no idea what I was doing, really. I had only practiced very basic yoga prior. But something about those immensely challenging 26 postures got inside of me.
Time went by, I married, moved back and forth from Colorado a few times. I still did the yoga. I’d heat up my tiny apartment and work. I got pregnant with my first child and ordered the Rajashree Pregnancy tape. I did the pregnancy series, and it was the first time I had heard Bikram’s voice or seen anyone else do the series (apart from the pictures in the book). Time went by and I continued my practice at home, on and off. I conceived my second child and again retreated to my pregnancy yoga. The yoga was such a part of who I was that I never got far without telling someone I knew about it. Still, I remained fairly in the dark about how big the Bikram world really was.
Around the 8th month of my second pregnancy, my husband, older son, and I were walking through The Woodlands Mall. We passed through a hallway heading to our car and saw a sign on a door that read, “Coming Soon: Bikram Yoga The Woodlands!” Underneath was a phone number. Dave called it immediately. You could say perhaps that’s when the wheels started turning for me.
Not more than a month later, Elijah was born. I had a horrible labor, long and exhausting. I sunk into a deep depression for months after his birth. Sometime around the third month of his life, I got brave and decided it was “time.” Time for me to try this crazy thing. And so I called the studio, got class times, pumped out a bottle of milk for my baby and went to class.
I remember that class. I walked into the room and nearly walked right back out. The heat was overwhelming. But I persevered, setting my mat very near the back of the room and praying for the best. Having knowledge of the series was very helpful for me, and I did relatively well. We had a guest teacher. Her name was Jen Burton, and she was incredibly compassionate. When I left the room that night, I was smiling. I was happier than I had been in months.
I bought a class pass that night, and never looked back.
Here I am two years and four months later. I’ve had many ups and downs with my practice. I have taken breaks, had a surgery, and just plain slacked off. But the yoga has always been there. I’ve always gone back. There’s something profound to me about it. Something I can’t put my finger on. I remember meeting Jen and Arnie. I remember the feeling of the first time I moved my mat to the first row. I remember my first double class. I remember the first time I made it through the entire class without sitting out of anything. I remember all of it. It lives inside of me.
This yoga has saved me. It saved me from depression, it’s saved me from health problems. This yoga has turned my life around. Bikram says, “never too sick, never too old to start from scratch again.. to be born again.” He’s right. Never too anything.
And here I am, heading into my second 60 Day Challenge. Here I am, the girl that wore the pants for over a year. Here I am, discussing Teacher Training. Here I am, still. Still occupying the fourth mat space to the left of the stage day after day after day after day. Here I am blogging about yoga, dreaming big dreams, and not thinking twice.
The yoga is there for me, every single time. I thank God for the amazing circumstances that have aligned in my life. I am home, right where I belong. Bikram Yoga is my passion. And there are days I think back to that cold night in Boulder, when I picked up that little blue book and realize what happened. There’s so much at work in our lives. Sometimes we get jaded, too caught up to see what’s happening. But I never doubt that when we are open to miracles, they really do happen.