Posted by: kerryalina | 10 April 2012

Challenge Class 49: It’s Only Yoga

There are so many different types of Bikram newbie:

  • The dramatically frustrated (who are usually very good at some other yoga/sport/activity and were expecting Bikram to be a breeze);
  • The panickers (who flee the room – or try to);
  • The stubborn stalwarts (who refuse to sit out a single pose);
  • The corpses (who are in Savasana by party time and don’t move for the rest of the class);
  • The faintly bemused friends-of-yogis (who’ve been dragged along with promises of “you’ll love it!”);
  • And a hundred other types and a thousand variations thereupon.

But my favourite has to be those who come in with a friend, maybe a little late, and giggle as they lay their mats down.  They chat to each other before the teacher walks in, unaware of the heavy silence surrounding them.  Then they throw themselves into postures with little skill but plenty of enthusiasm, falling out almost instantaneously.  They get confused and stare at the front row trying to figure out where they went wrong, whispering to each other when they see a particularly impressive execution.  When they nail something, or if they fail especially spectacularly, you can tell by the grin on their faces.  They don’t give up and they don’t get frustrated, because they’re loving the experience and having fun.

I’ll admit, I’m a little jealous.

I was not this type of beginner.  I was a corpse, with a hint of panicker.  It took me a long, long time to be anything but a corpse with a hint of panicker.  Actually… I’m probably not quite there yet.  But when I’m surrounded by these newbies, the ones who look at the yoga and see the joy in it, it lets me see through their eyes.  Just a little.  Just enough to smile to myself when I fall out of Standing Bow.  Just enough to grin back at them as I bend into Camel and their awestruck gaze catches my eye.  Just enough to giggle softly along with them when they’re caught upside down in Fixed Firm and can’t figure out how to get back up.  Just enough that I see the joy in the series for myself.  Just enough to realise that there’s never any reason to be upset or frustrated in class because there’s no reason to take everything so seriously… after all, it’s only yoga.



  1. i am most definitely a corpse! haha!

    • I’ve totally been spending too much time on Facebook – I just tried to figure out how to “like” your comment!

  2. YES! I have certainly found value in giggling and smiling at others in class. Sometimes people giggle or smile back at me, sometimes I think they’re confused at why I’m having such a fun time. From the beginning, I’ve felt that this series is ridiculous (in a good-humored way). I mean, look at what we’re doing (or *trying* to do) with our bodies! It’s all so crazy and amazing and wonderful. Love it.

  3. I think I was a panicking corpse :) I was NEVER going to leave that room, even if it killed me, but I was also going to spend the entire 90 minutes fantasizing about how great it would feel when the door opened. I did a lot of savasana my first couple classes…

    • Oh man, I totally would have left the room… if I’d thought it was at all possible to stand up without passing out ;)

  4. One of my favourite Bikram yoga teachers once said to my class “remember it’s not yoga perfect, it’s yoga practice.” Love it!

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