Harps Not LyresI Have My Best Ideas in Bikram YogaHesley Harps

Guys. I have my best ideas in Bikram yoga. Ten minutes in and I can already feel the heat of the 105 degree room pressing onto my body like a microwaved wetsuit. At first I feel fine, then kind of panick-y and finally woozy, but very aware. Something about this combination inspires me to think of the most amazing stuff…which I usually do not fully remember.

Why? Because part of Bikram yoga is about being still even when not in the poses and focusing as much as possible on the present moment. I mean, at least that’s my understanding so far. I’m working through a 10 week Groupon at Bikram Yoga Downtown LA and I’m doing great… until we’ve held a pose for a few seconds and my mind wanders to the flower print on some dude’s short shorts. Naturally, this makes me think of Lisa Frank, which makes me think of rainbows. Hm. Will it rain today? I hope not, but it did look a little iffy outside… hey, you know what a great idea for a sketch would be?!

And then I HAVE it! Surely the best idea any mind has ever had! As I slide my hands down my slippery legs into the next pose, I smugly think that no one could forget an idea as brilliant as the one I just had…Uh oh. What was that idea again? It was a sketch about misunderstood insects in the ’80s, right? Or was it a pilot? Maybe it was an idea for dinner tonight? Or a great idea for my future child’s name? A name so original and fantastic that all of my future mom friends would be secretly jealous!

Now, I’m locked into Triangle pose and my mind is back to where I started. My eyes start to wander around the room again as I try not to think about thinking. I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this. I consider bringing in one of those cool, waterproof notebooks that people use for ideas in the bathtub. But then I’ll be that girl. You know. The one who scribbles away in her notebook, breaking all the Bikram rules and missing the point of the whole experience.

By the time we reach the end of the 90 minutes, my mind has thought all it can think and actually reaches an extended time period of…peace and quiet. Whoa. I hold onto it for as long as I can. It occurs to me that Bikram yoga is kind of like spinning a top: the heat makes my mind spin and spin and spin thoughts until it cannot spin anymore and finally drops to the floor, motionless. Those moments of stillness are the best for me because at last my mind is an empty vessel for meaningful thoughts.

Soon I’m back in my car, sopping wet and even the warm LA air feels too cold against my flushed skin. On the drive home, my idea comes back to me. Success! Back in my apartment, I throw my mat and keys down and hop into the shower before settling in to write. And just like that, my idea is gone again! Luckily, I have my second best ideas in the shower, so I know it’s going to be okay.

Featured image via ShutterStock
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  1. Leslie,
    I love this & I am another one who gets flooded with ideas during my class. Most of the time, I do remember (scary).
    Your enthusiasm is so much fun.
    Enjoy your challenge!
    Olga