Bikram yoga

pookypooky Registered Users Posts: 135
There is a Bikram studio I want to check out but have never done any kind of yoga. I know Webbie had some issues with Bikram and wanted to get her thoughts and anyone elses. I am going for toning and improved flexibility. Any thoughts?

http://www.bikramyogaogden.com/pages/root.htm

Comments

  • webjockeywebjockey Registered Users Posts: 2,786
    my issues with bikram is mostly moral ethical in nature. There's an arrogance about his approach to yoga that I find not to be in keeping with the philosophy and tradition.

    Now will you gain flexibility and strength, Probably, depending on your current state.

    Some more specific issues I have:
    1. Using external heat instead of your internal heat to naturally warm the body. I think it gives people a false sense of warm up and flexibility that could make you more prone to injury.

    2. most yoga books I've read do not suggest doing pranayama (breathing exercises) before asanas. I have taken a few classes that do it, but it's much more limited in scope and technique. Pranayama in a heated room seems like a lot for a beginner.

    3. The sequence doesnt seem logical to me. usually yoga positions work on opening up the body slowly - building on one muscle group to the next. Bikram's sequence (which doesn't vary at all from class to class) has some postures that don't make sense.

    4. practising with mirrors puts the focus on the body instead of the mind/soul connection. I think it fosters ego building, narcessistic tendencies, and competition with your classmates.

    I say proceed with caution -

    dislcaimer - I did practice bikram pretty regularly for about 1/2 year. I'm also not a highly seasoned yogi with a strong background in anatomy/physiology.
    hello.world.
  • godgivenpermgodgivenperm Registered Users Posts: 678
    This may vary from studio to studio but...

    I tried this a couple of times at a small studio. It got SO HOT that as the yoga progressed and people started to sweat, the smell became overpowering to me.

    The second time I went I felt so ill I wanted to leave. The instructor told me this was normal for beginners, and she told me to lie down for a while and resume the session when I felt better. I finished it out but that was it for me. That studio is no longer in business.

    I'll stick with basic yoga, thank you. :wink:
    3B/3C
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  • pookypooky Registered Users Posts: 135
    Interesting......thanks for your responses. There is another studio in town I can look into. The one thing that I thought would bug me is the stinky sweat smell in the hot ass room.

    I just have to do something to stay in shape. I don't need to lose weight and I have a little muscle tone left but zero flexibility so i figured yoga was a good choice vs. joining a gym. Wish me luck on my yoga search.:nike:
  • webjockeywebjockey Registered Users Posts: 2,786
    pooky wrote: »
    Interesting......thanks for your responses. There is another studio in town I can look into. The one thing that I thought would bug me is the stinky sweat smell in the hot ass room.

    I just have to do something to stay in shape. I don't need to lose weight and I have a little muscle tone left but zero flexibility so i figured yoga was a good choice vs. joining a gym. Wish me luck on my yoga search.:nike:

    It may be worthwhile to try one class and see what you think. I dabbled alot, and even thought I consider myself to be an ashtanga gal, I still enjoy taking classes from other types of yoga. If you like very structured classes where the postures don't vary, ashtanga would be a good fit. If you like to "mix it up" from class to class, you have a wide range of choices.

    I don't remember where you live, but in a recent NYTimes article, it spoke about the challenges yogis face trying to find more challenging classes. Here's what was recommended:

    NEW YORK Kula Yoga Project, 28 Warren Street, Fourth Floor (212) 945-4460 http://www.kulayoga.com
    Advanced flow yoga by Schuyler Grant, Fridays at 4:15 p.m.
    Ms. Grant teaches several creative Vinyasa classes in TriBeCa. Emphasis is on strength, stamina and breath work.
    CALIFORNIA Yoga Works, 2215 Main Street, Santa Monica (310) 664-6470
    www.anniecarpenter.com. Level 2-3 class with Annie Carpenter, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays at 10:45 a.m.
    Known as a teacher’s teacher, Ms. Carpenter uses a style that blends asana with exploration of subtle muscular and skeletal movements, breath work (pranayama) within movements and meditation.
    MASSACHUSETTS BKS Iyengar Yogamala of Cambridge,
    St. Mary’s Church, 8 Inman Street, Cambridge, (781) 648-3455
    www.yoganow.net
    Level 5 with Patricia Walden, Wednesdays at 1:30, by permission.
    Ms. Walden, a highly accredited Iyengar yoga instructor, teaches a Level 5 class, the highest in the Iyengar system. Emphasis is on alignment, poses, healing and discovering one’s true nature.

    FLORIDA Miami Life Center,
    736 Sixth Street, Miami Beach
    (305) 534-8988
    www.miamilifecenter.com
    Mysore-style Ashtanga with Kino MacGregor, Monday to Friday at 10 a.m.
    Ms. MacGregor leads Mysore, or traditional-style practice, up to the fourth series. The highest level in Ashtanga is the sixth series. Many people don’t make it to the second series.
    ILLINOIS Yoga View, 2211 North Elston Avenue, Suite 200, Chicago
    (773) 342-9642
    www.jimbennitt.com Level 3 with Jim Bennitt, Mondays at 12:30 p.m.
    Mr. Bennitt, a former clerk at the Chicago Board Options Exchange, teaches at Yoga View and two other studios.
    This class, the highest level he teaches, weaves breathing and meditation techniques into a demanding physical practice.
    hello.world.
  • pookypooky Registered Users Posts: 135
    Thanks for all that info Webbie. There are two more studios I found that do yoga, but their websites didn't say what kind so I will have to call or go in. They also do Pilates and I may check that out as well. As far as yoga, I like the sound of the Ashtanga.
  • webjockeywebjockey Registered Users Posts: 2,786
    it's probably hatha.

    I just went to that bikram site. I find it funny that they show postures that you'll never encounter in a standard bikram class.
    hello.world.
  • luvmylocsluvmylocs Registered Users Posts: 7,578 Curl Neophyte
    i sweat more than anything which is cool when you have a feeling that you really just want to get in a good sweat BUT i got so sweat that i couldn't even hold onto my own body for the poses.

    i agree w/ webbie in that i think it sort of encourages an "i'm better/stronger/more fit than you" mentality. i'm all about experiences so i'd tell you to try it at least once so you can see what you think for yourself. one session probably won't hurt you. i actually went twice before i decided it wasn't for me.

    oh and when you go, i suggest swimsuit, especially if you have one with those cute little boy shorts and some type of bikini top.
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  • wild~hairwild~hair Registered Users Posts: 9,890 Curl Neophyte
    I've never done bikram, it doesn't appeal to me for all the reasons webbie posted. That and, like luvmylocs, I sweat a lot anyway, so I cannot imagine what would happen if I did a bikram class. It wouldn't be pretty!

    There's a chain of "core power yoga" studios here in Mpls. :dontknow: I've never gone, for the same reasons I haven't tried bikram. I get the impression they're focused on the outward physical body only — which is not what I'm looking for.

    I wouldn't discourage anyone else from checking hese types of yoga out. Although if someone were completely new to yoga, I would definitely encourage them to try out more than just bikram. That's like trying pizza just once and getting it with anchovies!
  • PwniePwnie Registered Users Posts: 29
    Hey, all.

    My mother and I just attended our first bikram class this past Sunday, so I thought I'd come add my two cents. Here's a piece from my journal:
    The studio was nice and the staff welcoming. I knew things were going to be all right when I found free Tampax Pearl tampons in the ladies' room. Classy, much? And here I had come prepared to free-bleed all over a new pair of black Spandex bike shorts. We set out our mats a few minutes ahead of time and laid down to take it all in. Dark, hot, and humid, although nowhere near as uncomfortable as wearing scene jeans on a mid-August afternoon in Arizona.

    There was a faint musk (something that smelled just like the hamster cages at the pet store), but otherwise the room was free of odors, friend or foe. Our instructor, Amelia, was "common" in the best sense of the word. Looking around the room, too, there were no dreadlocks, unshaven bodies or tribal tattoos. Just toned folks in stretch fabric fresh off of work.

    I had come prepared to experience nausea, dizziness and faintness, and as we moved through the standing series, a few of the up-and-down repetitions gave me the spins, but nothing I couldn't manage. What I didn't expect was how strenuous it would be. When they mention that the program is designed to make one "sweat," it's not the glistening perspiration that makes a woman shine after her morning run. We're talking rivers of the stuff, soaking through your sports bra, making it impossible to seize your ankles, so much of it that when we are told to meditate during tree pose, all I can think about is the slow drip-drip-drip of fluids on the floor. I recognize the reasoning behind bringing a "full size bath towel or two."

    Towards the end of the spine-strengthening series, I knew I would be back. Some followers claim it takes three sessions to become hooked, and while I'm not quite to that point, I can see where it can be addictive. And it's good for the self esteem, too. Wearing almost no clothing and watching yourself, muscles poised, in the mirror puts things all into perspective.
    A few more points I will make:
    • Although the mirrors DID draw attention to the body, they were used as a tool to visualize the poses ("see your toes in the mirror", "view your face in profile"). I did not at any point feel that anyone was judging me.
    • The right studio makes an immense difference in experience. Ours featured a separate men's and women's changing room, restrooms, showers and cubbies. The air inside the hot room itself was kept circulating by large overhead ceiling fans, so although it was hot, it was not stifling.
    • One of the goals of bikram is to sweat - this is key to purifying the body and ridding it of toxins. Whether this is true or just a bunch of mumbo jumbo, I have no idea. But be assured that no one teaching or attending a bikram class expects NOT to sweat.
    • I have done other forms of yoga and did find that bikram is not as focused on the "inner self." However, I disagree with the competition statement. It must have something to do with the studio. During our class, beginning and advanced students are encouraged to sit or lie down whenever, for as long as needed. The instructor did not single out individuals or make any corrections to our posture, saying simply that "however you are able to do this pose today is how it was meant to be done."
    Personally, I liked it quite a bit and for $29 for a month of unlimited use, will be returning frequently.
  • 2poodles2poodles Registered Users Posts: 2,485 Curl Connoisseur
    Pwnie wrote: »
    Hey, all.

    My mother and I just attended our first bikram class this past Sunday, so I thought I'd come add my two cents. Here's a piece from my journal:
    The studio was nice and the staff welcoming. I knew things were going to be all right when I found free Tampax Pearl tampons in the ladies' room. Classy, much? And here I had come prepared to free-bleed all over a new pair of black Spandex bike shorts. We set out our mats a few minutes ahead of time and laid down to take it all in. Dark, hot, and humid, although nowhere near as uncomfortable as wearing scene jeans on a mid-August afternoon in Arizona.

    There was a faint musk (something that smelled just like the hamster cages at the pet store), but otherwise the room was free of odors, friend or foe. Our instructor, Amelia, was "common" in the best sense of the word. Looking around the room, too, there were no dreadlocks, unshaven bodies or tribal tattoos. Just toned folks in stretch fabric fresh off of work.

    I had come prepared to experience nausea, dizziness and faintness, and as we moved through the standing series, a few of the up-and-down repetitions gave me the spins, but nothing I couldn't manage. What I didn't expect was how strenuous it would be. When they mention that the program is designed to make one "sweat," it's not the glistening perspiration that makes a woman shine after her morning run. We're talking rivers of the stuff, soaking through your sports bra, making it impossible to seize your ankles, so much of it that when we are told to meditate during tree pose, all I can think about is the slow drip-drip-drip of fluids on the floor. I recognize the reasoning behind bringing a "full size bath towel or two."

