Saturday, February 19, 2011

British Bikram

I've never really warmed up to Bikram Yoga. (HA ha! pun intended!) I'm guessing it's the heat: not that I don't like to sweat, but perhaps not that much, and I seem to always sweat profusely from my face (WHY?!), which is annoying and distracting. Maybe it's that I can't wear my eye makeup, without which I feel very naked, as it would only slide down my face within a matter of minutes. Perhaps being a germphobe and former yoga studio owner, I just can't get my brain around how they keep those studios clean with all the super sweaty bodies (with carpet, no less!). And lastly, as a slave to novelty I cannot imagine doing the same sequence, and hearing the same teaching script, over and over. Pictured: dancer pose, one of my faves in the Bikram series.

Alright so maybe Bikram's not for me. That's cool. Obviously I've found my yoga groove in Vinyasa. I do love that Bikram works for so many people. Sometimes I may question that, especially if you're one of those die-hards that go almost every day, simply because I believe in cross-training your body and your brain with different challenges and moves. But every once in awhile, particularly during ski season, I get the urge to go to a Bikram class. Even though ski season is N/A here in London, I've wanted to check out the studio in my hood. Because as you know, there is practically a studio in every hood (although I didn't find one in Venice, and yes, I looked). And it was...I hesitate to say "great", but pretty close. Maybe it was just the British accent, but my teacher seemed so polite, vs. the barking-army-general typical Bikram thing. The studio seemed clean (although every once in awhile, I caught whiff of something horrid, and worried that it might be me). It was a great antidote to a chilly rainy London morning, after a week without much yoga, due to 5 year old being on half term school break. I'm feeling pretty darn good right now, thanks to Bikram.

As a yoga teacher, I will always tell my students to keep trying different styles until they find one that clicks. But I also feel obligated to keep trying the styles that never really clicked, just to see. You never know.
What do you think? Are you a Bikram regular? Tell me your thoughts. Next up: a retreat alumna wrote about her experience at the 60 day challenge. Namaste.


yogawithstyle said...

I so agree with your thoughts on Bikram - I am a Vinyasa flow girl :) I love the thought of being warm, but I think there is a happy medium of a warm room, but not smokin' hot! I wanted so much for it to work for me when I first tried the practice a few years back, but as a migraine sufferer, it triggered them almost every time no matter how much I prepped with water and we honor our bodies and return to the mat we love so much in a way that supports our own self. Thank you for this blog I love it - love to link you to ours at anytime...namaste! Love & Light

curious girl (lisa) said...

i've been doing bikram regularly just shy of three months. i've never been so committed to a yoga practice. it's changed my body and my mind and my heart and i'm excited about the many changes to come. you get used to the heat and the sweat and the packed-like-sardines feeling and actually begin to love it. learning to tolerate this translates into more tolerance in real life. at our studio, we have great teachers who are supportive and fun and truly love seeing their students bloom.

that being said, i get that it's not for everyone.

kathryn said...

It took a friend 6 months to convince me to go to Bikrams. I've never looked back though it is a battle in my mind every time I make the decision to go. I've never experienced something so life altering as Bikrams. Looking at myself in the mirror for 90 minutes, being uncomfortably hot(and I grew up in Florida with no a/c) and pushing my self beyond what I think I'm capable of doing is the ticket for personal growth in my life.

kathryn said...

I've been practicing Bikrams for over a year now and it is the best thing I've ever done for myself. The self talk that goes on in my head when I make the decision to go is incredible, but it is the first obstacle to entering the room. 90 minutes of looking at myself in the mirror forces self examination and determination. Bikrams is the most challenging thing that I do in my life and it always feels as if I have accomplished something when I complete another class. Maybe I need the militant orders? :)

MegDep said...

I went to Bikram because folks in my classes kept asking me my opinion about it. Perhaps because I spend a lot of time in Anusara classes, where we have fun and laugh a lot, I found the book camp feeling left my soul feeling empty. Certainly it's a work out, but I don't do yoga to burn calories or sculpt my body. I do it because it helps me be peaceful.

Oh, and I had to stop going (was going to commit to ten classes) because the headaches I got after class (likely dehydration?) lasted two days. No amount of $6.00 a pop Bikram-endorsed coconut water helped.

I think that Bikram works well for folks who are used to pushing their bodies to limits and who gain satisfaction from this: ballet dancers, marathon runners, long-distance bicyclists. We're lucky there are so many kinds of yoga so that we can all find what works for us :)


Jennifer said...

As you might remember, I used to be a big-time bikram believer. I actually liked the heat and staying with the postures. I will ALWAYS have a soft spot for bikram because that was my gateway into yoga. I quickly learned, when I branched out (and thanks to you, actually, for enlightening me to different styles of yoga, I saw what else I could experience), diversifying my practice has made me much stronger in all the aspects I seek to develop in my life through yoga practice. I learned that, as much as I loved the physical challenge of bikram, I - personally - was missing out on a beautiful, holistic experience that I now find with my ashtanga and vinyasa practices. Plus, when I'm not breaking my nose from falling out of arm balances (note to self, wait until you have regained your strength following a severe illness before jumping back into advanced asanas), flying is so much fun!

Margaret Burns Vap said...

because I just cannot help myself, I had to share this. really, as I said, I'm ok with bikram yoga, but this isn't the first article to make the man look utterly ridiculous and, dare I say, non-yogic.