by D.D. Kelly
Four weeks** ago I started taking a Bikram Yoga class. Bikram Yoga is a practice whereby in a 90 minute class, the student performs a series of 26 yoga poses (always the same ones, in the same order), in a minimum room temp of 105 degrees (!) and 40% humidity (!). Riiiiight?? Crazy! So, why in the hell would anyone want to do this – Especially me, someone who has never even done Yoga before and doesn’t really exercise and is not “in shape”? Besides the many benefits that it provides to the body(Google it), there are several reasons why I chose Bikram Yoga:
- I wanted to meditate more. I felt that I was not disciplined enough to do structured, deliberate meditations.
- I wanted some exercise. I felt that I was not disciplined enough to do structured, deliberate exercise.
- I wanted to “get over” my aversion to heat and sweat, which I felt was holding me back from #2.
- Right in my inbox came an email from Amazon offering me 30 days of unlimited Bikram Yoga not far from my house for $25! Regular price is $125!
That last one was a no-brainer and, it seemed, a sign from above. So, off I went. I was terrified, mostly because I didn’t know what to expect or how I would react. I had talked to several people about it beforehand. Almost everyone said that I would feel dizzy, nauseous, and that it would be hard. But, I noticed, almost everyone also said they LOVED it! I held on to that and I went. I’ll take a pause here to accept your applause 🙂
Here is what I’ve learned so far:
- I have plenty of discipline needed to meditate. In fact, I do it daily without realizing it. I was under the impression that meditation meant sitting on your knees, still for 30 minutes and… meditating. I learned, instead, that you can meditate while moving your body. It’s about quieting the mind. It so happens I do my daily meditation in the mornings while making up the beds. Its only about ten minutes, but I feel a difference in my day when I don’t do it. So I know that it’s working for me.
- I have plenty of discipline to exercise regularly. Turns out, I like fluid, flowing-feeling exercise such as dance, walking, bike riding and well…yoga, instead of the more obviously push-yourself-to-the-limit ones like running on a treadmill or an elliptical or lifting weights. I also learned that where I exercise is important too. The gym is not aesthetically pleasing to me. That’s all.
- I LOVE the heat of the Yoga room and I enjoy the feeling of sweating. It feels like a cleansing. This one surprised me the most.
All this got me to thinking about the lies that I have been telling myself for YEARS about who I was. This simple act of pushing what I thought were my limitations has opened me to the possibility that perhaps my limitations are not what I think they are.
So I started examining all the other things that I’ve always “known” about myself and determining, really, if they were true. For example, for most of my life, I’ve told myself that I was fat and undesirable. Not true. Now when I look at myself in the mirror or in pictures, instead of thinking “eewww”, I think I’m quite lovely. Imagine that! I have also told myself that I was not smart enough or important enough to have anyone really listen to anything I might say, or care. In reality, a lot of people care about me and hear me. I have a voice.
Conversely, I told myself that I was not very competitive or jealous and that I was a very kind person. In truth, I am extremely competitive, I get super jealous at times and although I am mostly kind in deed, I am not always kind in thought. In short: I’m not who I thought I was.
Well. Damn. Quite the revelation! So, if I am not who I thought I was, then, who am I?
Figuring out who I wasn’t started me on the path to discovering who I was. I will say it has been kind of fun breaking down this false image that I had about myself. I started to experiment more. I learned more. I opened my mind more. I tried more.
But, of course, this all led me to ask more questions like “Why am I here? “ and “What am I supposed to be doing?” And I went on this “finding my purpose” quest. THAT was quite frustrating. I had a deep knowledge that I did have a specific purpose but what that was exactly, was eluding me. I searched high and low. I did all these “personality type” tests and thought and thought and thought about it! I asked friends and family. I asked Facebook, for crying out loud!
So, there I was, flopping about trying to “find” this elusive and deep purpose that I must have when suddenly, and not coincidentally, right after a Yoga class, it all came together. This moment is my purpose. Growth is my purpose. Radiance is my purpose. Healing is my purpose. Expression of Divine Love is my purpose. I just… remembered. Whatever form that it takes is my choosing. The purpose is not in the doing; it’s in the being.
Some people are lucky; they hold on to the memory of who they are throughout their lives. Therefore, they have no problem going about fulfilling their purpose. The rest of us forgot who we are. Something happened in our lives and we believed a lie. That lie created a struggle between who we think we are and who we know we are, deep inside. Often, the lie wins out. Until you discover it and replace it with Truth.
**Update: Since writing this post last year, I continue my regular Bikram yoga practice and it has become an integral part of my spiritual practice 🙂
Categories: Spirit Matters