Are Bikram Yoga Teachers Getting Nicer?

So my friend Kevin and I went to a Bikram yoga class yesterday. I’ve practiced Bikram before but it’s been about 2-3 years since I’ve been to a class and since I’m creating a directory of yoga studios for Modern Mom magazine, I felt like I needed to go again. Also, we went to a studio I’d never been to before, Bikram Ashburn, and I wanted to check it out.

Bikram yoga, in case you don’t know, is practiced in about a 110 degree room (I’ve heard various temperatures, ranging from 104 – 118). The teacher takes you through a sequence of 26 postures, and you repeat each posture twice. So for example, you hold triangle pose first for about 60 seconds on each side, and then you hold it a second time for about 30 seconds on both sides. The postures are discrete, meaning you don’t “flow” between the postures as you do in a vinyasa class. Two of the postures are actually pranayama exercises. The whole thing takes 90 minutes and ends with savasana and an iced cold towel that, believe me, feels like a little slice of heaven at that point. Oh, and the class is the EXACT SAME no matter where you go, when you go, or who the teacher is.

In the past, I have had a love / hate relationship with Bikram yoga before coming to the conclusion that it really just isn’t my thing. I like the stretching, and I like that I always know what I’m going to get, however I ultimately find the practice sort of boring – kind of like McDonalds. I know that I can always find something else to work on in a pose that I’ve practiced 108 times, but I really like variety and working my body in different ways. And sometimes I need something less solar than the Bikram practice. I don’t know how one practice can fit all needs at all times – I’m a changing, fluid being so shouldn’t my practice be as well? Also – the heat. It’s too hot for me. Throughout the standing postures I’m just fighting to keep the nausea and dizziness at bay. Ugh.

Anyway, like I said, it’s just not my thing. I did think however that the teacher of the class, Graham, was very cool. He was very aware that there were a lot of newbies in the class, and he took time to explain the postures and to let people know that it’s OK to sit down and take a break. He was very easy going and NICE. This is a huge departure from Bikram classes I’ve taken in the past where the teacher yells out the instructions in a commanding kind of way and warns people NOT to leave the room for ANY reason. I always found the teachers to be sorta harsh, so it was refreshing to have Graham as my teacher yesterday. Also, the studio was really nice and the carpet didn’t smell bad at all.

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One Response to “Are Bikram Yoga Teachers Getting Nicer?”

  1. peg m Says:

    c’mon . . . it was his accent that sung so sweet, wasn’t it?!

    its ok, i’m sort of partial to that british sound as well. especially when the room is 110 and i’m asked to push and push and push and . . . change.

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