I remember like it was yesterday the first time I ever practiced Bikram yoga: a friend invited me after reading an article in a magazine. I only went to please her. She had read about how it was not your “regular” yoga class as it was performed in a heated room (40c) and apparently it was an intense 90 minutes of various exercises with exceptional transformative powers. Professional athletes like Andy Murray had started incorporating it into their training routines and gotten incredible results from it so she was pretty sold on it.
I of course, knew better: I’d tried yoga before and it just hadn’t done the trick for me. I was very into metaphysics as a teenager and generally curious about trying new exotic things especially to do with movement, so I had attended a class in my hometown at about 17 years old and I must say, it was quite an underwhelming experience to say the least. The teacher was easily in his late 50s (which to a 17 year old is equivalent to almost dead), myself and half a dozen middle aged people practiced some mild stretches and breathing exercises in his dark and stale 70’ style living room and at the end of class everyone was asked whether they were happy to welcome me into what felt like a weird sect. Of course I run away and never went back.
So when my friend asked me to accompany her, I had a pretty clear vision of what the experience was gonna turn out to be: maybe a slightly more modern and sweaty version of my adolescent memory but certainly nothing that would have fulfilled my then type A need for high intensity, full on, blasting experiences. Like I said, I went just to please her.
To say that it turned out to be different is an understatement: not only was it not ever remotely similar to my earlier experience but it was actually one of the most intense forms of physical exercise I had ever participated in. The moment I entered the hot and slightly smelly room, I started sweating. The postures were challenging in a very different way from anything I had ever done before: it wasn’t all just about stretching, there was quite a lot of strength involved and a huge deal of concentration and determination to sustain the hot and extremely humid environment. The 2L water bottle I had with me was empty half way through class. I was being challenged on levels I had never been challenged before, mentally and physically. I was immediately hooked: it felt like I had finally come home.
Fats forward 12 years and I can truly say now that my first Bikram class marked the beginning of a new and completely different life for me: a better life than I could have ever imagined. I’ve been a certified yoga teacher for 7 years, I’ve thought over 2,500 classes to over 15,000 students across 5 countries. It was Yoga that smashed open the door to my mind-body connection and created the space for me to become who I am today. It was yoga that planted the seed for wellness to become my full time career. It was Yoga that brought my soul mate, husband and business partner into my life. It has been one of the most transformative and rewarding journeys and I simply couldn’t have imagined the profound ripple effect that first class would have had on my life.
At times I wonder: What if I hadn’t said yes to my friend? What if I had remained stuck in what I thought I knew without giving a chance to what could be? How many times would the Universe have had to push and probe me before I finally gave in and followed the new path I was meant to be on?
Moral of the story: stay open, try new things regularly, never say never. It only takes a small new action to profoundly alter the course of your life for the better. The only way to get new results in life is to try new things: they won’t all work but they will ALL contribute to you in one way or another. They say that if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. I actually disagree: I believe that if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll progressively start getting less and less because we only grow outside of our comfort zone and if we’re not growing, we’re actually shrinking.
So my question to you is: what new actions are you going to take today? Not tomorrow, not next week, not on Monday. Today. You may have heard us say this before: NOW is the perfect time to #maketheshift to your most fit, healthy and confident self, so what are you waiting for?