Have you ever caught yourself at a party spouting out the benefits of Bikram Yoga? Or a friend calls you and tells you he threw out his back once again, or your favorite relative says she feels so stressed out she can barely make it through the day, and the only thing that is perfectly obvious to you is they must get to the hot room. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Get to the hot room NOW.
Maybe they ignore you thinking, “What kind of cult have you joined?” or maybe they give it a shot. They actually show up looking for the answers to better health. Wouldn’t it be great if they left 3 lbs. lighter? I mean they hear you sweat a LOT. It could be possible. Or what if that nagging pain in their shoulder would suddenly disappear? They have heard stories like that – didn’t someone post something like that to Facebook just the other day?
But when your friend/relative/special love shows up to class it could go either way. They could see immediately how incredible the class is and feel amazing afterwards. They might walk out of the studio ready to make this a practice that becomes part of their everyday. Or…. it could result in them wondering why they like you at all. Why in the heck did they listen to you? What is this? The sweat, the heat, the constant chatter of the teacher – you must be insane for coming to this room everyday and going through this.
I’ve seen it go both ways. Over the years I’ve consistently brought friends and family to the hot room hoping they would love it the way I do. I’ve found myself listing the benefits of this practice in social situations when I had promised to try and keep the “yoga talk” to a minimum before arriving. I’ve listened to friends talk about wishing they could find that perfect workout routine that they could stick to or discuss how their hips and knees are starting to nag after years of dancing in show after show and I mention they should give Bikram Yoga a try. I simply can’t help trying to share this yoga with everyone around me.
That’s why I became a teacher and I’m sure my fellow teachers agree. We think yoga is something that will improve the quality of most people’s lives and want to share that with as many people as we can. Yoga is not something meant for just certain people – it’s meant for everyone.
If you’ve been practicing for a while I’m sure you’ve tried to get friends and family in the hot room. It’s an inevitable part of the practice. You start to feel and look great, you have more energy, and old injuries are starting to dissipate with each class. People start commenting on how great you look as you may have lost weight, gained muscle tone, and found your smile. What are you doing?
Lately, I’ve had discussions with students who have tried to get their friends and family to give it a shot, but can’t get them to come. Wondering what to do or say, they wanted to know what I thought.
The thing is you can’t force anyone to go into a room that’s 105 degrees and 40% humidity. If they don’t want to try it, they’re not going to. And you have to realize that some people like to talk about their injuries, aches, and pains – it’s part of who they are. If they got better, what would that be like? Very scary for some.
That being said, there is one thing you can do that I have found is the most effective way to inspire others to give this practice a try. You can keep practicing. You can keep getting better physically, mentally, and emotionally with each class. As your life evolves into one that others desire, they will ask you how to start. They will start to become curious about the yoga. And then you will tell them to come to class with you.
Some people need just a little push and they are there, starting their very first set of Pranayama. For others, it might take years to get them in the hot room. Be patient. Be open. It’s always the friends and family I thought would never take the plunge that have surprised me and really made this yoga a part of their lives. And as they have started their practice they now are influencing a new set of people to give it a try. Never forget that your practice is nothing short of an inspiration.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
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