“I can’t take the heat” “I’m not flexible” “I need to get into shape first” “I’ll never be able to do that” “I can’t bend my knee” “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, I won’t I won’t I won’t” As a teacher we hear these words every single day. Before class students pull us aside and say I wanted to let you know I can’t ________ fill in the blank. Well, not with that attitude! The beautiful thing about this yoga in my opinion… is quite frankly… it doesn’t matter. Not to be mean or harsh, but really… it doesn’t matter what you can’t do. What matters is you try the right way to the best of your ability. Bikram Yoga has nothing to do with and is not concerned with what you can not do YET!!! The only thing you need to be concerned with is what you CAN do. Do everything you can to the best of your ability and you will receive the benefits of this yoga. Maybe all you can do that day is get to class. Maybe all you can do is breathe. Maybe all you can do is 10% of the posture. Great! Do that! Come back the next day and do that again!There is a universal law called the “Law of Praise and Increase”. If you want a dollar and have a dime and you curse the 90 cents you don’t have, you won’t get it. But if you praise the 10 cents you do have, more will come to you.This yoga is designed to heal the body. It is physical therapy. You can come when you are injured, sad, depressed, overweight, when you are not at the top of your game. When you leave class you will feel good. If you continue to come you will start to improve your body and your well-being.In my experience as a practitioner and a teacher of this yoga I have seen miracles happen. If you focus on the things you can do, pretty soon you can do things you never thought possible. If you spend your energy and attention on what you can’t do you get bored, frustrated, injured. But as you train your mind to focus on what you can do, you will continue to be able to do more and more.
One of most clear examples of this is Bikram Yoga Paradise Valley student Jeffery Derwallis. He fell from a 3 story building while serving in the Marine Corps. The result was a “burst fracture”of the 1st lumbar vertebra creating severe damaged to his spinal cord. Soon after complications arose and he became a “complete” paraplegic. It would have been easy for him and completely justified to come into this room and say I can’t do this yoga. I can’t balance on one leg, I can’t stand up, these postures are impossible. No one would have questioned him or blamed him if he felt this way.
That’s not what he did. Instead all he did was what he COULD do. In the early stages of the game we looked at postures one by one. Can you do this? Great! How about this? Not yet, okay well do this. When he started it was difficult for him to stay seated without falling backwards, the teacher handed him his feet during bow pose, he wasn’t able to sit down in fixed firm. In 2008 he began his first 60 day challenge! His circulation had improved so much that the veins started to become visible in his legs and feet. The numbness and pain in his hands was gone. And he lost 36 lbs.
Two years after he started the Yoga he was able to touch his hands palms together in Eagle and touch his head to the floor in Fixed Firm. In Feb 2011, he got on to his feet for Pada Hastasana! For the first time in 20 years his legs held his weight without any kind of brace. Little by little he built strength and vitality where for so long there was none. To quote him, “ Since starting my yoga practice my health has improved 1000% along with just about every aspect of my life. “
Let Jeff be our example. To quote Star Wars, “Your focus determines your reality.” So focus on the things you can do. Can you lock out in standing bow? No, okay can you grab your foot, can you stretch forward, and can you kick back? Great! Do that. Come back the next day and do that again. The object of yoga is not the posture. The object of yoga is you.
Can you control the government, the economy, your parents, your kids, your spouse, your boss, and your ten-year-old high school injury? NO!! What can you do? Can you show up to yoga? Can you breathe? Can you focus one spot? Can you lie still? Can you be kind to your neighbor? Can you smile at a stranger? Can you? Can you? Can you?
By Nicole Deacon of Bikram Yoga Paradise Valley