I am giddy and scared to death at the same time but I don't think this is generated from the physical undertaking. I think it is the idea of coming face to face with Bikram himself.
It's certainly not a hero-worship thing. In fact, I fear that he won't live up to the meager bar I have set for him. I currently explain away the eccentric, controversy-loving man behind the mission with reasoning I can admire. His showmanship, flashy cars and pimp-like fashion sense has done wonders to draw in publicity, as an advertiser myself I don't count this as a bad thing. With all his sex-talk, wild living and complete lack of regard for what we think a yogi should look like, he isn't so 'other.' He can be human. Like us, flawed....way flawed. The practice seems less out-of reach that way. I don't have to 'om-shanti-shanti' my way through life to practice.
I also love the admission that some of this stuff hurts. Hurts like heck, in fact. He acknowledges that we want money, that we hate to work and that self-improvement can suck a lot of the time. If we can admit that, I am willing to step in and curse my way (as nicely as I can muster) to a better me. I mean, after all, isn't being honest with yourself the first step? I'm not being honest with myself if I can't even admit that I have a really rough time getting myself to class.
The only controversy I think holds any traction with me is the copyrighting issue and it doesn't hold much. Yes, we want free and open things. Open-source = good. However, quality control is also good and let's face it, there is virtually none in the yoga world. We've all paid for a class only to discover this studio's version of Hatha yoga is sitting in lotus listening to a woman drone about tree roots for an hour. That's not really the class I have the beef with anyway. It's the one where you can hurt yourself because you aren't being watched and the teacher has no idea what they are doing. It's the wild-west of yoga out there and I just want one section of yoga to say, "If you find yourself in Iowa I still promise you can walk into my studio and know you are getting quality." To take that 1 step further, I am glad he is willing to protect those teachers who take the time to put his name on the studio too. Maybe Ill expand upon this later, I think it's a subject that deserves addressing further.
So here we have the problem. I am now going right to the man. I would hate to discover he is not, in fact, ensnaring our egos to capture the ego-centric Western mind, engaging us on our own territory, playing with our sense of 'right' and 'justice' but is, in fact, just an ass. An ass who has a lot of my money.
So here we go, the proverbial 'belly of the beast.' I take solace in the fact that, no matter how wonderful or heinous the man is, I walked into Bikram yoga expecting nothing and received amazing benefits. He gave me something wonderful. I can take that gift without taking the parts I don't agree with. You can call this cherry-picking in an admonishing way but I choose to see it as common sence. There are very few things I buy into whole-heartedly and none that I buy into without a healthy dose of examination. I am a firm believer in Buddha's teaching, "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." I love that.
This is how I see my Bikram practice. I like what I've gotten. I ask a lot of questions and my teachers answer in ways I agree with. Pieces I don't agree with I put on a shelf to examine later and decide on when i have gathered enough facts.
When I get home, I will report on my experience. I will do so honestly as I can. Ass or genius, I hope I can still appreciate the plethora of benefits I've gotten from him.