The Bikram Diaries

Searching for bliss through 105° of heat

the ego trip April 17, 2009

Filed under: my mind on yoga — Celine @ 5:09 pm

I started writing this as a response to a comment left by Lolly on my post, Day 19: The More the Merrier but it started getting so long that I thought I might as well post it!

Lolly’s comment read:

“I have to say, reading this is a bit disheartening…every person you’ve brought to Bikram you mention how they handle class, how “well” they did for their fist time, not even sitting out, or only sitting out once — what does it matter?  Bikram Yoga is a 90 minute open-eyed, moving meditation.  Your eyes should only be looking at your own eyes in the mirror, not looking at other bodies to “judge” and “compare” yourself to.  That is an activity for the ego.  Please don’t use Bikram as a tool to feed the ego.”

So first off, I just want to say I’m sorry if I upset anyone with my post. I didn’t word it right but when I say a friend did well on their first class, it’s really because I’m comparing them to how I did on MY first class, which was really, really, really terrible. It makes me happy to see friends having a good class because it means that they’ll be attending more classes with me and won’t think I dragged them out to be tortured.

In any case though, there’s truth to what Lolly said that I’m still using Bikram to feed my ego. It’s true, and I haven’t quite overcome it since I’m really only on my 20th class! I know that Bikram is supposed to be a meditation and not an ego trip. But just as I know what a locust pose is really supposed to look like, it doesn’t mean I’m quite there yet. We all know that we’re supposed to be free of judgement and have unbreakable focus but unfortunately, we’re human and the mind and body don’t always cooperate. I hope you’ll accept that I’m still just starting on my journey and I won’t be the perfect yogi for a long, long time. I promise to try though! And if you’re willing to keep reading, I’ll keep writing honestly about how my burgeoning love affair with Bikram yoga is going—the good AND the bad.


4 Responses to “the ego trip”

  1. c Says:

    But there is some ego involved in doing anything. Bikram tells you over and over try hard kill yourself, then be proud of yourself. He tells you that his 90 minute class with make you better, and that should make you happy.
    Yes classes should be free of judgment, but the idea of not judging, becomes judging; it’s very hard to be just an observer.
    When you finish class it’s okay to be happy with yourself or proud of your friends. I think the thing that we need to guard against is the negative judgments and criticism of ourselves and others.
    Congrats on getting to 19 days! Keep going for many many more, smile and have fun.

  2. bikramdiaries Says:

    Thank you so much for your comment C, much appreciated. It really is a hard balance to strike — to appreciate what you’ve achieved without making it an exercise of the ego. I mean, we’re all in it for improvement: physical, mental, and emotional. It’s just natural to get an ego boost when you see that you’re actually stronger than you once thought.

    Thank you for the encouraging words. I intend to keep going and keep having a blast doing so!

  3. Dharma Says:

    Look – You are writing about your experiences with Bikram, and if your “self” or “ego” slips into the mix, so be it – be true to your experiences when you post on your blog 🙂 That is what it is for. As for Lolly, I do understand his/her comments in that you shouldn’t be focusing on anyone eles’s meditation but your own, but there was no need to be so critical. This is YOUR practice. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should be doing/need to be doing – listen to your body, follow the poses, and do your best.

    Sounds like Lolly’s ego got the best of them when they posted as well 😉

  4. lolly Says:

    I apologize if my words came off as “so critical” or ego driven. I admit I am sensitive to this issue (ego, Bikram) as I practice bikram for the medical health benefits, but practice other forms of yoga for the spiritual aspect. I am constantly reminded not to let “pride” be the driving force behind my yoga practice. I don’t want to practice bikram because it gives me a reason to feel “better” than other people — “I am so strong, I am so tough, I can stand 90 minutes in a 105 degree room” No, I practice bikram because it gives me an opportunity to strengthen my mind, or rather strengthen my power over my mind. In that room you have no choice but to find comfort *within*.

    With the rising popularity of Bikram, I’m afraid more people are going to practice this yoga, without the Yoga (joining of mind/body/spirit), which isn’t Yoga at all!

    Thank you for this discussion 🙂 I wish you all the best!

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