Monday, November 8, 2010

All About Bikram Yoga

I'm improving :)         Have you ever felt like life was okay, but perhaps something is missing? And you may or may not be consciously aware of this feeling or have any clue what will satisfy it? I think passion is often that thing. To feel so passionate and to enjoy something or someone so much is crucial to human nature. This time around, I found yoga. This is not to say that one hobby will be enough to fulfill that feeling forever, but at this point in my life, yoga was what was missing.

I feel like now I know what religious people feel like, to really believe in the teachings of something so much; so much in fact that you want to share it with everyone so that they too can better their lives because you are sure it can. Though imposing your beliefs in extreme ways is not necessary, I think being a teacher of something you are passionate about is… well I cannot think of a more perfect job! To have genuine enthusiasm toward new students, truly enjoy watching them improve, and offer the best of your knowledge to them sounds very rewarding. Actually, I already have and feel all of these things for newcomers even as a fellow student! Anyway, when I finish up the school year and some traveling here in March and April, if all goes according to plan, I am going to head back to the states to become a certified Bikram Yoga teacher. Then I will venture back out into the world, national or international, to start teaching!

         My studio here in Phuket was lucky enough to have Bikram visit us.  He taught a class!  I was starstruck, it was like everything out of his mouth had to be true.  He knew exactly how to help people when they thought they couldn't do something; he knew they could do it without hurting themselves and he was right.  He even called me out and had me try something I didn't know I could do!  He helped me try an advanced position where I was on my knees and bent around backwards and he then proceeded to stand on my hips, causing everyone to gasp.  I didn't even know what was happening.  Then his wife happen to stop by not long after him and teach a class!  How lucky we are at such a small studio!

Me and Bikram
        Bikram Yoga (aka hot yoga) is pretty different than other types of yoga. The room is over 105 degrees and 40-50% percent humidity also. Class is 90 minutes, and you do a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises that involve balance, strength, and stretching. Even though you don’t leave your mat, it gets your heart rate up so much, plus those 3 things are more necessary for your body than, say, cardio. I never did yoga before because it didn’t seem to be a worthwhile workout. I thought, yes balance is good, but it wastes an awful lot of time that could be spent just jogging and burning calories like a traditional workout. Sometimes I think Bikram yoga shouldn’t even be called yoga because it evokes the wrong image in peoples' minds. There are yoga classes out there that correspond with that image, you know, seated meditation, chanting, closing your eyes—none of which occur in a Bikram class. My feelings on Bikram yoga are not inclusive to those classes.

        This yoga is spiritual for me in a different way than people imagine yoga to be. We never just sit there and meditate but the balancing postures have so much to concentrate on that you really are in a meditation thinking about all the things you are trying to get your body to do while maintaining balance. Balance can be a very mental thing; some days you have it and some days you don’t, depending on external factors and whatnot. If you saw the way I have to stare at one thing while I maintain the balance and think about everything else, you would see that it is a kind of meditation. Also, the goal for the teacher is to talk the entire time, basically being your brain for you for 90 minutes.

        Bikram yoga is tough, especially if you aren’t flexible. The good news is that as long as you are doing the posture as best you can, accomplishing each step correctly before advancing yourself in the posture, you are gaining 100 percent of the same benefits! It is perfectly fine to sit or lay down on your mat if you feel dizzy or weak, just don’t leave the room! Bikram yoga is great for any kind of physical injury or even illness. People may think they can’t do it because of an injury but it is exactly what will cure it.

        Besides just being happier and having a hobby to work at, I feel healthier and have better posture. Plus I may have toned up a bit and lost some weight. I think about yoga during the day and look forward to going!

So there it is, I have been converted and now I am preaching the good word. Try it at least once!


  1. I love this blog Andy! I am so happy for you. It sounds like you are gaining and growing so much emotionally, spiritually, physically, and intellectually.
    Can I be your first student??


  2. Andy!! I have had so much fun reading your blog too! Jill and I can take your first class in the U.S.!