Bikram yoga builds character using well-tested principles. William James outlined many of these ideas as early as 1877 in his essay Habit.
When you are trying to lead a decent life, you want to make your nervous system your ally and not your enemy. You want to engrave certain habits so deep that they will become natural and instinctual.
‘Asceticism of this sort is like the insurance which a man pays on his house of goods. The tax does him no good at the time. But if the fire does come, his having paid it will be his salvation from ruin.’
Practice small acts of self-control: follow the rules of etiquette when sitting at the table. If you are at home, keep everything tidy. Practice the small outward disciplines.
‘Be ascetic and heroic in little unnecessary points. Do something every day or two for no other reason than that you would rather not. So that when the hour of dire need draws near, it will not find you unnerved and untrained to stand the test.’ -William James
How to apply these time-tested principles in your yoga practice?
The most powerful way to fight…is by living in a loving way. It’s how you do the jobs you do, whether it’s a prestigious job or not.
No shortcuts, no six-week programs, no flashy Instagram asanas. This is an internal practice. A way of life. Everything else is a circus that doesn’t serve you.
Excerpted from Habit by William James and The Road to Character by David Brooks