Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Bikram people are crazy!

I took my first Bikram Hot Yoga class last night. If last Monday was the day of yoga victories, this Monday was the day of yoga defeats. Let me give you a rundown. First of all, the room was heated to somewhere between 112-120 degrees. No worries, I was expecting that. Felt like Houston in August at noon. LOL! We started with this weird pranayama exercise that I got absolutely nothing from and felt absolutely stupid doing. And that lasted for about 5 minutes (too much pranayama!). The rest of the class was force yourself into this position, and then hold it for a minute. Other side. Now repeat, only this time for half a minute. Then, for some reason, we were demanded to go into savasana for about 2 minutes between each seated posture (Clap! Clap! “Quickly! Turn over! Hurry! Now relax!” WTF?). All of the standing postures were done with locked knees and elbows and bent backs. This had me totally out of alignment. We topped off the class with a choreographed breath of fire that is called something else in Bikram Hot Yoga. Then the teacher put us in savasana and left us there. There was no chanting, not even an “om”. We all drank water all through class, which I guess is necessary to keep from passing out, but I could literally feel my internal fire being extinguished after every gulp. So in short, the class was not meditative, felt “funny” cuz I was out of alignment the whole time and was not nearly as challenging as ashtanga.

Are his shorts in this picture wild or what? LOL!

I think Mr. Bikram the guy who invented the famous kind of Hot Yoga was “that guy” in yoga class who was always trying to muscle through something. He probably didn’t have the stamina to finish a whole ashtanga class and was frustrated with having to pull back from a posture because, if he focused on alignment, he couldn’t go all the way into it. I think he’s the guy that you hate having your mat next to because he spends the whole class looking over his shoulder trying to outdo you in each asana. The fact that this class is done in a mirrored room, facing the mirror, using your reflection as the focal point (how does that work because doesn’t your focal point need to be something that won’t move?) leads me to suspect this guy is obsessed with seeing how good he is. The intense heat is just to help you go deeper into postures, there’s only one twisting pose, so it’s not even really that cleansing (in my opinion). In short, Bikram Hot Yoga is the little strip mall church that has splintered off from the main church because the deacon wanted to be pastor. LOL!

Having said all of that, I will give it a fair chance for the remainder of my 2 week pass, but last night’s class really made me realize how much I miss ashtanga. And how much I’ve learned about proper alignment and the benefits of breath during my practice.

By the way, one of the first poses (I won’t call them asanas cuz this just doesn’t feel like yoga to me) was called “wind-releasing pose”. LOL! I was like, “Oh no! I hope no one farts!”

If you're curious about the sequence, click here for photos.


Anonymous said...

It's interesting that most people who have done other forms of yoga are the ones who have trouble with Bikram yoga. Others seem to be able to come with an open mind and an open heart. There are many kinds of yoga, just find what works for you. It doesn't mean the other forms are "stupid" or "not yoga." Bikram teaches what his guru, Bishnu Gosh (brother of Paramahansa Yogananda) taught him, to heal people. To heals groups of people. Bikram yoga is not easy. It's not supposed to be. It's also confrontational. You look at yourself in the mirror. You learn who you are and who you want to be. Once you learn to focus, concentrate on your breath, it becomes a moving meditiation. Bikram is a master of Raja Yoga, and of course, Hatha. Good luck in your practice.

K-Boogie said...

Thanks, Anon. We are all entitled to our opinions and I appreciate you sharing yours. I am a pretty open-minded person, that's why I gave it a try. It ain't for me. Just like viniyoga, or kundalini. I don't go to yoga to be self-confrontational, I go to connect with the Divine and I have trouble doing that with the teacher clapping and yelling at me to "HURRY UP!". As an ashtangi, I'm not looking for easy yoga, just a meditative, contemplative form. Like, I mentioned, I will give it a fair shake and try it for the next couple of weeks, making sure to try a different instructor.

Is this normal for the instructor to yell and clap? Please enlighten me!


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