“The hardest part is the 90 minutes of concentration. Instead of running, you must concentrate on your pose despite feeling frustrated as your hands slip from the sweat trying to balance on one leg. This discipline teaches you how to control your mind in the classroom. Once you learn to control your mind, you can control your emotions. The result is that you won’t have extreme reactions to anything,” states Lynn, knowledgeable Senior Bikram Yoga Instructor, during a recent posture clinic at BYSJ. “The Bikram Yoga environment is intended to push our buttons. Bikram calls our buttons, our “bullets.”  In the yoga room, we become bulletproof. Nothing steals our peace,” Lynn added. 

The Bikram environment is also intended to reveal and strengthen weak parts of the body. “The most important things our bodies need to heal are oxygen, water, and circulation. The Bikram Yoga environment improves these weak areas with the stimulation of blood flow into every area of the body. Cancer cannot live in oxygen,” says Lynn. We become bullet-proof to heart attacks, diseases and other chronic ailments. Nothing steals our overall health. Lynn continues “when postures are hard, they are therapeutic. When it becomes easy, it is prevention. Both have great value.”   

A daily yoga practice is so important. It keeps the mind at ease. It keeps the body renewing. While not evident at first, regular practitioners become equipped to deal with unexpected situations.   

About a month ago, I had my appendix removed. Talk about unexpected. I am not a sick person but I just knew something was wrong. I felt drained of energy. Treatment from my homeopathic doctor only provided minimal relief. It was time to look deeper so I went to a doctor in Palo Alto and was diagnosed with acute appendicitis! Having no choice, off I went to Stanford and to the OR for a laparoscopic procedure. Within 24 hours, I was home. 

At Stanford, you don’t just have one doctor – you have dozens! Each of them to my delight was fully aware of yoga and its benefits. “Michele, I love my job here at Stanford. I teach at Stanford and travel with National Geographic bringing medicine to those in need around the globe. As a doctor, I can help cure, but many illnesses I see can be prevented and yoga helps with prevention.” Despite not wanting to be at the hospital at all, I found that it was terrific to see the world of yoga and the world of western medicine come together. It was “east meets west,” each with their version of modern wellness. How thankful I am to the doctor who performed my simple surgery, and how grateful I am to the yoga for making this experience so uncomplicated. Within a few days, I was back at yoga with little disruption to my life. My recovery was quick because the yoga had prepared me, mentally and physically, for this unanticipated situation. I was virtually appendicitis-proof. You are too. 

So, “hit your pose” as I can hear Lynn say. Hold. Get maximum benefits holding in that tough pose. Hold as long as you can. Create that pressure to ease that tension that’s really hurting you and once you’re out of the pose (which only lasts a couple of seconds) let the blood flow. Better yet, let the blood RUSH. Feel it. All of it. Become sensitive to your body. Listen. Go deep. Let it talk to you. The body has amazing healing capabilities. The body wants to be whole and healthy. So, if something comes up for you, like it did for me, you will be ready to deal with it accordingly. And, it’s not too late to get started. After all, “never too old, never to sick, never too late to do yoga and start from scratch once again” – Bikram’s Bullet-Proof Philosophy!