hot hot HEAT

I am a LITTLE bit obsessed with Bikram yoga right now.  Kate Jenkins has an AWESOME Studio in Vestavia.  Not ONLY is it super pretty, its strict on its rule (which I LOVE), as in…NO SHOES and it is always clean.  Annnnnnnnd didn’t really realize how OCD I was until that second.  Sorry.  Moving on.

So here is the big fat lengthy background on Bikram Yoga, what it is, who started it, etc. if you want to read all of that (I love Wikipedia tangents! It is really satisfying to me to click-through about 97 articles and find new lines of information…)  But – If Wiki is not for you, here is the short end of it…

Bikram Yoga is a system of yoga that Bikram Choudhury synthesized from traditional hatha yoga[1] techniques and popularized beginning in the early 1970s.[2][3] Bikram’s classes run exactly 90 minutes and consist of a set series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. Bikram Yoga is ideally practiced in a room heated to 105°F (≈ 40.6°C) with a humidity of 40%,[citation needed] and is the most popular form ofhot yoga (a series of yoga poses done in a heated room)

Yes, you read that right.   105 degrees.  ANNNNND thats what it starts at.  When you get 30+ people in there, it just gets….well…shall we say a little warmer?

Kate’s studio offers an intro month for $40 – which, I am SORRY kids, that is a flipping STEAL.

THINGS YOU WILL NEED:

Large water bottle 😉  Maybe that is too big? But whatever.  It seems to be JUST enough for me

A mat.  I have a prAna mat, which I love, but starting out you can just use WHATEVER.  A lot of the kids have this towel-like mat….and it allows you to have one piece of equipment instead of two!

Skidless® Premium Towel by Yogitoes®

A mat towel like this….or whatever you can find.  Beach Towels work too!  Something to mop up the “toxins” flowing out of your skin.  And they WILL flow out.

Hot Move Short

SHORTY SHORTS  -The shorter the better.  Im serious.  Don’t wear a lot of clothes.  It makes NO difference what you think of your body, what you think you should wear.  Take off a layer and realize that this is a yoga practice that forces you to look at your own body.  No one is starting at you, no one is seeing how your poses look….and for CERTAIN no one cares what you are wearing!

LAST BUT NOT LEAST – Open Mind.  Please bring your open mind.  Bikram Yoga will push you and it is NOT afraid of pain or pushing your limits.  But the further you PUSH the better you will be, the better you will feel and it will JUST continue to cause a rippled effect.

For my Birmingham Kids, if you want to visit, please LET ME KNOW!  I love it, and I would love to experience your first class with you!  For those of yall out of town – Google the closest studio to you and try out 2 classes within 24 hours, and just enjoy!

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One thought on “hot hot HEAT

  1. This book is incredibly readable and fun. Bikram’s breezy tone and brash opinions grab your eyes and hold your brain, whether or not you think you have any interest in yoga. Actually this book seems particularly geared to non-practitioners.The earlier chapters give historical background on yoga and Bikram’s autobiography. The yoga history is highly slanted to Bikram’s narrow view. Hey it is his book (and he won’t let you forget that, believe me) – he can analyze the murky and heavily disputed history of yoga entirely as he pleases. The autobiographical material is very interesting, both for light on Bikram himself and also his excellent multi-cultural contextual scene-painting. We are learning about India as we go. And we are seeing our own culture strangely refracted, through Bikram’s very perceptive lens. He has a sharp tongue though.His basic message is that American culture is great in some ways but that individual Americans are mostly unhappy and messed up, mentally and physically. Fortunately there is a one-size-fits-all cure, a true panacea – Bikram Yoga.Things Bikram Dislikes:TatoosExercise (running, tennis, aerobics, weights, team sports, … fill-in-the-blank!)Other styles and schools of yogaDrugs – medical and recreationalWestern medicine in generalActually it is strange that he dumps on weight training, because he points out pridefully in another section that his own beloved guru was some kind of weight champion and pioneering promoter of the practice. Whatever.He trashes the popular Iyengar style of yoga by sneering at the many mechanical props they use to control or achieve difficult postures. At least Iyengar came in for one full paragraph of dumping, while the extremely influential Ashtanga style is dissed off in less than one sentence as “‘never existed in India” (which is a very odd claim, as the 91-year-old meta-guru of Ashtanga, Sri Patabhi Jois, has lived in Mysore, India his entire life and he learned starting as a young teenager from his own guru right there.) It is also odd that Bikram makes a big deal of his historical claim that there are exactly 84 asanas or postures in traditional yoga. Other respected analysts have come up with 608 or other numbers. Anyway, Bikram made his own sequence by choosing the best 26 out of his classical 84.Bikram’s sequence is much shorter than Ashtanga’s Primary Series (not to mention the follow-on 5 additional Ashtanga series), and in practice it is simpler than Iyengar’s posture perfectionism and mechanical molding. So in that sense, it is a good practice for modern conditions (he does teach his full set of 84 postures, to advanced students only).His insistence that only his way is the “right way” to do Yoga reminds me of great Chinese masters of Tai Chi and Qi Gong (traditional breathing and stretching practices for energy cultivation). They ALL insist, just like Bikram, that only THEIR personal way is the universal right way. Almost every one of them has this same kind of ego. And every single one of them has students who would swear any oath that this one method is what cured them or enlightened them or conferred whatever benefit. Probably they are all right, in a sense.Bikram goes on and on and on about how TOUGH his sequence is, about how, the very arduous postures combined with long hold times combined with the high heat turns the classroom into a Torture Chamber and so forth. But in fact his asana’s are not noticeably more physically or psychically challenging than (for example) the Ashtanga Primary Series, in many cases far less so. And in Iyengar and Ashtanga yoga, asanas are held for extended periods.He explains the famous high heat practice room on just a few pages, saying basically (a) it is done to re-create Indian conditions; and (b) it helps loosen up the body. That’s probably fine, but various forms of yoga are traditionally done in Tibet and other cold regions – the high heat is not a fundamental requirement from their point of view. Maybe it does help some people loosen up more quickly.A few quibbles:- Only one photo per asana is provided, often at an angle that is very unrevealing and unusable for a beginner student’s reference. For example, the photo for Posture #10 (Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose) is at a head-on angle that obscures most of the body. Bikram does say you need to come to the school to learn, so maybe that is done purposely. Anyway, if you want to try the postures you’ll need another book on Bikram to get anywhere.- The descriptive text that accompanies each asana’s photo is often not well synched with the single photo. For example, the text for Posture #12 Toe Stand says hold your hands in prayer position (except when steadying yourself for balance on the floor) but the model’s hands in the photo are neither in prayer nor steadying position.Anyway. I really like his spicy writing, and his enthusiastic attitude. And the most wonderful feature of the book is the constant interplay and dialog that he sustains between India and America, East and West – all his teaching is contextualized and you’ll end up learning a tremendous lot about India and also (if American) about yourself, all in one nice package.As for the specifics of Bikram practice, I’m sure it is no less beneficial to its adherents (and readers of this books reviews will eventually have a chance to read comments from many of them, I’m very sure) than all the other zillions of types of yoga, qi gong, tai chi, therapeutic dance, cross conditioning, and so on that decorate our spiritual supermarket. I don’t think there’s any one pure truth in this realm. Probably any therapeutic or spiritualized exercise that you are attracted to will work well enough – for you. And the highest spiritual masters of India, such as Ramana Maharishi, have stated that all spiritual practices are merely needless distractions and hamster-wheel spinning – as there is nowhere to go, and no goal to be realized. I can only wonder if some version of Gibbon’s comment on the Roman Empire’s religions might apply:”The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful.”

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