Sleeping in Savasana

My yoga journey

Bikram Franchise Rules

on January 24, 2016

You ever fall down a Google Spiral that leads you to something completely different from what you were looking for originally but is even more interesting. I was looking for advice on how to wear my hair during Bikram (mid length growing out hair is a pain) and ended up on the official Bikram yoga page. One of the things that I found really interesting on the website is on the Franchise page.

I’ve copied a few of the ones that I find interesting and my comments on them below,

  • Carpet is the only approved flooring. No other flooring is allowed including rubber, PVC, cork, wood, etc.

I find this really odd. Pretty much every other yoga studio or place that I’ve practiced yoga has had non-carpeted and easy to clean floors. Carpet isn’t the best surface to deal with sweaty people being on. Especially as you do some poses either side of your mat. I’m not sure how you clean carpets of so much sweat on a regular basis but that’s maybe why the studio smells of sweat.

  • Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises is permitted. No other styles of yoga (power, flow, etc.), Pilates, martial arts, silent classes, children’s classes, prenatal, music, or candlelight classes can be conducted.
  • Stand alone facility: no shared reception or locker rooms. Any adjacent establishment must retain a separate entrance.
  • The only approved amenities allowed include: retail, massage, sauna, and juice bar. No other healing arts, chiropractic, etc., are permitted.

I find these three rules a bit odd that they stop yoga studios from holding other classes in the space and restrict the studio owners income. Even if a studio has three classes a day (like the Edinburgh Studio does) then there is a huge time that the studio is empty and not able to be used for other things. Plus what’s the harm in sharing a reception with another space?

  • No physical contact, hands on corrections or adjustments of students is permitted (with the exception of Bikram).

I understand why this is a rule. I mean I’m super sweaty in class and I don’t want the teacher to touch someone else and then me. Plus Bikram classes are big, like 40 people minimum big, so giving hands on corrections would distract from the rest of the class and what they are doing.

  • Teachers to teach from the podium at the front of the room. No teaching from the back of the room; teachers to stand while teaching the class.
  • Wireless headsets are recommended for all studios. It is easier for students to hear the dialogue. It also saves wear and tear on the teacher’s vocal chords.

In the Edinburgh studio they don’t really follow these two points. The teacher walks about the room so that they can get a better view of everyone and don’t just stay on the podium at the front of the room. I’d find it a bit strange and impersonal if they did. The room we practice in small enough that the teachers don’t use headsets. I can see why in a bigger rooms it would be needed to save teacher’s voices.

  • Advanced class is taught only at Headquarters in Los Angeles by Bikram and Emmy. Outside of LA, advanced class can be practiced by teachers with no instruction. We have not trained or authorized teachers to teach the advanced series.

This is a bit odd. Basically it means that most Bikram students will never be able to try the advanced series. I understand wanting to keep it restricted to who can teach it and requiring different training before you can teach it but only two people? Is it really that special?

So yep some pretty odd rules to follow if you want to set up a Bikram studio. I’m not even going into the ‘Don’t wear Green’ thing in this post. I think that particular crazy needs a whole post of it’s own.


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