It’s almost been 6 years since I last wrote about going back to Bikram Hot Yoga. All the studios around the city changed their name and don’t call it “Bikrams” anymore due to the controversy against the founder, and have settled back to the generic, yet descriptive name of “Hot Yoga.” It irritates me however because I can’t seem to find a hot yoga studio (Bikrams or not) that gets as hot as the classes I use to take when I started in 2012. I heard clients were complaining of the heat so in order to attain business, the studios had to turn it down. Not sure if this is true or not but I get it, it’s business first— unfortunately that only defeats the purpose of hot yoga!
Since this is a circumstance out of my control, I try to make it work. I found a studio that is much hotter than others, and I just try to go deeper into my poses and flow state to get all the benefits out of it, and I have loved every session I’ve had so far. This is a lot more fun than other types of yoga for me! I started again last spring but I stopped after a month when I moved away, and now it has begun again when I went with my best friend to an Inferno Hot Pilates class (Bikram is much harder!).
What has always attracted me to Bikram Hot Yoga is the predictability of it all.
I tried to practice yoga regularly and it is just not for me, so for someone who never plans to have a regular yoga practice (although, never say never!), this class with the exact same sequence of 26 poses in a heated room for 90-minutes at a time is the perfect practice for me to get into the right state of mind. I don’t need to worry about “what the next move is” or frantically glance around class to see what others are doing, throwing me out of my meditative state, or snoring while in savasana because unless it’s intense, I’m usually tired and fall asleep. I have a pretty established meditation and “stretching” routine I am very dedicated to, so I just don’t want to make the time to do a “regular” yoga class.
Bikram hot yoga is the perfect combination of meditation and intensity through discomfort.
Some yogi’s are pretty serious about the practice and don’t consider hot yoga proper “yoga” because you are supposed to be cultivating energy, not dispersing it. However, I don’t care for those politics and details— all that matter is that I know that this practice works for me, and makes me feel good. As I’ve always said: DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY. I don’t go to hot yoga for “yoga” or a workout since it hardly feels like one. I go to Bikram because I feel the meditative benefits so deep in my soul, and I feel I am really cultivating resilience through discomfort we obtain from the heat. Of course, it’s also how hard you push yourself in each class. It’s an indescribable spellbinding feeling when your mind connects with the heat that travel through your body after a pose, and you realize what it is: the energy of life.
With that being said, there is no “right yoga practice,” only one that aligns with your philosophy, lifestyle, and goals.
You maybe repeating the same sequence at every Bikram Hot Yoga session, but every class is different.
Some days you will feel stronger, some days you can go so deep into a pose that you even amaze yourself, sometimes your hips will feel so stiff that you can barely even go down more than 20 degrees in your half moon pose, some days your minds will wander more, other days you will be completely focused and surrender easily to the calm. I remember going to a 6am class before work a few years ago, when it was that time of the month and I was exhausted from a late night of work; I felt weak and delirious but I took it easy and simply focused on sticking until the end even though I just wanted to get out. Nevertheless, I felt soooo much better when class was finished. Recently, I’ve been feeling so strong and invigorated in every class, but I know the next one could be completely opposite. Whatever happens, I never anticipate it and I will always accept and surrender to my body and it’s feelings. “Deal with it when it happens” is one of my philosophies (although doesn’t always work in my favor but more on that next time, hah).
Every single class teaches you to be aware of your body and to appreciate it more and more, and every class makes your mind stronger and more resilient.
These days, I appreciate Bikram Hot Yoga because I am there to meditate and to build my resilience. No way do I think I can “lose weight” or “detox” in a hot yoga class—seriously run away from anyone claiming you can “detox your body” through hot yoga!! However, I believe it can “detox your mind.” In that extraordinary 90-minutes, I know I can completely have it all to myself while doing a low-impact exercise for my mind, body, and soul which is the perfect compliment to all my other hectic, albeit rewarding activities in my life.