Having doesn’t mean anything if you don’t know how to use it.

Bikram used to say this at least once every day at training.  In relation to various topics and at various times.  Mostly the meaning to me was obscure. 

But the saying came to me when I was ruminating over how to express what I realized today.  You see, I have been using yoga, using it in the wrong way.  I know, that sounds judgemental, so let me see if I can explain. 

My yoga practice in the past has been relatively smooth in that it was a given – I would practice, almost every day, no thought required.  It was almost automatic.  And my practice itself was fairly steady – sure I would have yoga truck and rock star classes, but the norm was, well, the norm.  That is to say, completely unlike my practice during this challenge…all over the map, painful, solid, loosey-goosey, fun, ugly – you name it I’ve been there in the last 73 days – except for steady, like I used to be.  This is the one thing I really want to gain from this challenge, my practice back to regular, steady, unfolding as it should. 

Ah, did you see that???  I said “should”.  We all know there is no should in yoga – no judgement, no expectation.  It is what it is – a yoga practice; body-mind connection.  For me, the practice fills me up by calming the mind with the breath, allowing me to shed layers to reveal and touch my own core.  Really that is what I had lost and wanted back with regular practice. 

But what I discovered today is that I expected yoga, in the form of the challenge, to be my knight in shining armour, sweeping me up and making everything “well” again.  The perfect potion for what ails me:  the extra 20lbs, my somewhat sad financial state, the absence of relationship…I was using yoga. 

The more I expected yoga to save me, the less it gave me.  Or rather the more of the opposite it gave me:  more yoga truck, more inconsistent practice, more mind games, more pain and less and less serenity, calmness and grounding. 

Many things are reflected back when we go in the room and face ourselves the mirror. 

~ The mind’s first step to self-awareness must be through the body. ~  

George Sheehan



Filed under Bikram 101

8 responses to “Having doesn’t mean anything if you don’t know how to use it.

  1. This is a beautiful, spot-on post! I, too, looked at the Challenge in the same way when I began and have come to the same realization.

    Thanks for expressing this so well!

  2. Yoga will work for you only if you let it. That’s how I read that post and I couldn’t agree more.
    With regards to the “face ourselves the mirror” line I noticed yesterday that I can now see my standing knee clear in the mirror. I wonder if it’s because my vision is getting better or if it’s because I’ve learned to really see myself.

  3. ahappyyogi

    Like Bikram said in Barcelona, He has the biggest swimmingpool in Beverly Hills but doesn’t know how to swim…

    Nothing will fix the finances, extra weight, a partner, etc, we have to fix that ourselves, the yoga is just a tool that will help us to be able to fix these things.

  4. oh my god how this post resonates with me! I found myself using the yoga too! I think that’s why my first 30 days were so rough in this challenge. After I made it through that, I’ve stopped “using yoga” stopped expecting it to fill those holes and melt those pounds that will only go away with due diligence to food and now I have a better relationship with yoga.
    Thank you for writing this!!!

    • “using yoga” – makes it sound like some kind of drug…and perhaps I was expecting a bit of a wonder drug effect from it. Letting it be yoga works so much better.
      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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