Five (More) Things You Might Not Know About Yoga

 Just a follow-up to my last post…and there may be more.  But I hope you’re learning things, because I am, as these thoughts drift into my head (usually during class) and onto my blog (whenever I have time)…

  • Your practice will change you, but maybe not in the ways you think.

This just made me laugh.

You may have read or heard from other people about how yoga changed their lives, and honestly, I’ve said that about my Bikram practice. However, I’m pretty sure not all of my results are good, whatever “good” might mean to you. Yes, I’m stronger, more flexible, and my health has improved. I find I have less trouble with my ADHD and also with controlling my temper. And all of that is positive.

But I’m also a little more self-righteous, and I think, a tad judgmental. Leading to my next point…

  • Prepare to judge and be judged.

Before you reflexively say “I’d never do that”, trust me, you will, and you do, and better to admit it than pretend. You look at other yogis and even if it’s just a for a brief second, you notice that flaw – in their body, in their postures, in their silly hairstyle (oops…) – and yes, they are doing the same thing, and sometimes they’re not shy about it. I’ve actually caught fellow yogis looking me over, and then openly commenting to a friend in my presence. They might think I can’t hear them, but for things like that, I’ve got ears like a bat.

But you know what? Everything about our society leads us to this behavior, so I’ve stopped blaming myself. Instead, when I catch myself doing it, I try to examine that moment, because usually, judging someone else is much more about you than them. So if you take the time to think about what you’re really judging, you might learn something.

  • Listening is hard. But if you do, you will always hear something worthwhile.

This honestly surprised me. Listening, like breathing, should be easy and natural, right? After all, I have upwards of twenty years of formal education and more than another twenty years in the workplace, and in both those arenas, you have to listen, right? Well, no. Listening is tricky. Are you really hearing what someone is saying or are you already formulating your (physical) response? The Bikram dialogue may be the same (but really, it’s not) every time you take class, but even if you think it is, every teacher is different. Every teacher will, wittingly or not, emphasize different words/moments/phrases.  

This tendency not to listen is particularly noticeable in Bikram, I think, as you will see yogis begin the postures before the teacher has even given the first instruction – because, you know, “it’s the same every time”. Except it’s not. Really. In fact, just the other day, I heard a teacher say something really helpful that I never heard before. That actually has been happening a lot lately…maybe I’m getting to be a better listener?

  • Yoga is not a cure-all

I think that’s kind of self-explanatory. So go to it, have fun, listen, breathe, and hopefully learn stuff.

Oh, and do share your thoughts on what you know that I might not know about yoga!

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. pscapp
    Jul 12, 2014 @ 21:08:15

    I have to admit that I often don’t listen to the instructor. I have noticed though that when the entire class all goes into a posture all at the same time that the room energy level raises a few points and I can feel myself feeding off that energy. My Bikram practice is mostly physical and I like the way it’s changed my body in ways I can see and feel. I’m stronger. I stand up straighter. I’m taller than people I used to be at eye level with and I find that slouching is actually uncomfortable. Go figure. And as much as I like to think that I don’t go in for all that Namaste mumbo jumbo but I am calmer, less judgmental and overall I am a happier guy. Sorry to jump the track on your post with my comment but Bikram for me is a process and I don’t know exactly where it’s leading me but I like the direction I’m going.

    Reply

  2. Charlotte Steggz
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:08:42

    My posture definitely gets better when I’m doing more Bikram. And I sure do check other people out a lot. Because I’m not skinny, I often look to larger girls and compare my body to theirs. It’s not heathy, I know…

    Reply

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