So, I recently did Bikram yoga for the first time ever, and may I just say: Holy. [Sweaty.] Hell.
It was a great workout, to be sure, and I probably released every last toxin in my body during that 90 minutes. It wasn’t pretty, I looked mostly like a moron trying to grab hold of my own slippery limbs (but seriously, how do people hold on??), and I was as inflexible and ungraceful as I’ve ever been, but I’m glad I did it. And I’ll do it again (except, like, not for a few days. Come on, now.)
My parents, siblings, friends, and the poor souls in that Bikram studio can attest that I’m no athlete. Whatever the opposite of an athlete is, in fact, probably fits the bill. Coordination? Um, I’ve accidentally hit a lot of people in the face when trying to throw things. Grace? I can’t do a cartwheel. Flexibility? I failed the sit-and-reach every single year from elementary to high school.
I’ve resisted exercise for a loonnnnnng time, because I just … never liked it, and wasn’t good at it. I’d much rather be eating cheese, drinking wine, and watching Downton Abbey than forcibly putting myself through elective pain to do an activity I don’t even like in the first place.
I could, and have in the past, enjoyed sitting around and analyzing the whys and all of the deep blocks around this particular resistance. That’s what I like doing as a coach, after all. But even that, for the most part, became more of an object of procrastination than something truly useful.
The profound mantra I’m choosing to operate on now when it comes to my block around exercise is: “Whatever. Get over yourself.” (Next Deepak Chopra, comin’ through.)
I love health and wellness. I drink green smoothies almost every day. I take really life-altering health products every day from a wellness brand that I love. I’m obsessive about going outside and making sure my dog gets to run and play multiple times a day. I stopped eating gluten this past summer and have seen great results.
To ignore exercise, or find excuses not to do it, just because you don’t love it or think you won’t be good at is, is pretty freaking lame. And hypocritical. And not very spiritual or coach-like.
So … whatever. Get over yourself. Go to Bikram. Try it out. See what happens.
And, most importantly: set the bar really low.
If you’re going to try to get yourself out of a pattern or rut you’ve been in for years, it’s probably best not to go from zero to “Bikram 5 times a week plus strength training 3 times a week.” That’s a recipe for failure, every time.
Truly, the best habits are begun when you start with something really, really achievable and then let the momentum build.
My lofty aim for Bikram? “Don’t pass out.” And even more of a stretch: “Don’t leave the room. Don’t sit down.”
And my goal? Achieved!
I lived! I stayed conscious! I didn’t vacate the room or sit down when I wasn’t supposed to. And for right now, that’s going to be a win. Eventually, maybe a win will look like, “Being flexible enough to not need to modify any postures,” or “Doing a 30-day Bikram challenge,” but not now, and not for a long time.
You don’t have to be good at something to get value out of it. You don’t have to look good doing something to have a great experience. You don’t have to find the perfect routine or regimen before you dive in. And you don’t have to set huge, out-of-this-world goals to feel awesome about what you achieved. If your bar for “awesome” can be as low as “not being unconscious,” then why not set the bar really low?
Whatever. Get over yourself. Just … stop avoiding it.
Rachel (& Kristen)
LOVE Bikram. I just got a package for the Arlington studio. Love that it teaches you to ACCEPT the body you have today. Because it’ll be different every time. But you DO see improvement every time you go, (when going fairly consistently). Namaste!
No kidding, Anna — every day in Bikram is a totally different experience! Glad to meet another Bikram fan! It’s all about self-acceptance and growth. Namaste 🙂