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A week ago I began doing Bikram Yoga. I used to play hours of basketball daily, but the pounding of jumping up and down on a basketball court wore out my ankles and knees. If I were to play basketball now, I’d be in a week of pain at least.

Hence, why I shifted to Bikram. During my first class, a week ago I was completely out of sorts. As someone who played team sports their entire life I thought I’d be able to jump in and be a “natural” at Bikram. Boy was I wrong.

I quickly realized I had poor balance. The intense heat got to me quickly. I found myself overwhelmed and staring at the clock throughout class. I collapsed into the ground several times as I had met my match.

When the 90 minutes of excruciating heat and intense stretching was over I was laying on my back breathing in a way that I wasn’t used to. The yoga instructor made her way to me and handed me a towel and told me to put it over my face.

The room was over 100 degrees and the towel was freezing, so I was very excited. After I did this I breathed in, and smelled something that changed how I viewed yoga completely. It was the scent of lavender, and I was enamored.

Instantly, I felt a rush of positivity and I was awakened. The scent was something I had never experienced. It was as if my body was completely drained, but the lavender woke up my mind and gave me life.

The next yoga class was the following day. I definitely showed signs of improvement but throughout the class I was thinking about the end; laying there, motionless, with the cool lavender towel draped around my face.

Fast forward a week, and all of my poses have improved. I have become more balanced in both my body and mind but during every class I still think about the high I get from the cold lavender towel.

During Bikram you push your body and mind to its’ limits. If you give it 5% of your effort, you’ll get 5% out of it. You have to give it 100% if you want to improve. The light at the end of the tunnel is the lavender towel that awakens your mind.

 I’ve gotten to the point where I’m actively seeking out lavender for purchase so I can spray it on towels myself and put them in Tupperware in my fridge so they are cool and ready for me in the morning. I can’t think of a better way to start a day, then with Bikram and Lavender.

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