To Bikram or Not to Bikram?

First, I want to say that I love yoga. I’ve been doing it on and off for several years. I always feel so refreshed after a good class. I’ve done various types of yoga, including hot. Whether or not I enjoy a class depends on many things- how I’m feeling about myself and my life at the time, the teacher, the alignment of the planets, etc.

Yoga CatIt’s been a while since I’ve gone to a class, mainly due to the stress of moving, starting a new job, losing a parent. I’ve done a bit here at home, but it’s not the same. I’ve been looking to get back at it, mostly because I’ve been feeling less than great about myself. I was super excited to see a Groupon for a yoga studio close to my house. Alas, it was for Bikram yoga. I’ve done hot yoga, but never specifically Bikram. I like a challenge, so I figured why not? I also like to go all in, so I purchased the 20 class card instead of the 10. We had one last snow day yesterday. I was getting a bit stir crazy. I figured, what better way to get out of the house and get warm than to go to a hot yoga class?

I hated every second of it.

Some of the things were 100% my fault, and I think some were the teacher and the class.

I’m not too proud to say that I was incredible unprepared for the class. First, as I said above, it’s been a while since I’ve done any yoga. Needless to say, I was not in the best shape. Second, I was not nearly hydrated enough. Didn’t have enough water the day before, not enough water the morning before class, and definitely not enough water during class….plus, halfway through the class, the water left in my bottle was approximately the temperature of hot soup…refreshing!

The other things I think had more to do with the teacher and the class itself. This teacher, while very nice and welcoming, had a major case of motormouth. She. Would. Not. Stop. Talking. Seriously…there was a moment where I felt like I was in a Micro Machines commercial from the 80s. Maybe I’m just picky, but I usually like the teacher to say just enough to get me in the right pose and remind me to breathe. That’s it.

And it wasn’t just how much she was saying, but what she was saying too. She kept telling us that it should hurt. Ummm….no? I’m cat-yoga-hurtsnot expert, but I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to be painful. I do realize that part of the challenge is to push yourself and it’s not always comfortable. Maybe that’s what she meant? But I have some major issues about encouraging someone to induce physical pain in the name of “health.” She also kept telling us to lock our knees. Perhaps I’m being old school, but I always thought locking your knees was a big no no. In fact, every other yoga class I’ve ever taken as emphasized not locking your knee in a pose.

As if all of this wasn’t enough, the thing that really put me over the edge was when she told me not to drink my water. Granted, we were only about 20 minutes in…but dammit I was thirsty! She knew I was a newbie. I guess I was hoping she would but me some slack. Nope. In front of the whole class she scolded me and told me to put my water bottle down.

Pardon my French, but Fuck. That.

Alas, since this happened pretty early on in the class, I spent the next 70 minutes stewing about it. I felt annoyed and deflated for the rest of the time.

Afterward, one of the other students came over to say hello and welcome me to the group. That was nice. But I have to say, overall there was a dark cloud over the whole thing. I also felt bleh the rest of the day (this one was all my fault. Again, hydration.)

At this point, I’m thinking about what to do next. I still have 19 classes to do. Do I try another class with a different teacher? Or do I call it a loss and walk away?

Anyone out there a fan or hater of Bikram that would like to give me their 2 cents?

5 thoughts on “To Bikram or Not to Bikram?

  1. Hater right here. I hate Bikram for many reasons. It’s way to hot. It’s the same poses every time, I need more variety to keep me interested. The room usually smells. I hate hearing the sound of sweat dripping all around me. I feel like crap afterwards, and usually really weak. Unlike regular, or even, hot yoga that makes me feel good. Bikram yoga is voluntary human torture.

    1. Amanda- I think you’ve hit the nail on the head right there. And what’s up with the carpet? Bleh. I may try one more class because I already paid for it, but I’m definitely not going to end up a Bikram convert.

  2. Finding the right yoga teacher is akin to finding the perfect bathing suit. It takes time, energy, and a ton of trying on for fit! I found my perfect yoga teacher the very first time I went, but then she moved to California 2 years later, and I went out and about trying to re-create my experience with her. Ultimately, I still have not found what I am looking for 5 years later. Hang in there, and don’t give up on yoga….I still haven’t. Personally, I am NOT a fan of hot yoga or super regimented yoga. If you want a good style to try that is good for beginners I would look for a Viniyoga class or a Yin yoga class ;). I completely agree with the minimal talking aspect too!

    1. Thanks Jen! I agree it takes a lot of trial and error to find the right yoga teacher. I had a couple of really great ones at Home Yoga in Seattle. Alas, my search for a good teacher in Oregon continues. I hope you find someone great!

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