So now I've taken a total of three Bikram yoga classes and I think I'm getting the hang of it. I won't lie: there still comes a moment in each class when the heat is so intense that I wonder at it. I wonder why I'm doing it. This moment when it's equal parts glory and hell, delight and torture.
And then I take a deep breath and keep going.
Fact is that I'm constantly translating in Bikram class, taking the expressions used by these teachers who are new to me and turning their trademarked words into phrases that are more familiar. When I hear "lock the knee, lock the knee, lock the knee" (and yes, many times exhorted, chanted, repeatedly), I think muscle energy. When they call out the next pose in the sequence, I am pressing all four corners of my feet into the mat, working loops and spirals, and then stepping into it.
It's a crazy thing being an Anusari in Bikram-land. But really, I think I love it.
It's a crazy thing to suddenly do the same poses every time and so many of them with a rounded back. After the first class, the sorest part of me was along the center of my spine, middle of my back. I don't think I ever felt those muscles before in quite that way -- and all that rounded spine business was the source.
It's a crazy thing to move through what's becoming a routine sequence, with no pinnacle pose. And with no higher-falutin' language, no chanting, no Yoga Talk.
Like I said, I think I love it.
If nothing else, I know that I actually feel safe in these classes, that I think it might be the best way for me to return to practice after injury and surgery. And mostly when I say "safe," I mean that I am safe from my own tendencies and habits -- the tendency to go big even when I put myself at risk, my habit of dropping into a pose precisely because it's a habit, never mind listening for whether my left hip is complaining.
So I think it's good for me right now to be somewhere where nothing at all is the same. Sure, the asanas are fundamentally the same, but the entire approach, the environment, the culture is totally different. It's like travelling. I'm abroad.
I'm gonna stay in this funny country a while longer, maybe a few months, see how I feel.
I still feel like a yoga refugee though, which I think is a good thing. After the enormous disappointment of the Anusara-pocalypse of last year, I think it's good to be a tourist of many yogas for a while, to travel around, get my passport stamped, taste new things. And for a while remain a visitor to Bikram-land, where the climate is super hot and the locals are sweaty.