Stay In The Room: The How & Why Of Showing Up (Even When It’s Tough)

When I got back to Melbourne after spending 15 months in Africa, I found the big, clean, modern Australian city a bit alienating.


After the mud and dust and sweat and body odour of Africa, Melbourne felt sterile. Melbourne has manicured gardens, not wild, untended patches of verdant greenery. Melbourne has fences and rules, not colour and chaos. Melbourne kids are kept within the strict confines of their parents’ homes or the local private school instead of scattering noisily up and down dusty roads or in and out of random mud shacks.


As I transitioned back to a more orderly way of life, I found salvation in the stinky, sweaty, heated room of a Bikram Yoga studio. At the time, I wasn’t interested in gentle spiritual enlightenment with soft lighting, I craved rawness.


And I found it. I found it in the droplets of sweat that flew from his body to my shoulder. I found it in the exposed, flushed, jiggling flesh of the bodies. I found it in the waves of nausea that occasionally threatened to overcome me as I contorted my body this way and that.


I also learnt a very important lesson.


Stay in the room

There’s no doubt: Bikram Yoga can be unbearably uncomfortable.


It’s spewy. Sweaty. Stinky. It can even make you sooky. (On many an occasion, I burst into uncontrollable sobbing during deep back bends.)


But if there’s one thing that’s drilled into you, it’s to stay in the room. Stay in the room no matter what. If you’re having a bad day and all you do is crouch on your mat feeling sorry for yourself for the entire class, that’s an achievement.


Stay, don’t go. Face it, don’t flee. Show up (and try not to throw up!)


The transformation happens in the room

Transformation doesn’t happen whilst strategizing about the room. It doesn’t happen when you’re reading about the room. It doesn’t happen when talking about the room. It doesn’t happen when you’re debriefing the room. It doesn’t happen whilst watching YouTube videos about the room. It doesn’t happen whilst discussing the room with your mum.


The same is true of life. Channel your inner-Nike and just stay in the room of life.


Staying in the room can mean having the difficult conversation. Sitting with your feelings. Making that phone call. Asking for what you want (even if it terrifies you). Loving yourself even though you screwed up.


It’s not easy but it’s necessary. And when you stay in the room, you’ll learn that discomfort isn’t permanent. You’ll discover that the room isn’t quite as bad as you thought it was. You’ll figure out strategies to make the room more pleasant. You might even discover the healing power of the room!


4 tools to help you stay in the room

If your room of life is getting a bit sweaty and stinky, here are some tools you can use in the moment:


  • Tap on your finger points. As you know EFT can take the edge off intense emotions and clear any blocks that are holding you back. If you’re in a situation where you can’t do complete rounds of EFT, tap on the finger points. The finger points are on the side of the nail bed of every finger and can be easily stimulated without anyone noticing.


  • Focus on your breath. Oxygen is really good for your brain and could help you come up with nifty solutions if you’re stuck! I like to count in for 4, hold for 4, out for 4.


  • Throw love bombs at everyone. If things are getting particularly tense, I love to use this energy tool to lighten the mood. I imaging throwing golden grenades at people that, once detonated, explode into glittery love.


  • Protect your energy with a shield. If I’m in a very toxic meeting or environment, I like to visualise an invisible shield around my entire physical body. It’s about a foot away from my skin and impenetrable by anything negative. I see the vicious words and negative vibes bouncing off my shield and disappearing.



What about you?

What tools do you use to help you stay in the room? Share below so we can all benefit!


PS And if you need a good laugh, read this old Craigslist advertisement for a Bikram yoga mat. An oldie but definitely a goodie!


PPS If your room is pretty overwhelming and you’re looking for additional tools to support you, I’d love to help. Please enquire about coaching here: