As you may have seen from one of my earlier posts, I made a list – my ‘get your life together’ list. On the list was to start going to yoga. I have mostly done Hatha yoga which started many years ago at Acharyas Yoga Centre (http://acharyasyoga.com.au/) in Sydney. Acharya was a super flexible man and a bit of an entertainer during the yoga classes. I enjoyed his classes, but had to stop because of a cyst in my spleen. I returned, but then moved….anyway I didn’t consistently go back to him. I was very shocked to learn that he died in 2007.
I’ve tried all sort of yoga: ashtanga (too fast), ayengar (I liked the emphasis on proper alignment in asanas), vinyasa (a little too fast) and recently Bikram yoga (hot yoga). I thought I had done hot yoga, because I lived in Abu Dhabi and I did yoga at the Yoga Tree (http://bodytreestudio.com/) and well if you have ever lived there you would know that it is VERY hot! When I did classes there and it was not the height of summer, we would leave windows open and not turn on the air conditioner. So I was quite curious about Bikram yoga, because I thought ‘hey, I’ve kinda done it – it should be fine’, or so I thought. Having windows open and some air movement in a room about 30 + degrees celsius is very different to being in a room 40 + degrees celsius with a humidity of about 40%.
The idea of Bikram is to be in a hot room undertaking 26 postures for 90 minutes. May seem relatively straightforward, but being in that hot a room can be very challenging and intense. Another idea of Bikram is to be in the moment – well most likely people are in the moment because they are focussing on not passing out! I was given a 30 day pass and decided to use it to it max, but with my kids and work, I’ve managed to go about 2 times a week. So what are my likes about Bikram yoga?
- It’s a workout! just standing there makes your heart pump;
- Having the pass meant I was making an effort to get out and use it – so I was at least starting the exercise process and to get myself into a routine about that;
- I sweated a lot, which I think is good to get out toxins, or so they say….
The things I don’t like:
- The heat – it is too intense – too much. A little heat to help you get a deeper stretch is good, but feeling dizzy and faint at times I don’t think are good feelings to have in a yoga class;
- The fact that the teachers don’t actually do any of the yoga moves – they stand in the front of the room with a mike on and just describe it. My teacher today was hilarious and I don’t think she means to be – but I think she might be a telephone sex person in her free time – she does the ‘yes! yes! yes! Meg Ryan from ‘When Harry Met Sally’ style when she’s trying to encourage us to get into a deeper stretch!
- While some might like Bikram yoga because of the sense of achievement once you finish a class, but again, I personally don’t want to be thinking ‘when is this going to be over’ in a class and thinking ‘yay that goodness I did it!’
- Some trivial things like the smell, seeing half naked people and the fact that they encourage competition yoga – like they actually think competing in yoga posture events is good. I don’t necessarily think that is in keeping with the ideals of yoga.
Different people want different things from yoga. So what do I want to gain from yoga? wellbeing, a sense of calmness and peace and health. Though I am not discounting Bikram yoga altogether, at the moment, I don’t think it is for me. In fact, I plan on going back to where it all began – Acharyas. It will be interesting to see how it is without Acharya!