I had never been in “The Hot Room”. I had only read the name Bikram Yoga on a few signs I had passed occasionally. I really didn’t know anything about Bikram or this style of Yoga. After a brief tour and description on a Thursday morning, I registered Friday afternoon and got right into the 4:30PM class.
I came to PURE Yoga Dallas (PYD) (previously known as Bikram Yoga Dallas) under the direction of Karen and David Buckner in April of 2008. I had previously been a Kundalini Yoga student, but there was a gap between my Kundalini practice and the beginning of my Bikram practice. I was overweight, fatigued, and emotionally very ill at that time (YES, mental and emotional illness is a thing!).
I remembered that I felt better when I was attending classes regularly and it was suggested that I seek out a place to return to a yoga practice. I was ready to begin my journey toward a better physical and emotional condition.
I visited a few places the next day. It was the Dallas Premier Hot Yoga studio, now known as PURE Yoga Dallas, that got my attention. It seemed like an extreme physical and mental challenge that I was ready for innately, however, I was not in any condition at the time to meet this challenge easily at first. It was rough at first but I kept coming back!
The Hot Room …
During my first class I was following the dialogue as best I could, and the other students in the mirror and on the mats close by. I was clumsy, gasping for breath, and sweating profusely! When the class was completed and after slowly moving out of the studio, I remember being on my way home and driving directly west. Not only was the sun directly in my eyes just after completion of class but I was dizzy, confused and probably dehydrated. I had to focus extra hard over a few urban blocks. I made it home safely …whew!
As with practice, the next class was a little easier. I waited after class to recover a little more. Quickly, I found the community after class was lots of fun! We all had been “through something”. We shared that common bond. Everybody was recovering equally. Hanging out after class was necessary and valuable.
I was strongly urged to come back the next day for exponential benefits. I was there the next Saturday morning! HAPPILY!
Within the first few months of practice, I found out that a “front row” student was where someone more experienced stood and practiced in order to be an example for the other less experienced students standing behind them. I was certainly not a front row student within my first 6 months but when the opportunity presented itself, I stood in the front row nearer the mirrors. I wanted to “see” myself and practice with brave honesty as much as possible for my improvement.
I am a musician/drummer. Practicing certain movements and motions in the mirror was a highly recommended method of self-analysis and continued improvement with this instrument. You can see what you want to repeat and see errors to polish in the movement of hand, wrists, and arm … as a drummer! This experience made me want to be nearer the mirrors in my yoga practice.
Listening to the dialogue, breathing as was instructed, and seeing what my body was doing became a sought-after experience for me.
Some changes, to be expected…
Over the first 4-6 months there were a lot of physical (muscular and cardiovascular), mental (endurance and determination), and emotional changes which I began to crave. My attendance was still kind of light but I was compelled to keep going. SLOWLY, my focus and concentration began to improve. At first, I saw this as an athletic event. Eventually, athletic or not, my focus, concentration, and efficiency of motion were essential and improving.
The previous injury …
Indulge me in a brief digression if you will. Just over 15 years prior to my hot yoga start, I sustained a lower back injury. If memory serves, it was a weight training injury with a seated leg press. My tailbone came off the supportive pad and put enormous pressure on the low spine and supportive muscles.
BANG!!! Herniated disc.
I didn’t know it at that time. I finished the workout with a friend and we both went one floor down for some cardio in the racket ball court. So far so good. Within a few minutes, I could not extend my upper torso. I bent over to serve and could not return upright. I had to almost crawl out of the court, and within a few more minutes, stumble out of the building. This took weeks to get to any semblance of mobility. According to a few different chiropractors over the next few years, the disc would never return to normal. There would be some degree of pain and loss of range of motion, (ROM). This was challenging and I had to protect that area and care for it regularly. I never made excuses for it, I just kept going!
Now I’m in the Hot Room where the teachers were frequently speaking about alignment and repairing injuries including back issues.
Years later, I stopped chiropractic and focused on yoga. I began asking more questions to the yoga teachers, attended more classes frequently, and practiced more yoga on my own.
I wanted to take responsibility for my condition. The other experts were valuable and provided relief, but I wanted to educate myself and take more responsibility. Practicing was fun for me and I wanted to continue more seriously.
I’ll be sharing more of my yoga journey and exploration into pranayama, hot yoga, kundalini yoga, and life coaching in upcoming posts…stay tuned!