I hate Bikram Yoga. And when I say I hate it, I mean I love it.
In a Bikram class you face a mirrored wall and are reminded to maintain eye contact with yourself throughout the entire 90 minute class as you hold 26 different poses under extreme heat. There is no music to offer distraction from the intensity. The instructor speaks the entire time. Most of the time he is describing the pose, making verbal corrections, and suggesting modifications. The descriptions and corrections seem to be infinite, which reminds the class that there is almost always room for improvement... not that I need a reminder, I'm pretty bad, and I know it.
In the midst of the technical descriptions the instructor also manages to weave in little nuggets of wisdom. Even though the 26 poses are the same every single time, the instructor always brings something new to the class. Towards the end of the class last weekend as I was raining sweat, trying my hardest to hold a perfect Camel pose after twisting my body into strenuous positions for nearly an hour and a half in a 105 degree room, the instructor said:
"This is not hard."
"This is not the hard part." he repeated, as if responding to my inner thoughts.
This better be good.
"Coming to this class is not hard. The hard part is applying what you learn in this class to the outside world. What do you have with you now? A mat. A bottle of water. A very sweaty towel. But what do you have inside? So much more. Something you can't even buy on Amazon."
Now I really hope he wasn't reading my mind because I feel a little silly. How could have not seen that one coming? After all, I have built an entire business based on the philosophy that improving our physical strength is part of the foundation for living a happy and healthy life. But sometimes even I need a reminder. And sometimes doing that thing we love to hate is the best way to be reminded of what really matters.
I do not go to Bikram Yoga to be awesome at Bikram Yoga. I go to make myself better, to make my life outside these walls easier. I choose to suffer here in hopes of making myself strong enough to overcome true suffering in the real world. I come here to test my limits and find out what I'm made of... because if I can't order it from Amazon, I guess I'm going to have to become an Amazon.