Postcards From The Heat

Try the Right way

4 Comments 23 May 2011

One of my Twitter followers recently posted a Bikramism I’d never heard: “If you try the right way, you get it today or tomorrow. If you try the wrong way, you never get it in a million years.” “It” being not the full expression of the pose but the grace of striving to implement its beauty, of paying homage to the journey, not the destination. And getting the stretch you are meant to get, of course.

I pondered this in the light of my own habit of moving into postures at a snail’s pace. I think I suffer obsessive-complusive-yoga disorder—OC(Y)D—because I must align every limb, big and small, every finger and toe before I move more deeply into a pose. Those details that seem picayune to people, they ring true for me, they seem right, they help me towards fuller expressions of the poses. Obesiance to them is a way of respecting the practice—and is the route to full expression, as well as getting all the benefits.

Sorry if I sound sanctimonious. But god—or whatever—is really and truly—scout’s honor—in the details. Preparing for balancing stick, for example, by arching the upper torso backwards, reaching toward the ceiling, and pointing the rising toe ensures a unity from toes to fingers that removes the difficulty and mystery from the pose and advances you toward a full parallel.

Yet I rarely see people heeding these instructions, which seem irrelevant to the wow of parallel. They thrust legs backwards with bent knees, curl their spines downwards so that their heads weigh too much, and then they get frustrated. They seem to believe the pose is about parallel. It’s not. It’s about conquering the force of gravity, one degree at a time. It’s not about the end but about the means. Strength comes from the trying.

Trying the right way is the way to go. It prevents injuries, it conditions you for fuller expressions of the postures, and it is key to the will-less-ness that is the essence of our subjegation to our bodies and to fate.
Namaste,

Yoga Lily

BIkram Yoga NYC - who has written 198 posts on Postcards From The Heat.

Yoga Lily has been practicing intensively in our studios for more than three years. She was inspired to begin this blog by the myriad benefits the yoga brings her. Yoga Lily lives in Manhattan with her two daughters, an oversized German Shepherd, and a Russian Blue cat.

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4 Comments so far

  1. SylviaG. says:

    You don´t sound sanctimonious at all. God is everywhere including the details :) …and that´s where the Magic always happens, (or will happen eventually) which is ignored by many people/practicioners. Totally agree with you about balancing stick. Also, e.g. in standing head to knee more than 90% of the people do NOT flex the foot and do NOT kick, they are just holding the foot and sitting in their hips and then they are surprised why “nothing” is happening in the posture, or why they fall out (ok, falling out of this has many reasons out of which one I believe is lack of kicking) SHTK is nothing without kicking (from stage 2+). Or in awkward 2nd part, really contracting the abs and the upper body eases the tension from your legs…and these are not even “toe-like-details”,yet, they are ignored.
    I like to say that strength comes from acceptance not ignorance, but in the end of the day, it may just well be a kind of paraphrasing of what you say, that it comes from the trying.
    Either way, the right way is always the hard way, but that´s the only way.
    namaste

  2. Heather says:

    Lily
    You are so right!! I have written on my calendar a shortened form of Bikram’s quote found on his 90-minute CD set: “Do little but right.” (I am on a mission to do yoga every day and have written this to remind me of the importance of the little-by-little progress that makes ALL the difference.) I was just at a class this AM and was rather distracted by a couple of students who paid no attention to the beauty of the poses. It was as if they saw the 90 minutes as just an exercise class. There is so much more!!
    Thank you. Coincidental.
    Heather

  3. Hi Heather. Good luck with your goal of daily. I once did 54 days consecutively. Once you get on a roll, it’s not that hard to keep life out of the way! Namaste! YL

  4. Hi Sylvia. I love what you wrote — “strength comes from acceptance not ignorance.” One of my very favorite teachers said the other day, “manage your energy in the posture” and i think you are saying what she was –that you really have to know where you are and be where you are. It’s not “just exercise” as Heather wrote in her comment. It’s really a way of having to cope with the difficult. Namaste! YL


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Bikram Yoga NYC opened its doors in August 1999 and became Manhattan's first Bikram Yoga Studio! Owners Donna Rubin and Jennifer Lobo had both been avid practitioners of Bikram Yoga in other cities and knew that no city needed Bikram Yoga more than New York!

Our blogger, Yoga Lily has been practicing intensively in our studios for more than two years. She was inspired to begin this blog by the myriad benefits the yoga brings her. Yoga Lily lives in Manhattan with her two daughters, an oversized German Shepherd, and a Russian Blue cat.

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