Every teacher says, Don’t throw this posture away. They say it at various points in class, and often it’s during one of the deceptively easy postures or during the stretches at the end of class. But the further I get into this thing, the more meaning this has for me. It’s tempting, some days, to think to myself, I do this every single day, I’m going to sit out this one set. It’s very tempting. But what I found today was that my temptation to throw things away come early in class. It’s during those warm up postures that I feel lethargic, sleepy, and a little whiny. Particularly tempting for me is Pranayama.

Pranayama, standing deep breathing, is the first thing you do in a Bikram Yoga class. Pranayama opens the lungs, increases the circulation of the body, and prepares the body for class. Yet, this seemingly simple series is one of the most difficult things to really master. I certainly haven’t mastered it, in all my years of doing Bikram. In fact, I would say I am only just beginning to even understand it. Yes, it’s that tricky.

So some days it’s hard not to just muddle through the breathing to get to the rest of the postures. I’m working on this, trying to make a conscious effort to really do every…single…inhale, and every….single…exhale. But each and every posture builds on the next. Pranayama warms the body and prepares the lungs for the full class. But it also loosens the shoulders and begins to open the hips for Half Moon. Half Moon moves the spine in four directions, preparing it for Awkward. Awkward warms the lower body for Eagle. Eagle opens the hips and prepares you for the balancing series. You get the idea.

Bikram has said, of his series,

If you take the formula for Penicillin and remove one thing, you no longer have Penicillin. If you take Bikram Yoga and remove one thing, you no longer have Bikram Yoga.

Nothing added, nothing taken away, nothing thrown away – yields the benefits and results of the yoga. That’s it.

Today I did a double, and it felt great. I worked hard, and felt amazing after my second class. There really is so much depth in the second class that you often don’t find in the first. I feel strong. And I can’t believe the time is starting to fly.

Tomorrow I have a meeting with Arnie, Jen, and Daren after class. Should be fun to brainstorm together about things.

If you are keeping track, I have done 31 classes now out of my 60 and this is day 26 of the Challenge.

See you tomorrow.