    Towards the end of the spine-strengthening series, I knew I would be back. Some followers claim it takes three sessions to become hooked, and while I'm not quite to that point, I can see where it can be addictive. And it's good for the self esteem, too. Wearing almost no clothing and watching yourself, muscles poised, in the mirror puts things all into perspective.
    A few more points I will make:
    • Although the mirrors DID draw attention to the body, they were used as a tool to visualize the poses ("see your toes in the mirror", "view your face in profile"). I did not at any point feel that anyone was judging me.
    • The right studio makes an immense difference in experience. Ours featured a separate men's and women's changing room, restrooms, showers and cubbies. The air inside the hot room itself was kept circulating by large overhead ceiling fans, so although it was hot, it was not stifling.
    • One of the goals of bikram is to sweat - this is key to purifying the body and ridding it of toxins. Whether this is true or just a bunch of mumbo jumbo, I have no idea. But be assured that no one teaching or attending a bikram class expects NOT to sweat.
    • I have done other forms of yoga and did find that bikram is not as focused on the "inner self." However, I disagree with the competition statement. It must have something to do with the studio. During our class, beginning and advanced students are encouraged to sit or lie down whenever, for as long as needed. The instructor did not single out individuals or make any corrections to our posture, saying simply that "however you are able to do this pose today is how it was meant to be done."
    Personally, I liked it quite a bit and for $29 for a month of unlimited use, will be returning frequently.


    Interesting post. Let me start by saying that I have never taken a Bikram class, so I can't comment on that, per se. I have, however, taken many other yoga classes in different studios, including power vinyasa yoga classes in heated rooms. Some people like to sweat a lot. I don't mind it too much - as long as I don't get light-headed and dizzy. That happened to me once or twice in a heated room when it was summer time and humid outside. The combination of that plus hot-flashes (I'm 46) was not pleasant! I think you have to listen to and respect your body.

    As for the bold text highlighted above, I much, much prefer some individualized attention and postural correction. I believe that's how we learn and develop a stronger practice. In addition, when teachers really pay attention to their students (rather than simply leading a class in postures) they can make sure that the students are doing the asanas correctly, with proper alignment and therefore with less of a risk of injury. Just my opinion.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]2Poodles :flower: Southeast PA
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  • webjockeywebjockey Registered Users Posts: 2,786
    the majority of the bikram classes I've take do not have very adjustment-heavy hands-on teachers. Ashtanga can be very "yank and crank" depending on the instructor. In an Ashtanga class, I'm pretty much guaranteed to be touched at least one time in class.

    One of the many reasons I don't teach Ashtanga. It requires a great deal of skill to not hurt someone.

    Just my opinion regarding yoga is that if you have a mirror, you can easily see everyone else, and fall into the competition trap.
    hello.world.
  • wild~hairwild~hair Registered Users Posts: 9,890 Curl Neophyte
    Yeah, the mirrors ... I just don't think it's possible to avoid comparison, competition, etc. It's hard enough without mirrors.

    I wear glasses and have horrible vision. Because of all the sweating and upsidedown-edness of it all, I remove them. So I really cannot see much in my classes. [I mostly do Ashtanga primary series classes, so I can get away with this, because I know the sequence and the asanas.]

    Anyway, it's quite nice not to see anything. I just really focus on my breath, my own practice and the teacher's voice.
  • SleighSleigh Registered Users Posts: 1,226
    with bikram classes - make sure you give yourself time to adjust to the heat. this can take up to 14 times. if you feel dizzy or weird SIT DOWN OR LEAVE.

    you will need to drink ridiculous amounts of water. i did hot power yoga and would drink 100 oz+ water.

    make sure you get electrolytes and eat bananas

    (i just finished a yoga teacher training for hot power yoga and i hate the heat...lol ah well)
    2c hair. maybe a little porous? my hair likes suave, vo5 and the big tease. going to be trying more lush soon. not sure how i feel about dr bronners.

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