The Essence of Bikram Yoga
As you step into the idea of taking a yoga class, you have your reservations and reasons why you wanted to become a “yogi.” The path of yoga often begins with the want or need to change something in your life whether it is mental, emotional, or physical. Whatever brings you to the mat, is an opportunity to learn, understand, and do things that you thought weren’t achievable before.
The Original Hot Yoga, Bikram Yoga, places you in a heated environment of 105 degrees, 40% humidity, and mirrors! Yikes! However, as you work through the 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises within 90 minutes, you strengthen your body and mind; you learn to conquer your fears, endure the heat, and to love your sweat and much more. This yoga practice serves to help you truthfully confront your insecurities and accept yourself as you are. More important than the rigor of mastering the postures and sequence, is being mentally present. If you bring the stressors of the world into the hot room, you’ll see it in your practice. When you steponto the mat, let it all go. The more frequently you practice, you’ll begin to experience a transformation within yourself– an awakening to a more mindful, present, and centered you.
Bikram Yoga came to the United States almost 50 years ago, so why do people continue to practice this specific yoga? Despite the heat and all the sweat?
Well, because it works! Millions of people across the world teach and practice Bikram Yoga and have gained better overall health from it. The 26 & 2 were intentionally chosen to target healing of the body and mind. “This yoga is a prescription: the time we stay in the hot room, the asanas, the heat and the breath”, affirmed Adrian Hummel, a five- year Bikram Yoga instructor. If you ignore or change the structure of the sequence, then you diminish the integrity of the yoga prescription. Just as you don’t take any shortcuts with medications, you don’t take shortcuts in the hot room. As Jean always says, “Come every day. This is medicine. You don’t just take medicine once! No! You take it every day!”
This tried and true-tested method of healing and therapy brings people back to the hot room. Additionally, the mental and physical challenge is addicting as you begin to learn to rely on yourself. The connection between you and your reflection in the mirror forces you to be accountable for all your actions and thoughts. This practice provides a platform to confront what is usually avoided.
People continue to practice this yoga because of how the body and mind feel after class. After all the bending, folding, lengthening, locking, breathing, and resting creates a space for real relaxation and healing. There is nothing like leaving the hot room and interacting with the other Yogis who’ve just experienced those same 90 minutes. You share your class experience. You laugh, smile, check-in and support one another, ultimately building relationships—building a community.
The essence of Bikram Yoga is beyond the heat, the 90 minutes, and 26 & 2 it’s that this practice provides people with what they need and never knew they needed: a healing relationship with themselves and an encouraging, positive, and diverse community.