That was the mantra for tonight's class. I was in a pretty non-yogi mood when I got to class and was initially bummed that my usual teacher wasn't teaching.
Initially, I was even more bummed when a cloud of sickeningly sweet cologne set up his mat behind me--a newbie, as it turned out. Very self-righteous thoughts churned in my brain: "Someone shoulda told him to wash off that cologne. My tongue is starting to swell up, it stinks so much! And who wears dog tags to class?! They clink every time he moves! What's up with that beeping watch?! Oh, and the instructor sounds like Steve Martin. If I were a guy, would I be wild and crazy?" ...and on and on.
Akroyd/Martin on SNL
My mind continued churning through the first set of awkward, when I realized that chatter wasn't exactly conducive to a strong practice. And it had been a while since I'd had a really strong practice.
Then, a phrase one of my regular teachers is fond of saying popped into mind: "Bikram yoga is 90% Raja (mental/spiritual) and only 10% Hatha (physical)." I remember it sounding a little counter-intuitive the first time I heard it! How could such a physically intense form of yoga be about what goes on in your head?
It is, of course. From what I understand, Bikram has designed the series with a Western audience in mind. According to Bikram, we're just not ready for deeper meditation and other forms of yoga--we need the heat, the rapid-fire dialogue to quiet the mind and get us to a place where we can look our selves in the mirror and just see.
I figured that if the class was only 10% physical, my senses should only be 10% as distractable as they normally are ;-) I figured I could just let Mr. Smelly Dog Tag Jingle go. It was his first class, after all, and he finished without leaving the room! I figured, good for him.
I ended up having a great class. I kicked out in standing head-to-knee (a real toughy for me) and managed to stay in standing bow, chest way down, most of the first set and the whole second set. Most importantly, I was easy on myself when I didn't do the poses according to my expectations. I felt like for most of those 90 minutes, I succeeded in getting an infantile grip on my racing brain.
OK, OK, I will admit it. Occasionally, visions of Steve Martin danced in my head.
"You mean I'm gonna stay this color?!"