On Bended Knees, Hands in Prayer, I’ll Believe

We love guest posts here at Bikram Yoga Vancouver; our students truly are our greatest motivation and our greatest inspiration! Today, the beautiful Niki P. writes about her powerful experiences with Bikram Yoga. Let us know if you can relate to her words … we know we can!

Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you. – hafiz

I nervously walked from my apartment on a frigid December day in 2008 to the Bikram Yoga studio, moved by curiosity and the hope that the intensity of hot yoga would provide some solutions. I was carrying a broken heart that raised questions for me about how well I coped with challenge. Grief was not new to me. It had been eight years of struggling with how to live life after my sister’s unexpected death. I often felt immobilized underneath the weight of my emotions and existential worries. I wouldn’t be surprised if spectators of my life thought differently, though. I had tight relationships with my family and friends. I was supported and strolled around with a smile on my face knowing this.

In spite of all that I received from external sources, I hadn’t learnt how to nourish myself properly with my own internal resources.

I liked the idea of hot yoga for a long time before I tried it. In the days leading up to my first class, I imagined a dark, deep, hot cave, from which I would emerge empty and strung out, yet high from the experience. This seemed both seductive and scary. The reality of it proved less dramatic but more life altering than I ever could have anticipated.

I quickly fell in love with this form of yoga. It became like brushing my teeth – part of my everyday regime. It was 90 minutes of allowing and encouraging my body to breathe, bend, balance and feel its strength in ways that invited my mind and heart to enter passageways that lead to new territory.

Facing the mirror in every class, I have become witness to the transformation of my body in ways that I am very proud of. One of the teachers often says, “If you can get through a Bikram Yoga class, you can get through anything.” And what that means to me is that each difficult class (and they are all hard for different reasons) can be used to symbolize one’s ability to face and cope with challenge. I am stronger and more resilient physically, mentally and emotionally than I ever gave myself credit for.  I have also come to realize that I am my own best friend and that I must love and respect myself at all times.

Recently, in class, the teacher told a story about a man who always cried during camel pose, and clearly gave himself permission to. I thought about this hub in our community where people from all different walks of life gather and practise. It’s where we are all rehearsing for the world outside. Where we train. Where we stumble and watch ourselves come to our feet again and balance. And balance. And breathe through the pain. This yoga is an invitation for us to work on and receive respite and recovery. It’s not a therapy group. It’s a yoga studio in Kitsilano.

Here, at yoga, where everyone falls silent, we struggle and surrender together. Some are suffering from physical injuries and, others, matters of the heart. We offer our energy to one another. In this space, we share: our energy, pain, hopes, goals and accomplishments, big and small. We are connected humbly by our humanness.

This yoga has helped me look at my imperfect internal architecture and appreciate its rich history. It has assisted me in building a happier, healthier home within myself. It has given me more acute awareness that we are all negotiating the trials and triumphs of life alone and together.

Lynn, I’m inspired by you. You were an adventuress. You danced in all the colours. You believed. I will, too. I will honour you.

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