I had wanted to try a Bikram-style yoga class in 2013 as part of my goals. That happened last Friday and since then I’ve gone back for three more classes.
A new hot yoga studio called Prana Bodhi opened in Lakewood, Ohio last week. I went to the grand opening weekend event and then decided to sign up for a monthly unlimited pass. The first class left me feeling ‘meh’ but taking Julie’s advice, I decided to go back again the next morning. Suddenly it wasn’t so awful. Also I felt that workout soreness the next day which helped remind me that, yes, my body was working and it was a workout… although a different one.
As we all know I really enjoy going to yoga classes. Warm vinyasa flow is my favorite and although warm there usually means in the 80s or maybe 90s… Bikram-style is a bit different. 105 degrees. 90-minutes. 26 postures each repeated twice. Each class is the same postures in the same order for the same duration. This type of class was developed by Bikram Choudhury. The instructor at Prana Bodhi is Bikram-certified and teaches her classes in that fashion.
(Bikram himself has been met with quite a bit of controversy, mostly regarding his personal life and questionable teaching style. Google his name and you will see what I mean. Talking about him may be a topic for another day but I’m here today to discuss my experience with his type of yoga.)
After having taken a few of these 90-minute classes I’ve been able to formulate my thoughts a bit on this type of yoga. Foremost it’s very different from other yoga classes I’ve attended. I’m used to instructors speaking with a calming tone, perhaps asking students to imagine a relaxing atmosphere or place. I’m used to music being played in class and students being able to laugh off falling out of a pose. I’m used to attending the same class every week, but knowing the teacher will have us practice a different sequence of poses each time.
To me, Bikram-style yoga is more rigid. No music, the same poses every time, a mostly serious atmosphere. Oh and a mirror. You stare at yourself practicing the whole time. That threw me for a loop during the first class. So initially I found myself missing many of the aspects of traditional hatha or vinyasa yoga. But I got a good workout. It felt great to really sweat and “clean my pores out” and it’s nice to have a warm workout in February.
The 90-minute duration of the class definitely takes a time commitment, especially on a weeknight and although many people have tried 30 or 60 day challenges to practice daily, I know that is not going to fit into my schedule. So for now I’m mixing taking these Bikram-style classes with my other workouts. I’ve already seem improvement in my flexibility after taking only a few classes. I know that can’t be a bad thing. So I continue.
Bikram Yoga: Have you tried it? Yay or Nay?