I’m lucky to have worked in companies with people and mentors that were sharp, caring, and successful – sharing with me both their expertise and their passion for their work. I knew that after Teacher Training, I could take the experience of expertise and passion and build a business around that here in San Jose. Only two obstacles- I had little money, and not much support on how to open a studio. Back then, the term “yoga” was still being referred to as “yogurt.” If you know me, you know I am comfortable with taking risks, but what you may not know is that faith is the source that allows me to override the vulnerability of risk.
1. Do this practice often!
2. Be open. Be smart.
On that same note, go to posture clinics or workshops offered at BYSJ or other credible studios. Make it a point to go to at least one or two a year! They will propel your practice onto a new plane. Attend, learn as much as you can, then play around with all that information for the next six months or so. Clinics and workshops are intended to give you personal corrections and tips. Bring your questions and prepare to demonstrate a pose to get corrections.
3. Be still. Lean back. Work hard. Do a double. WHAT?!
- Learn to be still after every posture. In other words: no wiping, water, or fussing.
- Take the savasanas – all of them, especially the last one.
- Be the first one in a pose and the last one out of a pose.
- Don’t give up EVER.
- Occasionally do a double and notice how warmed up the muscles are and how quiet the mind is.
- Play around and explore, only to refine and do less.
We use the mind to train the body, so also watch how your mind will surf everywhere only to come back distilled and crystal clear. People ask me if the mind ever shuts up. Does that critical voice disappear? Do judgments and anxieties subside? I heard a message once explaining how fear “moves.” Fears or anxieties change from one thing to another. This tells you those fears are circumstantial, and more significantly, temporary.
In my opinion, that “voice” doesn’t go away but it gets MUCH quieter. It may have something to say, but it becomes a piece-a very small piece-in the pie of information you hear. Let these thoughts stay thoughts that we/you are in control of. Then they don’t control you. If you trust the process, go the long haul, then you, like me, will have a quelled, sharp mind that gives you information sorted through your extreme awareness of all the filters you’ve carried since you were born.
In direct proportion to your awareness of your thoughts is the discretion of your heart! Your acceptance of what you learn about yourself feeds the soil of what it takes to love yourself. In my 20 years of Bikram Yoga, I’ve come to see that change, TRUE change, can’t happen until you first love who you are. I’ve seen this not only within myself, but with all of you members. I didn’t say ‘like,’ as that is different – there are plenty of things we may not like about ourselves. But the success of your living a life well-lived springs from the seed of self-love you carry.
My final tip: 4. Make yoga one of the most important things in your life! All else will rise, too!