THE FIVE PILLARS OF BIKRAM YOGA
Bikram Yoga has undoubtedly made the practice of traditional Hatha Yoga accessible to millions of people worldwide. The 26.2 sequence, which makes up the Bikram Method, is a structured and foundational approach to balance the body and mind. Specifically designed to give all the internal organs, veins, ligaments and muscles everything they need to maintain optimal health and function, balancing the bodies potential for strength and flexibility.
In addition to the many physical benefits of a consistent Bikram Yoga practice there are many transformational changes, which can also occur psychologically. To achieve yoga, it is necessary to bring the mind to a state of focus and concentration by using the physical body as a template for unlocking the secrets of the subtle anatomy.
The five classical pillars of the Bikram yoga Method which outline the continuous process of regaining control of the mind are:
1. Faith - Do you believe in yourself? Do you have hope?
2. Self Control - Discipline, morality, practice.
3. Willpower - Determination. Willingness to do.
4. Concentration - Focus, balance, presence.
5. Patience - Do we have what it takes to keep trying.
In the beginning of your practice you simply start, you do a little, do what you can and from there each and every time you begin to do a little more. You begin to learn all the adjustments you can make to create balance, symmetry, alignment and you begin to build a relationship with your body by the awareness you bring to it. This is the first step.
Then as your practice forms, you take another step; you start to notice the relationship with yourself, and the body-mind.
During my years of practice, the five pillars have been my roadmap. I have always been extremely disciplined, and focussed but after our earthquakes here in Christchurch, I traveled a fairly rocky road with regards to my own personal health and energy, which changed my relationship with Yoga entirely.
My Bikram Yoga practice became my lifeline to developing strength even when the body and mind felt weak, and practicing not only when I felt like it, but setting a routine and sticking to it, even when the body refused. Eventually that discipline was not forced but a priority. There were times I couldn’t do what I could do before, but, this is where I was at, so I had to just be here, and although it physically appeared to be a step back, it was in fact deepening, and refining. It was going though this process I began to really appreciate willpower, self-discipline, patience and faith as some of the most important inner powers we possess. Willpower isn’t just something that exists in the mind; it lives in the body, as well. When we practice yoga, we physically demonstrate willpower through the expression of our muscles. Willpower is the willingness to do the work required, and maintain interest when things are not so easy, using these five pillars, which continuously evolve and apply them throughout your mindful practice of Bikram Yoga.
Yoga I have herd described as DIY (do-it-yourself) maintenance, I liked this analogy a lot. Everyone is different and has different strengths and weaknesses, whatever it is you lack, or whatever challenges you will confront you right there in the mirror each and every time you step onto your yoga mat.
For some of us, learning not to give up and really challenge our perceived limitations is what we need most, for others it maybe learning to soften, let go, and release what your body is holding onto, it could even be a combination of both…
When you unroll your mat, it’s a special time to go deep inside and be thoughtful about what you’re doing, through Bikram’s sequence of asana’s, you get given an amazing opportunity to learn your nature, and work more from intension and less from habit to find your unlimited potential. Yoga truly is healing in action, and it will assist you throughout life's roller coaster ride, clearing away whatever is in us that prevents our living in the most full and whole way.
- Kate Lillian Burford -