Photo by my talented cousin and wedding photographer, Joelle.
It's summer. Have you noticed?!
The heat is hotter. The days are longer. The need for fruit smoothies, ice-cold coffee, and kick-ass AC to allow cuddling is exponentially greater. And of course, we hate even more to be inside at work all day (especially in front of screens, ew, yuck, blah, I'm thinking it even as I type this!) when the sun is shining and the breeze is blowing.
It's summer, which means we need the yoga even more! And of course, sometimes it's so hot and humid out that we enter the Hot Box and wonder, Is the heat on in here? Hey, sounds ridiculous, but it's happened to me already! Thanks, Chicagoland, for your crazy stifling temps. You make me crave the weather in the Torture Chamber even more than I already do. And yes, you can get addicted to that 105-degree/ 40% humidity setting...I speak from experience on that front, too!
As my wonderful studio director mentioned as he led class today, "Hey, the weather is perfect in here." All the happy, smiling yogi faces couldn't have agreed more!
Alright, anyway, weather forecasts aside...back to the topic at hand: summer. It's hot, you're sweaty already, and yet more often than not this seems like an excuse not to get your ass to class. Chances are, too, you've actually got more time on your hands -- you're a student and the pressure's off, you're just working part time, and/or you're well-settled in your career and have some vacation time to enjoy.
But maybe you're busy with other DIY house fix-up projects, dinners with friends, and late-night conversations on the porch as the sun sets... and for those reasons you're lacking in the sleep department, feeling a bit too lethargic to make it to class, and subsequently your Bikram practice is suffering.
Perhaps, like some yogis I know, you've got a worse attendance record for class during the hottest months of the year than in the dead of winter, or the middle of spring or fall.
Well, fellow summer lazy yogis, I feel you!
If it's not a lack of time or energy, it's the fact that you're spending more time away from your home studio. The time it takes to plan a wedding (if you're like me!) Or simply the fact that you've decided to give yourself an all-around break, and that includes giving up anything that requires 100% exertion (which, hello!, obviously excludes Bikram yoga).
But wait a minute. Let's get back to the basics of the practice, which was carefully designed to combat plateaus such as this.
Bikram says, 100% exertion earns you 100% relaxation. And hey, news flash! Like most things Bikram says, this isn't just true inside the hot room. It's true in life, too.
Yep, that's right. That means you should be -- to every degree possible -- hauling your bum to Bikram and sweating it out in the 26-asana series in order to earn your brownie points, your extra naps, your Ben and Jerry's late-night indulgence.
Perhaps I haven't convinced you on theory alone that the effort is worth the reward if you decide to make summer your best yoga season of the year. Here are a few other considerations:
- Um, beach bodies anyone? Reason #1 you should consider earning yourself that genuine glow (purely from the yoga, not over-tanning yourself in the sun, my friends!) and the toned muscles, strength, and inner confidence that Bikram provides.
- Your sweat stinks less the more you come. Weird, yes, but also true!
- Flexibility. Is it ever really a bad thing? Consider this: you beef up your physical and mental capacity to go with the flow when you commit to the Hot Box.
- Make new friends! Just today I chatted it up with an older lady who's been coming for years who completely cured her injured hip by doing the yoga. Oh, and an awesome friend who's been practicing for three years complimented my half moon pose. I beamed! I blushed! I beamed again!
- OK, so this is applicable to any time of the year...but you are going to change your life, inside and out, bones to skin, by committing to the yoga. Your body changes for the better, your mind becomes more focused for the better, you are more able to work through personal changes. It's honestly, seriously, significantly ALL for the better!
- More laughs. Where else are you going to witness random womens' underwear floatingaround the room, a group of people who truly understand the meaning of "wind-removing" pose, or fellow yogis who give themselves water bottle showers in the middle of class?! Yogis are the best. Bikram yogis are beyond the best. Talk about patience, and a genuine sense of humor!
- Get inspired by those around you, while at the same time remembering thatwhere you are right now is perfect. Bikram is proud of you for showing up and doing the best you can, not pretending like you need to be exactly where your neighbor is. Heck, I am proud of you for showing up and giving it your all despite the rest of the room, and I haven't even met you (yet?). That's the yoga! You figure out that you're a warrior, not a baby, and you go from there. Let the rest settle. Better yet: forget the rest!
Convinced yet? Alright, good. See you tomorrow for a double! :)