Hi. My name is Billy. I practiced in front of you this morning. I’m the guy with the oversized water bottle and undersized shorts.
I overheard you talking with the teacher after class. You said that at one point you felt overwhelmed and needed to take a break. And it made you feel embarrassed.
Just so you know, I’m a teacher too. In fact I own the studio. I knew it was your first ever Yoga class so I was keeping a bit of an eye on you.
You did better than you think.
I saw your determination in trying to grab your foot. I saw your progress by getting it the second time. I saw your concentration in figuring it out. I saw your patience in taking a break. I saw your strength in getting back up.
How you felt is perfectly normal. We all have our struggles, that’s why we are there. And we will be there again tomorrow.
I vote you join us. We can try to grab our feet and see what happens.
Studio Tip-After Class
The best compliment that you could ever give your Yoga Teacher…
When I was 20 I hiked the Appalachian Trail. At 2190 miles, it’s the longest hiking only footpath in the world. For 6 months I carried my possessions in a pack on my back and walked in the woods, from Georgia to Maine.
When I started the journey I carried a lot. I had a 52 pound backpack and 100 tons of grief from the loss of my sister Kristen.
I realized quickly that carrying such weight around would make every step even more difficult than it already was.
I had to really think deeply about what I needed to be holding onto.
So, I cut the handle off of my toothbrush in hopes of saving an ounce. I ripped the pages from my journal to save me from the weight of the binder. I let go of the disappointment in myself that I couldn’t save her.
Turns out letting go of things, even if they seem small and irrelevant, can add up and have a great impact on how we are able to move forward.
Ultimately I got the pack down to 45 pounds. But the weight off my shoulders from learning to let go was far greater.
Now my path is different. A 2000 sq ft hot yoga room.
Still though, it’s plenty of room to work on letting go.
I have Crohn’s Disease. I’ve had it my whole life. They say there’s no cure.
It’s a torturous thing, and those affected suffer in silence. Nobody likes to talk about digestive problems.
For the first 34 years of my life I couldn’t eat most fruits or vegetables. No nuts, grains, coffee, red meat, wheat, dairy. I was in and out of the hospital and had to constantly juggle medications and their various side effects.
It’s not like that anymore.
You see, 5 years ago I became symptom free. Diet independent. I can eat whatever I’d like. No meds. No docs. I can have spinach and peanut butter and apples for the first time in my life.
With Bikram Yoga, I changed my own physiology from the inside out. I have reclaimed my body. I have my life back.
It wasn’t easy. Or fast. But doable.
So now I practice 5 or 6 times a week so I can maintain my digestive health and enjoy all the wonderful foods life has to offer. So I can sit and have a coffee with my dog by my feet. So I have the choice.
I remember long ago giggling to myself when the teacher would inform us during Wind Removing Pose that we were massaging the ascending and descending colon.
I don’t giggle anymore.
If you know of someone with Crohn’s please don’t hesitate to share my story and contact info. There is no need to suffer, and no need for silence.