Bikram yoga makes you aware of your body (and the bodies around you) in both a wonderful and slightly terrifying way. I have spend most of the first week of my 30 day challenge trying ever so hard to focus on my own muscles in the mirror, but hopelessly distracted watching the more experienced yogis in the class.
My wobbles as I attempt to relax into Utkatasana (the aptly named Awkward pose) or suck in my belly during Garurasana (Eagle pose) are a stark contrast to the serene-faced contortionists around me.
I have also noticed that what Buddhists would call my ‘monkey mind’ (the mind that leaps erratically from thought to thought without ever quieting down and shutting the hell up) becomes even more frenzied during these moments. Pair that with my relative inexperience and ever-shifting gaze and it’s no wonder I can’t always focus enough to hold my pose.
I have also decided that it is impossible to achieve a true, still pose while harbouring even the slightest superficial thought. The second I worry that my thighs are too big, or my belly is too round, or that I’ll never be as lithe and lean as the girl in the front row with the killer abs, the monkey mind howls even more insistently and my body and pose weaken.
My aim for the rest of my thirty day challenge is to try to quiet my mind – I would say give the monkey a banana, but that sounds like a euphemism for something else. I also need to be kinder to my reflection and focus more on what my body can do than simply how it looks.