The Best Life: Doing Bikram Yoga

As we age and have many responsibilities placed at our feet, we may find our health is compromised. Whether it is on-the –go eating, not exercising, and focusing on things that create more stress on our body, mind and emotions that will eventually affect our vitality, mood and overall ability to feel energized and have a sense of well-being.

Bikram yoga has been a tremendous gift to not only me, but other students that practice Bikram regularly.  It is the  opportunity to spend 90 minutes with no distractions, allowing ourselves to be present so that we can de-tox, de-stress and improve how we think, feel and behave; as a result, helping us to make better decisions for our lives overall.

The first time I met Bikram Choudhury was when I was cutting hair at Supercuts. He sat in my chair and said, “Shelley, why are you cutting hair, the best life in the world is doing Bikram yoga and being a yoga teacher.” I smiled and said okay. Two years later, I went to Bikram training and completed his “torture chamber” in 1999. Prior to that, I went to basic training for the Army Reserves and found Bikram training much more intense as far as commitment and opening the heart, mind and body in a deeper more meaningful way, and still creating discipline.

Bikram promises that with regular practice (3x’s a week minimum) you will receive maximum benefits. That is a very broad statement. What are the maximum benefits? Of course your health will improve. What creates the best life is having the tools that can help in all realms of your life and experiences, and that is some of the greatest benefits that a regular Bikram practice will offer.  Any great practice will give you not only what you want but what you need.

When starting your Bikram practice, what you need may appear to be very different than what you want. As you start to get deeper into your practice, you will find that what you need and want are in perfect alignment. For example, if you want to lose weight you may find first what you need is balance in the body: organs and systems, mind and emotions in order for the weight loss to be visible. So yes, you wanted weight loss, but what you needed was balance in the systems, mind and emotions  and then you achieved what you wanted: weight loss. What is discovered is the want and need is the same. The practice of yoga has the wisdom, scientific, and therapeutic abilities to treat the need and desire to be healthy. The mind and body want to be healthy and so the yoga is in perfect synergy with the mind, body and emotions: there is no delineation from that truth.

It has been almost 20 years since my first Bikram yoga class, and what comes to mind often is one of the things that Bikram taught us Bikram training: through the practice of yoga you will find yourself and discover determination, faith, patience, will power, and self control.

One of the most important things in life we have to understand is that good health is the key to enjoy life more fully. Bikram Choudhary ‘s teacher Bishnu Ghosh said, “Yoga maintains youth. It keeps the body full of vitality, immune to diseases, even at old, old age. Where medical science stops, there the science of yoga begins.”

I feel blessed to have met Bikram and be inspired to do and be a Bikram yoga teacher. Bikram you are right, “Doing Bikram yoga and teaching yoga is the best life.” I am eternally grateful to Bikram and the practice.

Yoga is the perfect vehicle for change of yourself. First by creating a strong and powerful body and mind. It is a starting point from which you can begin to realize your human spirit.

— Bikram Choudhury