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Bikrams {hot Yoga}

Rodney2010-07-05 02:48:05 +0000 #1
Hello Yoga friends,

I have been practicing yoga for only a few months mosty by myself with the help of a couple instructional DVD's. I find it so good for my body and soul, but I don't need to describe this to you experenced people.

I went to a yoga class {Bikrams collage of yoga} and to my suprise the class room was 103 degrees f. through out the entire class. I managed to stick it out the entire 90 minutes of class and stumbled thru the poses while the sweat was running out of every pour in my body..

Whats your opnion on HOT Yoga..

InnerAthlete2010-07-05 02:51:05 +0000 #2
Stick your finger in the Hornet's nest you're likely to get stung.

You would have been safer asking if George Bush is a good leader or if Jesus Christ ever lived.

It is very rare to get an unbiased opinion from any side of this. I will try to provide you with a reply encompassing my concerns. Make of them what you will.

Those folks who practice Bikram are very dedicated and swear by it's effectiveness. Many of them slim, athletic, young, and supple. And some are go-go or Type A people. They do love their practice.

There are several things about this practice that are cause for deeper thought and concern (for me). The first thing I look at when selecting a practice is to look at the life of the teacher. Do I want to live life that way. Is that teacher living in a way of integrity and evolution? Is that teacher empowering students and carrying themself in a way that seems aligned with classical yoga texts? Bikram does not meet these things in my mind. I find him flamboyant, aggresssive, and appearing greedy (by that I mean acquiring money in excess of what is needed to fulfill his dharma). In addition it is this style of yoga that advocates yoga competitions, which also concerns me. And there's the isssue of lawsuits about copyright and trademark infringement as their style is franchised and "owned". To me, competition is of the mental force and thus subject to the agenda of ego so it has no place in Yoga. Protecting one's business rights, in certain scenarios is completely appropriate. These scenarios? I do not know.

Beyond this, I have concern about any physical activity that is performed over time in a highly heated environment. Whether it's working on a road crew in New Orleans during August or Bikram in Buffalo in December. There are some concerns for the cardio-vascular system (which is why the local gym has cautions posted on the Sauna - ten minutes max and a consultation with your doctor). It may be fine. Just seems to place yogis "at risk" and that feels non-yogic to me.

The claim is that the high heat allows the body to be much warmer and therefore more flexibile, supple, open, releasing. Of course profuse sweating does flush toxins. However the concept that more flexible is good violates some common science regarding connective tissue (ligaments, tendons), which is NOT designed to stretch. It is the more supple student who is at risk in yoga not the stiffer student. Over time, dancers and contortionists have major structural problems. It is not pretty.

As for the series or sequences, there are certain poses and certain instructions that also concern me. Some of them are compression-encouraging and that can lead to joint and spinal issues. Some of the poses, while perhaps very effective for this or that, simply do not anatomically appear safe. Remember, some injury happens immediately, other injury happens over time. Then there's a question of teacher training. In these conditions the teacher surely must be highly trained and not read a verbatim script but rather address the needs of the bodies in front of them, no? And what of the injured student, new student, stiff student? There are no props or modifications in a Bikram class and so the student must fit the pose rather than the pose fitting the student.

The final question is "how does the practice help the student to find the self?". I cannot answer this question. For this post it is thus rhetorical. The practice must serve you. Standing on your thumbs is nice. It is impressive. But in the larger context, so what? It must bring you closer to the self in order for it to be the vast body known as Yoga.

But those who do it swear by it.
Rodney2010-07-05 03:16:11 +0000 #3
Thank you for the reply InnerAthlete. I will have to take your words into consideration and more thought. I didn't relize bikrams was a controversial

subject ??) Since this is my first experence with a yoga class I really have nothing to compare to, so I should look into another class or type of yoga.

I went to my 3rd class yesterday morning since I paid for it in advance but that was the last one I had coming. The classroom was full as it has been the other times I went. Out of the 90 munutes of class I got about 30 seconds of personal help. is this what I should expect from any yoga class or should the instructors be more helpful? I have a lot to learn but have to start some where, thanks again I need all he help and ideas I can get at this point.

InnerAthlete2010-07-05 03:31:30 +0000 #4
Just one clarification before going onward...if the practice there serves you Rodney then do it there. I am not suggestiong you go elsewhere nor am I suggesting you stay. I was merely outlining my concerns as a teacher of yoga based on what I know of it.

The answer to this second question about personal "help" is "it depends".

I subbed a class today and one woman came up to me after and said something along the lines of "thank you. it was good to have some instruction about the poses". I can only assume she's not gotten any previously (based on that comment and her practice).

I think there are some very good studios and teachers around. And in those situations you are likely, over time, to be fully guidede and nurtured along the path. Finding these places is a bit more challenging.

Where are you located? I may know something in the area. Otherwise you'll need to fish around with some experienced instructors. And then, if your needs are not being met, chat them up after class and see if they're evolved enough to direct you to the right place, even if it means it is not THEIR place.
Nichole2010-07-05 03:05:07 +0000 #5

I want to tell you that you gave me the best laugh of the day with the first 2 lines of your earlier post!

I seriously giggled about it all afternoon, so thanks for that.

Hello Rodney,

I am in agreement with what IA has already offered you on the subject of Bikram Yoga. I wanted to also add these points for your consideration.

- the physical routine of it well balanced

- the practice and heat seems to be appropriate for most people who are in good general health

- the heat is generally contraindicated for those with high blood pressure, liver disease, ulcers, etc.

- the heat can be useful for detoxification and to lessen excess kapha (as extra body mass)

- hyperextension of the knees and repetitive motion injuries seem to be the most common injuries developing for some long-time Bikram practitioners that we are seeing now in yoga therapy.

- it lacks any subtle body practice outside the basic pranayama

- it can be a rajasic practice for some. meaning it can worsen mental tendencies toward anger, frustration, competition and over-achievement.

You seem like a thoughtful and self-aware guy, just watch how you feel during and after the classes. Your initial post of "I managed to stick it out the entire 90 minutes of class and stumbled thru the poses..." raise a red flag for me. Patanjali, the sage who codified yoga, said that yoga postures should be sweet and steady. My teachers have added to this that you should also be able to swallow and breath easily while in a posture. You can still have "sweat was running out of every pour in my [your] body" during asana practice, just be sure its sweet as you sweat.

Best wishes,
InnerAthlete2010-07-05 03:17:11 +0000 #6
You are welcome for the laugh, of course.

Sthira Sukham Asanam

more anglified; Sit Still and Enjoy

More Sanskritized; fixed in hapiness seat (from the Gita)
xela2010-07-05 05:11:27 +0000 #7
I really know nothing about Bikram except what I hear from other people, but it certainly doesn't seem like a practice I'd like to try.



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