The Beauty of the Second Set

Currently I am primarily teaching the Bikram series, called Hot 26 at our studios, and one thing I love about it is the second set. All but one posture are repeated twice. This structure has given me so many things to think about over the course of my years as a student and now teacher. Meditation, awareness, observation, being present, letting go are just a handful of the many fibers which when woven together have become my yoga. The quality of the second set incorporates all of these fibers and more. On a purely physical level, there are two opportunities to work on a pose, perhaps progressing, or maybe observing and nurturing an ache, pain or injury. On a deeper level and what I’ve taken off the mat is that there is a such thing as a second chance.

My dear friend and fellow teacher Alice Nelson (certified Bikram instructor for over 17 years and avid cyclist…find her on Instagram @bikrambike) has inspired me as a student since I first took her classes years ago, and that inspiration has grown exponentially since I started teaching. Alice’s dialogue is very unique, in that it has such ease to it while still managing to address all of the key elements of the practice (form, alignment, benefits). Her often conversational way to cue poses has definitely helped me mentally and physically power through some practices…Alice also has a rep for liking her room HOT! One thing that I’ve heard her say on several occasions is regarding the fact that the series repeats all but one of the 26 postures twice. “What if we had a second chance to do everything in life? How different would our world be?” Alice’s words resonate so deeply with me, and have bestowed yet another yoga gift: my ability to recognize the beauty in having a second chance. For that gift I am forever grateful to her, and to yoga.

Some second chances are provided because of circumstances around us, people in our lives, powerful forces of forgiveness and love. Others we may need to create ourselves. The capacity to be aware of life’s possibilities when you take control of your own is a gift and without boundary. Even if it doesn’t originate organically, there is always chance for redemption, renewal, if the heart and mind are open and the soul is willing. You just need to see the opportunities with eyes clear enough to recognize a second chance for what it is. Upon reflection of many experiences in my life, there are plenty of things I would change if a “do over” was possible. At least now when I do have regrets, I’m in tune with and on the look out for, that growth potential. This is something I hope I can teach my daughters. None of us is perfect. We all make mistakes. But if you’re lucky enough to encounter an opportunity to make different choices, will you recognize it? Will you use it wisely?

I hope they come to understand the beauty of the second set.

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