A few years ago, I tried yoga. Several times and types. I had this inner belief it was good for me and I should learn how to do it. Learn with teacher and then become this amazing person who could do any kind of posture, anywhere, with noise around, be zen and still… What a nice goal to reach, while I was always restless, fighting what was, what could be, what have been.
I was always getting in my own way. It was too easy, too difficult, I didn’t have enough balance to even start, I was too fat, it was too far away, it was too cold, it was too late… Well, you name it.
Then I became pregnant and thought it was the best sport I could ever practice. So I bought the book, the outfit, the mat, took a few classes which I loved, until pregnancy diabetes showed up and my doctor told me I needed exercise which would bring sweat on my forehead every time, 5 days out of 7. Bye bye yoga… I really tried !!
A few years later rheumatoid arthritis came into my life. One of those realities so painful that you cannot fight it for too long. It is there, it is not going away, and there’s no cure.
Then came the search for the magic pill – happily it didn’t take me long to realize there was no magic pill. I was the only one who could change the reality, with all I had. I then started a long trajectory to look for alternative approaches with lots of iterations, and then I watched Clint Paddison Ted Talk. That’s how Bikram Yoga entered my life.
There is zero doubt for me: Bikram Yoga is the best sport I can do with rheumatoid arthritis. It is amazing the mobility I gained and how it helped me in my worse fights, like tapering prednisone.
I do run away from anything dogmatic in life … except Bikram Yoga. I need this routine, this demanding level my studio ask from its students, the stillness, the silence, the focus, the “you can do more” attitude.
I’m lucky enough to enjoy Bikram Yoga – Clint Paddison doesn’t enjoy any of his classes, after several intensive years… But then comes the dependence. I need the heat of my studio, and this means a 3h window during which I can do nothing else (biking to the studio, class, shower, biking back). I felt dependent of the stamina each teacher brings in the class (solved, I can now be at my maximum every single class). It became a must to be there several ties a week.
I could survive a few weeks holidays without Bikram Yoga studio by using a class on youtube – but I had this feeling it was barely good enough…
Then, all yoga studio closed….. it took me 3 weeks. 3 weeks to debate -is it even worth trying? I cannot make the temperature anywhere near what is needed… I cannot set apart 90 min …and less than 90 min is nothing – yeah, even 60 ! I might as well resume running – which I did. But…. my spine became so bad , my joints did hurt so much, there is no other way, I cannot ignore this.
I started with something very “informal” : an unorthodox musical playlist, and only my memory to guide me through the 26 postures. And to my big surprise, it worked…. I can hear my favorite teacher giving me advice, I can remember the energy of a particular lesson (the silent lesson being a highlight !) , I can concentrate and go in my body in a few minutes – and completely ignore my son making faces to see if I will laugh and loose balance in eagle pose…. I am that cool person having her own yoga practice, I found my groove.
Don’t get me wrong, this is nowhere enough to battle RA pain. But this is the perfect way not to loose an opportunity to feel better (mentally and physically) for those days I cannot commit to a virtual class, live or replay, for those days I know I will have to stop my practice and sing a lullaby or talk about how Mario is the best hero of all times….
And, it’s mine. This and my travel yoga mat, is all need to know I’ll be OK, and this is big.