I respect all yoga. But my true love is (and always will be) Bikram Yoga. As a practitioner for 7 years and a teacher for almost 6, I may be a little biased, but I have my reasons. Here are my top 5.
#1 It’s hot. Not luke warm, not sort of hot, HOT. 105 degrees and 40 percent humidity. The heat not only warms your muscles making them more pliable, but it also thins your blood allowing it to flow throughout your body removing toxins. The BEST part about the heat is the sweat. Drenching, detoxifying, and renewing sweat. Your clothes will be wet, your towel will be heavy, and your hair will be soaked.
#2 Consistency. Being a true, textbook type A personality, I really, really LOVE routines. In Bikram, there are 26 postures and two breathing exercises that take exactly 90 minutes to get through. Class is the same, every time. My schedule may be hectic and unexpected circumstances always pop up. But the one thing I can rely on to be the same everyday is my yoga class.
#3 The discipline. I’ve always been one to follow the rules, in fact, I thrive on structure. There are lots of rules in Bikram that provide discipline us type A’s love. No hand towels, water breaks only allowed in-between postures, stay in the hot room, and no personal items cluttering your mat. These are just a few. On top of the rules, the class is all about commands from the teacher, adding to the beautiful discipline of the practice. Feet together, toes and heels touching, arms over your head, interlock your fingers….and it goes on. There is no need to think. Just follow the commands and breathe.
#4 Ever-evolving postures. Even though the postures are always the same, it doesn’t mean they always feel the same. Everyday is different. Some days my body feels as tight as Tin Man and other days I feel like I’m flying (literally) through class. The goal is to never attach yourself to what your body feels. It’s all good. There is always room to learn more too. Just when I think I have a posture perfected, my teacher will give me a correction that rocks my world.
#5 It’s meditative. Spending 90 minutes simply listening and doing creates an amazing mind-body connection. Once you realize there is no need to think, the mediation sets in. I like to focus my eyes on one spot and do as little extra movement as possible. I’m in the posture, I’m out of the posture, I’m standing still, I’m breathing. Of course, the thoughts still creep in and that’s okay. I acknowledge and release whatever comes up. Learning to let go is the hardest part, but I have realized that if I can let go of all the unnecessary “stuff” in my yoga class, then I can certainly let go of it outside of the hot room.
By Courtney Marino
COPYRIGHT © 2015 COURTNEY MARINO, KARMALISTIC HEALTH