How to Unleash Your REAL POWER in Bikram Yoga

Updated: Dec 13, 2021




If you give the body freedom to focus on just one thing, it is astounding what the body will achieve.


When you’re focusing on just one thing, that’s when you’re able to switch into peak performance mode; athletes call the zone.


The zone is simply a mental state in which your mind and body are working together in perfect harmony, immersed in the present moment, with a single point of focus.


The best example of what we can achieve with just one point of focus is how we learn to ride a bike.




Once you’ve learnt how to sit on a bike, which takes no more than a minute to learn, your focus was simply - “Don’t fall off”. With this single point of focus, telling the body not to fall off, the body forged the neurological pathways associated with balance. Initially, the body contracted all the muscles as it tried to figure out how to balance. Then relatively quickly, the body became a balancing expert, where 99% of the body remained perfectly relaxed.


If your thinking mind had added more things for the body to focus on, the process of learning to ride a bike would have taken a very long time, plus a lot of cuts and bruises along the way.


With a single point of focus, the body can get into the zone, and it is astounding what it can achieve in a very short time.


Musicians don’t talk about getting into the zone; they call it getting into the groove.



Most people learning the guitar can get into the groove strumming a basic pattern in 5 months. That means they are no longer thinking about the exact positioning of the fingers or how they are holding the plectrum; they are just focusing on one thing, the groove.


Forging the neuromuscular connections to do yoga is nowhere near as complex as the guitar.


After three months of practice, a complete novice to yoga will have thoroughly learnt the basic outline of the postures. They will still be terrible at doing them, but their body will have fully grasped the underlying structure of the poses. Now it’s time they get into the groove and focus on one thing.


But in yoga, what is that one thing?


I asked that question in an online yoga teachers forum, and I got over 30 different answers. There seems to be no clear point of focus like there is in sports or playing a musical instrument.


Bikram yoga is about forging a healthy, powerful body. A healthy, powerful body can deal with anything you throw at it in your daily life, free from pain and without attaching itself to your emotional stress.


Whatever you seek to achieve in life, it’s a hell of a lot easier if your mind and body are working together as allies, not fighting against each other. By enhancing the physical body, you supercharge your mental capacity; you become more creative and productive, with greater clarity of mind. That’s what yoga can give you, benefiting all walks of your life.


However, for many people, yoga does not deliver anything like that. That’s because once they have learnt the basics, they don’t have a single clear point of focus. Instead, they are stuck continually trying to perfect the basic framework of the postures. That is like a guitar player always focusing on how well their fingers are positioned on the fretboard and never sitting back, letting the body get into the groove.




We need to clearly define the groove of yoga so that everybody can experience the incredible potential yoga can bring.


After many years of research looking at the cutting-edge sciences, such as neuroscience, biomechanics, movement neurology, pain, spine and joint health, and sports performance, it became clear exactly what the groove of yoga should be. And best of all, it’s so simple.


All you need to do is allow the body to do what it has been doing for over 50 million years, and that is to move. But not just any movement; over millions of years, the body has evolved and adapted to create powerful open and relaxed movement patterns.


In all optimised movement patterns in sports and life, the body is always open and relaxed.


Movement is a neurological process. Movement is a communication process between the old reptilian brain and the body. All well-balanced open movement patterns involve a refined level of inner core stability strength, while all other muscles that are not involved in that movement are beautifully relaxed. Just like riding a bike. The more you relax, the more power can come out.



In order to forge the neurological adaptations needed to sculpt a healthy body capable of powerful, flexible open movement, you must give the body freedom to focus on just exactly that. Your single point of focus must be on creating space as you open out the entire body.


No matter the position of the body, you should always be focusing on the mantra: “Relax and Open Out”.


“Opening-Out” to a yoga posture is neurologically an entirely different engagement of strength to the traditional yoga mindset where the intention is to stretch the body “Into” a pose.


The standard mindset of gently and mindfully stretching out tight muscles, hoping your body is able to go that little bit deeper into a yoga posture doesn’t stimulate the connections with our inner stabilization strength at all.


However, when you switch into the groove of "opening out", you will be astounded by what the body will achieve combine with an almighty sense of relaxed power.




When applying this mindset to the Bikram sequence, I have witnessed sensational results in people who previously had been practicing Bikram yoga for over 12 years. Never before had they felt so alive, vibrant, flexible, powerful, graceful without tension or joint pain - just an explosion of energy.


Open movement patterns support the healing and repair of damaged sections of the body and restore the body's neurological connection with the inner stabilisation muscles, which we tend to lose as we age. When we lose the phone-lines to our inner stabilisation muscles, everything goes wrong. We lose our sense of balance; we get back, and joint pain; postural control declines; and the list goes on and on.


When you focus purely on opening out, creating space, as you go through a yoga sequence, you invigorate the body's ability in creating powerful, pain-free, well-balanced movement, in all areas of your life, both physically and mentally.



RECAP


  • If you give the body freedom to focus on just one thing, it is astounding what the body will achieve.

  • When you place your single point of focus on opening out the body, you forge an incredibly strong bond between the body and mind.



If you have been practicing Bikram yoga for over 5 months, or any other yoga routine for that matter, the framework of the postures are now fully fused into the body. You are now more than ready to make the switch and get into the groove of opening out. You will find the whole experience explosive.


However, you will have to make one small, yet monumental, shift in the way you breathe. I cover this in my upcoming book.



Bill Thwaites




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