19 Years A Yogi: Written Reflection – January 2014

In my “sit” this morning, I went into a dream/reverie state. I was at my upcoming luncheon to note my 10 years of celebrating practicing Bikram Yoga. (Over the past few weeks, I’ve been planning that celebration and hopefully will be putting the finishing touches on the plans this afternoon after I talk with the manager at Guapo’s in Bethesda.)  At the luncheon, I was providing my comments and I began re-tell my story of how I got to Bikram Yoga.  As part of that story, I talked about how I discovered I was “attached” to teachers and how I gave up my “attachment”. A key part of my narrative was about my first encounter with Bikram (Choudhury) himself and how much I thought he was an “asshole” and I still think that to some extent, unfortunately.

As my narrative unfolded, I talked about separating the man from the practice and the scared duty we have as teachers and an individuals to strive to maintain healthy boundaries.

Other traditions have survived serious indiscretions of their founder and practitioners and I think that Bikram Yoga will survive as an “institution” and as a “practice”. Unfortunately, presidents and priests and pastors and practitioners run afoul of legal and moral principles.

When I separate the person from the practice, I see lots of positive contributions of “Bikram Yoga”. I think of all the businesses and business owners it created. And with the creation of business and business owners, there is the creation of jobs.  There is “Bikram Yoga Economy” or “Economic Ecosystem” that is vibrant and dynamic. At some point, someone will document this economy or ecosystem and highlight its contribution to the “new economy” that is unfolding.

Image by Bikram Yoga - Waverley

When I separate the person from the practice, I see lots of people who have fixed their hips, their hamstrings, their hearts and their heads as a result of the practice. Some days when I roll into the study and look around at my fellow practitioners, I don’t see a “whole body” in the room, but there we are pulling and stretching and healing and strengthening our body/minds.

When I separate the person from the practice, I see the person who accidentally discovers Bikram Yoga and that young man or women devotes themselves to the practice and go on to become a very successful and admired teacher and then goes on to be very successful studio owner and entrepreneur.

When I separate the person from the practice, I see myself who for ten years has reaped the benefits of a consistent practice. While I am no where near to the full expression of the poses that I would like to be, I’ve gotten the insight and have learned what its means to have a practice and to practice where I am. Last summer after I fell off my bike and fractured my left elbow, there was no doubt that the place to heal was in a Bikram Yoga Studio. So between Tenleytown and Takoma Park, I logged in 71 classes in 75 days.  That was my physical therapy.

I was telling “stories.”

  • There is the story about when we would have these 30-day challenges. People would complete the challenge and then disappear from the studio.
  • There is the story about my “teacher attachment” the first Regina and then to Frankie and then how I gave up all “attachment to teachers”.
  • There are the stories about how one’s time in the yoga studio ended up as being part of a justification for a divorce.
  • There are the stories about Elaine learning how to be a “boss” and how she would take the teachers out into the stairwell and sit them down “to talk to them”.
  • There are the stories about all the beat up bodies that have been healed by practicing Bikram Yoga.
  • There are the stories about the challenges about being one of the few men in studio. How it felt like I was practicing in the “women’s room”.
  • There are the stories about the influx of “college students” and how It felts like I was practicing in the “children’s room”.

This was the first time that I had such a vivid and mindful dream/reverie in a “sit” and how I was able to stay with and in and observe the dream/reverie until it reached its natural conclusion.

This journal entry will provide the basis of one of “my reflection pieces”.

One of the things that I’ve been thinking about and it was one of the things that I included in my “story telling” is that in ten years when I hold my 20th anniversary I will be 76 years old. At one point, there was a group of us or at least two of us that indicated that we were practicing now so that we could still be practicing in our 80s. Ten years ago that sounded like a long way off. Today, it sounds eerily close.

So I guess I need to get started on my next 10-year challenge.


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