Thursday, January 21, 2016

Namaste for a very Happy New Year

Happy New Year from Bikram Stoughton! There is so much I love about the new year, a time to settle back in from the whirlwind of activity created with the Holidays, and our New England weather invites such a retreat. There's something very satisfying for me about being all warm and cozy on the inside while, on the outside, it's gray, raw and cold. Of course, warm and cozy doesn't quite describe how one feels in a Bikram yoga studio.  On the contrary, it's hot and sweaty and so far from cozy that one can only wish at times that we had joined our fine feathered friends and flown south months ago! But there's a change that can happen when one is willing to put forth great effort towards a goal despite how hard it may seem, and that for me is at the heart of Bikram Yoga. The practice is more than just a challenging physical exercise but rather a systematic method for living a beautiful, righteous abundant life.

My name is Maurene Merritt and it gives me great pleasure, indeed, I am honored, to begin a New Year with a blog on Jayme's behalf in support of the entire community.

I have only been involved at the studio since October of this past year.  But when I came through the doors, I knew something felt very different, special, and it was indeed, confirmed to me when Jayme, the owner personally coached me for the New England Regional Championships. I was so blown away that even though she hardly knew me, and given her busy schedule, owning a studio and caring for her lovely family, that she took the time to really look my way and make recommendations that were seemingly small, insignificant like the way in which I raised my hand up in preparation for standing bow pulling pose.  I brought my hand out to the side then up rather then out in front which of course changed the whole dynamic of my shoulder joint so that I could better take the twist needed for the final expression of the pose.

 Speaking of subtlety, I'm reminded of a yoga teaching that I do my best to align with and that is,  what is subtle can bring about profound change.  According to yoga philosophy, it is when our senses are keenly sharp, and our mind is quietly still that we are able to shift our awareness to more subtle states of consciousness, which is the ultimate goal of our practice.  The physical poses were originally designed for that purpose, to help open and strengthen the body so that one could sit longer in meditation.

The poses, the notable 26 poses, Jayme will need to help me in that realm given that I am not a Bikram trained teacher.  However what I can bring to the plate is 350 hours of Hatha yoga in Anusara style and 150 hours of advanced training that had an emphasis on the developmental theory of movement which I found fascinating and continue to draw support from for my practice.  I also have 16 years of a steady, sustained meditation practice with the guidance of my teacher Swami Chidvilasananda.

Until Next time.....

Please join us for our next issue where we will focus on something that we hear so much from Ms. Jayme that has become like a mantra for me, at times banging around in my head like a headache, "lock the knee, lock the knee, lock the knee".  When I first heard it,  I had so many misgivings about it,  but proceeded forwarded cautiously optimistic anyway and of course, the more I listened, the more I understood, and the more I practiced, the stronger I became.  

Strength is my challenge area, not flexibility.  What is yours?  

Each of us usually leans more one way than the other. Very few of us come into this world perfectly balanced.  Our bodies are like our teeth that often need braces to help make them straighter.  The only difference between the teeth and our bodies is that we can live quite nicely without perfectly straight teeth.  However, one could argue that we cannot live to our fullest potential without a more aligned body. So let us all take heed and step boldly, deliberately into the hot room at Bikram Stoughton as much as possible in 2016.

Namaste for a very Happy New Year,