Easy as ABC

By Niki Hayes "Just try the right way."

"Give it a try."

"All you have to do is try."

If you have ever taken a Bikram Yoga class you have heard these statements. The teachers repeatedly encouraging their students to try the posture the right way, leaving little to no room for options or choices. But in a world of options, (tall, grande, venti, non-fat, skinny, soy, vanilla, caramel, light foam, extra hot, etc) it can be difficult to comprehend the idea of just one option. Understanding the reasoning behind Bikram’s strict policy of “the right way is the hard way” can help you to understand the importance of trying the next time you step on your mat.

There will always be things in this life that are a challenge, especially in the beginning stages. But instead of taking a different route or option or doing an "alternate pose", Bikram encourages everyone to just try the posture. The modification comes with the depth, not the form. As you learn the postures correctly from the very beginning stages of the posture, your depth will slowly come over time. To change and modify the form of the posture in the beginning is just doing injustice for your body and your mind in the long run. Who wants to re-learn the posture after 6 months of thinking they are doing it right?!?! No one.

Think of when a child is learning their ABC's. They will most likely write the "C" backwards a few times. But with gentle encouragement from their teacher and parents and their own focus and determination they will slowly start to write the "C" the right way. But imagine if no one told the child they were writing the "C" wrong and then they get to 4th grade and start learning cursive. The backwards "C" will become an "O" and now they have a problem. They will return to their teacher and parents, and say, "Why didn't you tell me I was writing the "C" backwards?!?!"

It's the same with your yoga! Learning the right way from the beginning can be difficult and frustrating, but over time it will benefit your body and your mind much more than taking short cuts. So if you can’t “lock your knee” or “focus one spot in the front mirror” or “keep a nice, tight grip” yet, don’t worry. Just keep trying!

Bikram says, “Let me encourage you the way I encourage all my students. Can't do a particular yoga posture today? If you persist in trying the right way, a day will come when you can. Don't cheat or change the posture to conform to your individual weaknesses. If you do, the real benefit goes out the window. Would you rather suffer for 90 minutes or 90 years? The right way is the hard way, and it's up to you to make it work. Remember: It's never too late, it's never too bad, and you're never too old or too sick to start from scratch once again."