As a teacher, it can be upsetting, knowing your students asanas would improve if they listened carefully before moving their bodies into the same position as yesterday, last week, last month, last year. I often say during class, “Move your body to each instruction you hear”. However, the nature of Bikram Yoga can make you practice on autopilot: the same postures, instructions, pace, not to mention the heat pressuring you to get in and out ASAP. After a while, you may reach a level of fitness and competence then happily cruise when in reality, you stagnate.
Here’s a (rather poor) analogy: Tennis. When you play tennis for the first time, you’re going to be shit. You may not think you’re shit but yes, you stink. You like tennis for some reason so you continue to play and improve simply from time on the court. You learn a few moves, start bringing your friends and you beat them; you think you’re hot shit! You get some lessons, win a few matches and reach a level you’re happy with. You maintain pretty decent form and now you think you’re THE shit!
Of course I’m being so hilariously extreme. Most of the time, as a student, we are just doing the best we think we can, oblivious to the fact we can do a lot better if we realise our bodies are constantly transfiguring. Hence, we must continue to explore and tweak our postures to progress but you’ve got to work at it. Can you remember what your body was like before yoga? How has it changed? Can you remember how hard it was at the start? Is it supposed to get easier or do we just make it so? Is there a finite when yoga is a never ending practice?
This morning I practiced at Bikram Yoga Caloundra, a studio where I don’t teach at and haven’t visited since returning to Australia. It’s taken me five months to go the extra mile, only because I practice where I teach, at Bikram Yoga Kawana and Noosa. That’s not a bad thing per se but it’s nice to hear another voice, feel anonymous and say hello to the greater clan of Bikram.
As a teacher practicing yoga, I can slip under the radar most of the time but when I practice at another studio, I’m new and fresh and a beacon to the experienced teacher. Today I got corrected as if I was a beginner and it felt annoying good: in Trikanasana I ended up in a position that felt almost alien to what I’m used to. Ha, just when I thought I’m THE shit at Trikanasana!
I’m glad I listened today and I’m inspired to start analysing my practice again!