Guess who got stuck in another snowstorm again? Yep, me. Only this time I got stuck in fabulous Las Vegas!
Well, let’s be honest, Las Vegas is fabulous at first. But once you hit day 5,267 it starts to get a tad old and you kinda want to come home. But, all things considered, this wasn’t like the time I got stranded in Dallas. This time, I was stranded in the land of sunshine while my neck of the woods got walloped by snow. My biggest problem was having to go buy a new pair of shorts so I could have something to wear while the Bellagio laundered my clothes.
While all my yogi buddies were at home in the snow, I skipped on down to the local Bikram Yoga studio. If you are ever in Las Vegas you have to go there. It is a fabulous studio, and at least 15 people will tell you it is a hot studio.
What the heck? I know it’s a hot studio, right? I’m not new here.
No….no….no….I visit studios several times a year and never (let me stress NEVER) have I walked into a room and immediately looked to see where the fans were so I could set up for maximum fanage. I don’t know how to explain it except to say this:
Have you practiced at Jim Kallett’s studio in San Diego? It is definitely on par with the heat and may even be hotter.
But don’t let that deter you. In fact, if you go to the Las Vegas studio they will warn you about the heat before you even get in the room. So just go.
When I checked in, the woman at the front desk told me I was going to love my teacher, and she was right. I lucked out big time and landed the wonderful, fabulous John Salvatore.
John came over and introduced himself to me before class started (I was camped out on a couch in the lobby due to the fact that the room was, in fact, very hot) and chatted me up a bit. I love when instructors make themselves accessible. That doesn’t happen in every studio, and I think it matters. John warned me the room was hot. He asked me to just focus on staying in the room.
Do you know what it’s like to have been practicing for 5 days a week for two years and then be told that your goal is to stay in the room? It’s a good thing is what it is. It is humbling.
My initial reaction to all this was, “I have a practice. I am not new. I go all the time. You don’t know me.” I let those thoughts float right through my head and on out of my brain. I replaced them with, “This is going to be an experience. I need to go in and have it. Whatever IT is.”
When class started, it became clear that John was going to emphasize stillness – stillness between sets/postures. Stillness if you are not in the posture. Stillness while in the posture. Just be still! 🙂
Guess who is the Queen of Fidgeting? Me! I have a gold medal in fidgeting during my Bikram classes, but I quickly set two goals for myself:
(a) John will never know I am the Queen of Fidgeting.
(b) I am not going to fidget even if it means I fall over and die.
And then I proceeded to kill myself – in a good Bikram way. I am the worst in half-moon when it comes to fidgeting, but I kept it together. I kept my arms up and back – and still. So very, very still. Between postures I was still. When I sat out (which happened a lot) I was still. Was I perfect? Heck no. Was I really, really working my butt off on the stillness? You bet I was.
When I had to sit out postures, I used it as an opportunity to focus on my stillness and breath. I will often focus on my breath, but I don’t think I do a good job of focusing on stillness if I sit out a posture. John got me engaged in my practice in a whole new way. When I wasn’t in a posture I was, so to speak, in a posture of stillness. It was amazing.
The next day I was so sore because I had actually held the postures in stillness in a way that was completely new for me and my body (thanks John!). But I left Vegas (three days late) with a new appreciation for stillness and a new way to engage with my practice when I am not in the postures.