Failing your way to success


5/23/20233 min read

The hot room is a place where a adult can learn new tricks by repeatedly falling over and getting back up to try again. A baby falls over hundreds of times learning to walk. They fail in order to learn all the ways that don’t produce success. One day they just get up and walk one foot in front of the other.

Similarly, in the hot room we fail until we learn how to correctly do a posture. Doing so gives a very deep personal understanding of the work required that no amount of book knowledge can give. It's in your body. There is no stronger bond of trust than the mind-body connection. Your brain hardwires the experience that your body has endured to succeed. Practicing the postures to maintain the integrity of the human biosystem becomes engrained within so that eventually you don’t need to think very hard about it, you just trust your body, follow the dialogue by doing it, and you feel good.

A healthy you, naturally produces all the feel-good chemicals people try to reproduce and abuse in the world to find happiness. We are the lucky ones! It only requires hard work that make us sweat, mental focus and determination, the perfect sort of challenges that make us thrive. The thrill of accomplishment, and the boost in confidence is the best natural high.

Often in the beginning of our yoga practice most of us struggle with balance. With sober shock we acknowledge that we actually don't know how to do it. How is that? Why is it so difficult? Why do I fall over all the time? Truth is you don't really need to know, you just have to keep on trying. Fail yourself to success. That's the beauty of Bikram Yoga. But for some of us a few facts about things can help. So...

Fact number one: In the Bikram sequence the stability strengthening/balancing postures in the floor series are:

Each one of these strengthens the support structure of muscles and bone in a unique way. You need to have a steady foundation for these postures by using your quad muscles. As per the dialogue, focus all your attention on locking the knee, contracting the quad muscles. Your quad muscles are skeletal muscles above your knee and below your hip. Quad tendons attach them to your pelvis, hip bones, femur (thigh bones) and kneecaps. They’re voluntary muscles, meaning you control how they move and work. Some other muscles in your body, such as those in your heart, are involuntary. This means they work without you having to think about it.

The muscles composing the quadricep:

  • Rectus femoris: This muscle has two heads, originating at your hip bone and pelvis. It stretches down to your knee cap. It’s the only quad muscle that spans the hip joint and knee joint

  • Vastus intermedius: This muscle lies in the middle of your thigh, beneath the rectus femoris. Like the other vastus muscles of the quads, its primary purpose is extending your knee

  • Vastus lateralis: This muscle connects your thigh bone to your kneecap. It runs along the outside of your thigh. It’s the largest and strongest of the five quad muscles

  • Vastus medialis: This muscle also connects your thigh bone to your kneecap. It runs along the inside of your thigh. It’s the smallest of the quad muscles

head to knee

standing bow

balancing stick

All of these muscles have heads that merge into a single tendon, the quadriceps femoris tendon. This tendon attaches them to the kneecap. Your quad muscles contain lots of tiny, elastic muscle fibers. These fibers help the muscles contract or tighten. The fibers are red and white, giving muscles a striped appearance. You have control to contract all of these muscles when balancing on one leg, how you distribute the body parts and weight over the standing leg builds a solid foundation in all directions, not just bulk.

Fact number two: "Knowing means nothing if you don't know how to use it". You only get better at it if you practice.