Method to Bikram’s Madness?

Standing Bow Pose

Unfortunately, Bikram isn’t done by the beach outdoors!

I just finished my “unlimited” month at a Bikram yoga studio. I was out-of-town for 10 days of the 30 and managed to get 11 days in. I currently have a “hate/it’s ok” attitude with this yoga practice. It is like no other yoga I have done before, but b/c it is so regimented and HOT, I think Bikram’s claims about a consistent practice curing certain health issues just might be valid.

The past two days I read thru Bikram’s beginning yoga book, one, because he is funny, and two, because I wanted to see what his rationale is behind his sequence. Each class I went to increased my knowledge on the physical benefits of the postures. Early on I had decided that the smell, with the mandatory carpet in the room, was beyond my ability to tolerate. It stank WAY too much for my sensitive nose!

Supposedly, you must breathe through your nose throughout the whole 90 minutes, except for during the beginning and ending breathing exercises. The stank of the room literally made me gag, so I mouth breathed. I did discover that the air quality was much better in the morning!

I’m not training for this style of yoga, and quite honestly, I don’t even like it very much. Now, I’m viewing it more as physical therapy to hopefully restore full mobility and flexibility to my spine, shoulders, hips, etc., like when I was a child. The idea of not having to go regularly to the chiropractor because my discs actually start to decompress is a tantalizing hope.

The way my body behaved and didn’t cooperate in many postures jived with what the poses were supposed to accomplish.

Also, even though I am in pain, feel like I am going to faint sometimes, get frustrated when my balance is off or my strength is gone, my body is improving. I have been able to do some poses I couldn’t do at the beginning of the month.

Additionally, I had a teacher I liked a lot the past 2 classes. Her encouragement and noticing of progress in students like me helped me push through the emotional frustration. Her attention was just what I needed.

My back is doing so well and I have been doing this yoga for the past 6 days in a row, so I feel a little bit addicted to it! I think I will sign up for one more week…


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