Often after class, you may hear a new student put themselves down saying they are not “good” at yoga, that they’re not flexible. They compare themselves to others, saying, “you’re so good at this.” There is no “good” or “bad” in yoga, it is a practice. Someone may demonstrate the postures in a more refined way, but rest assured they did not walk into the studio the first time doing so. They are students, implementing instruction, and putting them into use on a regular basis.
Just like meditation, it’s not a performance, it is something you work at to improve yourself. You wouldn’t say someone is really good at oral hygiene, rather they have a good behavior of flossing daily and brushing after meals. In the Bikram Yoga practice, there is no pretense, no judgement, and no comparing oneself to others. There is a reason you are taught to focus on yourself, and yourself only, in the mirror. There is no ego, just you, the instructor’s dialogue and a deep concentrative, meditative practice.
These are beginner postures designed for everyone–no matter what age, shape, size, or physical ability. You get into the posture as best you can, with a focused, relaxed mind and body. Every day and every body is different. There may be one day where you can get deep into a posture, relaxing and breathing into it, and another day where you may have to take a moment or two sitting out a set to regain composure and regulate heart rate. Remember these words and carry them with you into the room with you each time and more importantly, outside of the studio, in your daily life where you can execute these teachings into a daily exercise.