Now that winter is around the corner, things are heating up at Cincinnati Bikram Yoga. Actually, things are always pretty hot around here, but we welcome winter. The Hot Room offers a welcomed refuge from the bitter chill than can come in December and January.
If you remember last winter’s multiple days below freezing and record snowfall, you remember how good it felt to get into the studio as much as possible. If you’re a runner, you know how hard it can be to get out in sub-freezing temperatures – not to mention the hazardous traction. Last year, I mostly turned in my Asics for the winter and opted for barefooted Bikram. This winter, I hope to do a combination of both, incorporating lots of treadmill work as well.
Another sign of winter is the holiday season. Christmas with its merriment and gift-giving is right around the corner. You’ll see signs of the season around the studio soon. This is a time to take inventory of the things we take for granted, the things that we want to improve upon and to set new challenges.
In November 2013, my friend, Alex, casually invited me to come to Bikram with her. Had this not happened, I would have continued to bypass the studio in my travels up and down Red Bank Road. However, that visit changed my life. I had run in four Flying Pig half marathons and countless road races in multiple states. Bikram wasn’t on my radar. But once bitten, I was hooked. I set a goal of trying to come at least three times a week, to not leave the room and to track the health benefits.
Today, more than a year later, I can say that I’m several pounds lighter, I am more flexible that I have ever been, and my the pain in my shoulders and knees that plagued me a year ago are now a distant memory. More important, I approach my daily life with a sense of well-being.
If you are a beginner reading this blog post, or a wily veteran who may be thinking about renewing your membership, my advice is to dive in. It can change the way you see yourself in mind, body and spirit.
The 30-day challenge in October was a smashing success! We have more than 60 people participate, taking more than 100 classes. Look for a new challenge in January to kick off 2015 right. Look for sign-up materials in the studio this month.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS WITH CHELSEA
A few months back, our fearless leader, Chelsea Young, went missing from the studio for two weeks to travel to Thailand, where she spent two days at the Bikram Yoga Teacher Training. Chelsea returned to the studio in Cincinnati to teach with an unprecedented, fierce tenacity, pushing us to execute poses with better form and challenging us to press harder. I sat down with her recently for to talk about her trip.
Q. Chelsea, why did you go to Thailand to training?
A. As a teacher is always good to get back to the ‘source’ or to training to continue to learn from Bikram and get re-inspired on why we teach this yoga in the first place (because it works and because everyone can do it!) We get a chance to meet yogis from all over the world who will become part of this amazing Bikram yoga family.
Q. We often joke about the humidity here when classes are crowded and it’s hot in July. How did your experience compare?
A. In Thailand it is extremely humid. On top of that, try putting 350 people in a ballroom with the heat to 105+ degrees. I love it hot and humid but this was definitely a challenge!
Q. What have you learned about yourself since you founded the practice in Cincinnati and when you took the teacher’s training?
A. I continue to learn from our students as a teacher/practitioner and from other teachers we have in the studio. With so many different bodies that take class I continue to learn more and more about the postures and how they are a guide for us to help reclaim our health and mental strength. Always I come back to the body being the subject, not the posture itself because for me everyday my postures feel different some good, some not so good. I learn that this series of yoga is and will always be a life long practice ever changing with they way you live your life and that to me is beautiful.
Q. What are the three things you learned there that you believe will help the Cincinnati practice now and in the future.
A. Three things:
1. You only get 90 minutes to practice, so use the time you have in the Bikram room wisely. Don’t waste your time and energy on negative thoughts, wiping, itching, fixing things etc. it is your time to spend time on your body and mind in a positive light.
2. Practice regularly to see benefits. At the studio, we can answer most of the questions we get from students by asking them two things: 1) How long have you been practicing this yoga? 2) How often do you practice?
Practice is something that takes time. We didn’t destroy our body in one day, most of us took years to get to where we are and it will take time to un-do the damage, there is no magic pill.
3. You get out what you put into your practice.
These are tough love pointers – but that is how Bikram teaches, with tough love.