Are you one of those obsessive-compulsive characters who put a newly discovered song 10x on repeat until they can’t listen to it anymore? Or eat their new favourite food every single day until they can’t taste it anymore?
Well I AM, and I do these kinds of things =)) and my Bikram yoga experience has been pretty obsessive, but not exhaustive. That is, I really enjoyed my 6-day streak of daily practice, and I am not done or fed up with it. Going for day 7 would probably “tip me over the edge” and I may end up bored and fed up, so better quit while I’m still enjoying it and feeling keen to return.
So here’s some of the observations I’ve had throughout this journey:
+ I enjoy the warmth a lot and got much more comfortable with the room as days went by.
+ I really feel how easily I can get into a pose when I’m all “warmed up”. My flexibility has definitely improved with practice.
+ I like the mirrors, even though they’re not yoga studio standard. Really helped me adjust myself and improve in some poses.
+ It’s a great routine practice. Gotta admit: day 3 was tough! I was pretty sore and it took some mental strength to push through but I’m very glad I did. Once “in the zone”, practice feels amazing and natural. And I don’t get drowsy after class, rather energetic actually.
+ The teachers are great: super kind, warm, they address everyone by name and align as much as possible.
+ It’s a “no surprises” kind of class, the only difference is YOU, and how far you go today. Being a fully choreographed class has its advantages: you know what to expect and can never be disappointed. Many sometimes “blame it” on the teacher or the light or the music if they don’t enjoy their class – here it’s all about your personal focus… which also has its flip side:
– Bikram yoga lacks creativity: it’s always the same poses in the same order for the same duration in the same room at the same temperature. Great for personal benchmarking but in my last class my mind was drifting away as I already knew the drill too well…
– It’s always at least 90-min long (you may choose to extend you final savasana), so requires a significant time investment if you add the mandatory shower.
– It’s a bit heavy on the “admin side”: you need to shower, so have to bring toiletries & co. Also, you have to carry around your soaking wet clothes after class – suboptimal when you only get home many hours later.
– It’s not cheap, but can get cheapER with regular practice, esp. with unlimited passes. At 380 CHF for 10x pass it’s not the most affordable offering, rather on par with medium/large studios in the city, yet beware: you need to bring your own mat, otherwise you rent one at cost.
I read a lot about the controversy around Bikram, the founder of this concept, and the method itself, and I do see how some may struggle to see this as actual yoga. Still, it struck me that my fellow bikram yogis were of all ages, genders and sizes, in a much better mix than in all the studios I’ve been to date.
So Bikram must’ve done something right: he devised a movement concept that’s accessible to all!
This yoga style makes me think about the BodyPump or Hot Iron training concepts, which I also enjoy a lot. There’s something both liberating and empowering about routine: you know what you’re gonna get in class, and you’re in charge of how well it turns out for you.
I can’t sustain 6 days of practice per week but I’m going to come back to Bikram Yoga! Also because I already know half of the staff and they’re awesome 🙂 ♥