Why I Practice Bikram Yoga

“The greatest challenge yields the greatest possibility for change” – Bikram Choudary

Bikram Yoga is the original “hot yoga” practice consisting of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises to cleanse both the body and mind.

The first time I stepped into a Bikram Yoga studio I was scared, nervous, and clueless about what to expect. I had never done hot yoga and had only a little practice on my own from P90x. That was my introduction to yoga which inspired me to continue practicing over 7 years later.

One this is certain, you will sweat – A LOT!

Bring a yoga mat, a towel for your mat (very important!), and water to have a successful practice.

Once you enter the hot room, simply breathe and listen to your body and the teacher. Your Bikram Yoga teacher will guide you through a mostly scripted sequence while helping you to enter into each posture to the best of your ability for that day.

After my practice this morning at Bikram Yoga Wilmington, I felt it was necessary to share my perspective and some of the lessons I continue to learn every time I show up and embrace the heat.

Commit Yourself and Show Up

Sign up for the class in advance and pay if possible. Whether you are an expert yogi or a first time Bikram Yoga practitioner, don’t give yourself the option to bail. I do this as far in advance as possible to avoid any possible scenarios in which I convince myself NOT to go. This has happened before…

Do something to keep yourself accountable and show up. Arrive 10-15 minutes early, settle into the room, and try your best to calm your mind while preparing your body for 90 minutes of sheer hard work and detoxification.

Again, to show up is the most difficult part of anything we do in our lives. Invest in yourself and embrace the suck. You’ll be glad you did. Just keep showing up as often as you can/need.


Bikram Yoga is practiced using pranayama breathing which is a controlled and calm breath through the nose. The reason for the nose breathing is to help prevent the mind from triggering a “fight or flight” sensation often experienced when you breathe through your mouth. It allows for a deeper and more controlled mind-body connection throughout your practice.

The more you focus on your breath during each and every posture the more you will find peace of mind in positions that are not so comfortable. Don’t worry, camel pose is coming sooner than you think, which means it is almost over!

You will begin to respect the practice the more you show up. The harder you “try” to get into each posture the more difficult your practice will be. When you allow your breath to control your practice, you will use your body and muscles in a way that is only experienced through these techniques that enable deep levels of stretching through pushing, pulling, stretching, and breathing into each of the 26 postures.

Don’t Skip The Final Shavasana

Whether you’re  a beginner or long-time yogi, the Shavasana posture is the most essential part of the practice.

Yoga is as much or even more of a mental practice than it is physical. It will test your mental fortitude to push through incredible levels of discomfort often more than it will test your physical strength. Bikram Yoga is meant to test the body you show up with TODAY and for you to do your best. The real practice begins when you breathe and allow your mind to control your body, not the other way around.

Shavasana is also known as “corpse pose”, simply laying down on your back and relaxing both your body and mind. As you continue pranayama breathing, your racing heartbeat, and mental chatter both continue to wind down as you embrace the necessary recovery between postures of the floor series.

I recommend spending at least 5 minutes sitting in Shavasana before you leave the room.

For me, it allows me to either meditate and embrace all of the thoughts racing through my mind, or to think deeply about my intention for the practice and purpose of why I bothered showing up at all. Or simply sit and embrace the fact that you showed up and put yourself through immense strain and sweat to get to this point. You did it.

The final Shavasana is what will bring your practice full circle.

So sit for 5 minutes, you’ll be glad you did.

Final Thoughts

Bikram Yoga has become an essential part of my lifestyle and helps me to express the best version of myself which is no easy task.

I use my practice to compliment other strength and endurance training. My workouts mostly consist of jump rope workouts, body weight training, mobility exercise, running, and the several hobbies and sports which I enjoy when possible.

It disciplines my mind and forces me to work harder and embrace discomfort and fear. This enhances humility as well as perseverance when things get tough in life.

Would you agree that life is a combination of embracing fear to try new things and continuously challenge ourselves to become a better version of who we are? To become better at what we do and love most?

Lastly, Bikram Yoga is a remarkable community of people who care about their health and lifestyle. You’ll be surrounded by all types of amazing people who work hard and continue to show up to improve themselves for the people they care most about.

Thanks to Bikram Yoga Wilmington  (Billy, MJ, and Angie) for their amazing teaching and support. You guys rock!

How Nature and Overcoming the “Bad Days” are Connected

We all have those days. You know, the nights where you told yourself you’d be in bed by 10 PM only to lie sleepless until well past 1 AM. That was how my day went today.

I plan to wake up at 5:30 every morning of my life. This is the only way I know to create true personal time. Whether you write, play guitar, exercise, read, or whatever. The early morning hours before most of America is awake have proven to be my BEST times of the day. Maybe you are the same.

But… today was different. This was no ordinary day. I’ve been in NC for around two months. I can count on ONE hand the number of times I’ve slept past 7 AM.

It’s four, well now five.

Today – it was 9:30 AM. What in the hell happened? I could’ve stayed negative and dreaded doing anything, watched TV and sat on my ass all day.

Instead what I did, was start my day as if it were 5:30 AM after taking care of pressing obligations for the day. I exercised, ate a healthy breakfast, meditated, wrote my journal and morning pages, and read for 15 minutes.

See, for most of you, this isn’t a problem. For me, however, my off-days crush me. I feel defeated and vulnerable. These aren’t good feelings.

Exercise is the FIRST way I combat any signs of mental overwhelm or anxiety. Second, it is to write. I write every morning. I consider this my mental therapy. I get my cluttered morning thoughts onto paper and organize my day. Therapy one day, goal setting the next – this writing organizes my day and adds structure to a life where most of us are highly over stimulated.

Why did I choose this photo?

For one, I made a commitment to write, schedule, or publish a blog every day. I wasn’t sure what to write about today so I figured I’d pick a nice photo.

Secondly, this photo was a great day and it reminded me of how much I love nature.

I spent a portion of my afternoon today walking through this amazing park near me to clear my mind. Again, today was NOT my day. I walked with no music or audio book for the first few minutes to connect with nature.

From the trees, birds, and insects to the children and families playing in the playground laughing. Walking amongst Mossy Oaks and large Pines while soaking in the sun and enjoying the fresh air. It is intoxicating!

Sometimes – all we need is some exercise, fresh air, to bring us back to our prime. Our best self.

Final Thoughts

Before I head to bed for the evening and get some MUCH NEEDED rest, I want to share something.

I listen to an audio book everywhere that I go. In my car, walking or running around my neighborhood, folding laundry, basically anytime I can or find myself idle.

This lifted my spirits and changed my mood. I was uplifted by a new sense of wonder and possibility. The sun, the air, and nature helped me overcome one of my least productive days since I’ve lived in North Carolina.

Audio books have changed my life and inspired me in more ways that I can begin to describe. Instead of watching TV or playing a video game, try to find more constructive ways to be inspired. Throw on some headphones, go for a walk, while getting lost in an amazing audio book. I never regret learning, but I always regret the hours of my life spent binge watching a show or plain sitting on my ass.

Here are a few in my library:

How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson

The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg

For you fiction lovers:

The Absent Mind, by Eric Rill

The Cold Dish, by Craig Johnson