Thursday, February 18, 2016

Lock the knee, make it your mantra.

I don't see Jayme in class, rarely because I'm so focused on myself in the mirror. Isn't that what Bikram yoga is all about, an opened eyed 90-minute meditation? Isn't meditation at the very core of our yoga practice?  It's one of two reasons why Bikram yoga grabbed me right away, and I've been like a hungry fish on a hook ever since, sometimes feeling like I'm fighting way too hard to perform the poses rather than embrace yoga for how I found my way to it, a path of healing.

Yoga has helped me to be more fully engaged, invested in the world so that I can really enjoy the changing of seasons and how they reflect something that is so much grander than what is readily available to me, like how the earth rotates on its axis as it moves around the sun in our galaxy. I like to discover people that way too now, their insights and beauty that isn't always so prevalent on first impressions.

So if you are anything like me, it's important for us to remember our roots as we shoot for the moon in performing the poses, and in yoga, those roots are grounded in the breath, meditation, and the mantra.

Jayme, the owner and one of the teachers at the studio speaks of the mantra often with her dialogue of lock the knee, and she makes a big deal about it too. She doesn't just say lock the knee one time. Oh no, that's just not her way. She doesn't even say it twice and then move on.  She says it three times, "lock and the knee, lock the knee, lock the knee."  Then she says, "make it your mantra."

A mantra is a Sanskrit word that means, freeing the mind,
 and it involves repeating a phrase silently to yourself,
 often in concert with your breathing. 

So when Jayme tells us to lock the knee and make it our mantra, what she is really saying is to make our foundation everything, because when we lock the knee with strong, focused intention, we are essentially allowing for a burgeoning of understanding about ourselves to happen spontaneously, like how a child learns to go from birth to walking. There is no thinking in that process. In the same way, when our foundation is solid, growth happens. We can't help but tap into our innate intelligence, and those ancient, dormant neuro pathways get all fired up and before you know it, our world is transformed. 

So, I think we can all agree, that learning to create a solid, resilient foundation in the hot room is critical, and it behooves each of us to explore more about what it means to lock the knee, to make it our mantra.

I hope you will join me with my next two blogs......

In March, I will work with how our minds learn best, in a process called "chunking" for a more thorough understanding of what it means to lock the knee. Then in April, we will investigate the concept of yield to help relax enough in our foundation so that we don't act like a fish caught on a hook but rather more like a dolphin, free to jump and spin and sometimes, when we are so moved, even perform.


Maurene C. Merritt