Sleeping in Savasana

My yoga journey

Bikram Arrest Warrant

I’ve written about the whole Bikram case before and I still decided to attend Bikram classes. I love the practice but disagree with the man. I’ve made my peace with it.

However he’s not complied with the court ordered damages and now there’s been an warrant issued for his arrest. Given that he lives his life publicly and his teaching schedule is well known I don’t think it’ll be long before he gets arrested. How long he’ll stay in jail before he gives up his wealth is another question.

His ego is huge and I don’t quite understand how he can be so arrogant to think that this will just all go away.

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Back at Bikram 

As part of my plan of doing more yoga outside of teaching classes I’ve started back doing Bikram. I still don’t agree with the man himself and think he’s super creepy and weird but I love hot yoga and I love that it’s a fixed sequence. I guess it’s the same attraction as Ashtanga but I don’t seem to get injured with it and it’s more open and friendly than most ashtanga studios.

The timetable has changed a bit and one of the things that they’ve introduced is monthly Asana labs. It’s a 75 minute session looking at two or three poses in detail. I went along to the one at the start of March and it was really good.

It was quite informal with a lot of talking from Emma the studio owner. She’s super passionate about the benefits of Bikram and one thing that I got out of it is to keep coming along and get back on the mat. Even if injured and you only do 1% of the class that’s fine and better than doing zero.

We looked at locking the knee, not in any particular pose but in general. It was really interesting and good to be able to spend time looking in the mirror and focusing on just one part. I’m generally ok at doing it standing but as soon as I go into balances I tend to loose it and my hips go way out of alignment. I’ve got a clearer idea of what to focus on and how I can improve it.

The second pose we looked at was dancers pose. It’s a beautiful pose and one that the ego part of me loves to do. The focus of that pose was the shoulder opening. It’s not really something that I’ve thought about before but it was great to notice a difference and take time to work on it.

The class afterwards was great for putting the work into practice and I certainly noticed a difference in the poses where I focuses on just locking the knee and keeping it engaged. I didn’t get as far into the pose but if it means long term I’m doing the pose better then it’ll make a difference.

I’ve been back again since and I managed to do the entire class with only skipping a few poses and I hadn’t taken any painkillers since 8.30am that morning and didn’t need to take any afterwards. I guess it’s starting to work and I’m slowly getting used to the current depth that I can go to in poses without causing my hip pain.

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Hot Hot Class

I love the way some news stories are covered. This headline from the Guardian made me smile.

Unexpectedly hot yoga class evacuated after outbreak of fire

Yep, a Bikram studio had to be evaluated as there was a fire in the building. That’s taking hot yoga a step too far. Luckily no-one was hurt and the studio seems to be re-opened s I assume no major damage.

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Bikram and a BBQ

On Friday Bikram Edinburgh held a BBQ to celebrate the end of a 15 day challenge. Usually challenges as 30 days but this one was a bit special. A young boy call Sol has cancer and as his parents go to Bikram Edinburgh there has been various fundraising done for him. 

One of his friends wanted to do a yoga challenge to raise funds so at 11 year old set himself the challenge of doing 15 days of classes. I struggle to do two days in a row of classes so it’s an impressive feat for someone so young. The last class of the challenge was on Friday and followed by a BBQ. 

The class had a great energy and was a great class. We had two periods of spontaneous applause, during camel (as he had a perfect camel and the teacher pointed it out) and then just before final savasana. It was good to be part of it and to see how happy the challengers were. 

However I think I’d not quite got my water/fluids right before class. I seemed to be struggling and ended up with a horrible headache. I was planning to stay for the BBQ but I really wasn’t great so I headed home, which wasn’t great but again I’m trying to prioritise doing what make me feel good and aids my recovery so forcing myself to stay out wouldn’t do that. 

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Missing Practice

This week has not been a great week for practice. I didn’t make it to class on Wednesday night as I was waiting in for tiles that didn’t get delivered due to a mistake with the courier. I even had friends round to help carry the tiles up the stairs. It’s quite annoying but they are going to deliver them on Saturday morning instead. However this means I probably can’t go to my Saturday morning class at 11am either unless they deliver them before 9.45 and then I’ll have to carry the tiles up the stairs myself and will be exhausted.

As a result I’m going to attempt to do both Bikram and Ashtanga classes on Sunday. Which I’m quite nervous about doing as the last time I did this was the day that I injured my hip. Plus I’m going on holiday in less than a week for a week of yoga and surfing. Maybe I should just skip one of the classes but it does make me feel so much better when I do get on my mat.

 

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Water, it’s a useful thing

Last night I was sensible and went to Bikram but told the teacher that I was still injured so would be missing out a few poses and not going to my full potential in others. She was really good with this and encouraged me to do as much as I could and to back off anything that hurt. It also was the first class that I’ve done with no painkillers and it wasn’t too bad. I’m still having a few issues with full forward bends but they are just niggly rather than painful. Which is great progress.

So class itself was great and afterwards I had a quick shower to rinse off the worst of the sweat before getting changed and heading home. My plan was to have a lovely long hot shower when I got home and then get changed into my PJ’s and have some dinner.

Instead I got home to find the local water company digging up the road immediately outside my flat. At 8pm at night, under floodlights. This wasn’t a good sign.


The water was about to be turned off so I filled a bucket with water to put my sweaty clothes in to soak rather than in the washing machine, filled the kettle and a water bottle. Then I waited to find out if it would get turned back on before I went to bed, while my hair was super icky.

It eventually came back on at 10.30pm so I had a quick shower and washed my hair but it made me thankful that we have such easy access to fresh water in the UK. Can you imagine if that wasn’t a one off instance? That every week or so you turned on the tap and it didn’t work. In some parts of the world that’s the way things are and I’m thankful today that I don’t have to live like that.

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Learning to love what I see

Starting doing Bikram classes has been quite interesting. Not only in terms of a different type of moments and poses that I haven’t done in ashtanga/vinyasa yoga and the heat but also the mirrors. 

How often do you spend most of 90 minutes looking at yourself in a full length mirror? Especially while wearing shorts and a vest top. Then moving yourself into positions that your stomach might get squished or you silde gets compressed showing the rolls of excess down one side and sweating lots so everything clings more. It’s hard and not something that I’d done before. 

Having mirrors is great for checking your own alignment and being able to see how even you are in positions. It’s that this is me and I’m going to look at myself but that I struggle with on occasion.   

 

So yep this is me and this is what I wore to class yesterday. As you can see I still have my love of bright yoga clothes but this is a bit bright even for me. I love the top as it’s got a built in bra so I don’t need to wear extra layers. I certainly stand out. 

The other challenge of  looking at yourself in the mirrors is that you notice things out of place or riding up or that your hair is going a bit mental due to sweat and arms next to my ears even if you don’t feel them. One of the things that you try to practice in Bikram (and in all yoga) is not to add extra movements to the sequence, including fixing clothes or sorting hair. It’s really difficult at times but I’m starting to get better at it.
So yes I think that seven weeks into classes I’m learning to love what I see in the mirror. It’s not always the perfect pose or movement but it’s me and my pose as best I can do on that day. Acceptance is key.  

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Post January Yoga

This morning I made it back on my mat after a week off with the cold. I’m still quite full of snot but I thought hot yoga would help and I think it did. Bikram is meant to be a practice that you can do everyday even if you have a cold but so far I haven’t tried it when I haven’t been feeling 100% before now. It was still a good class. 

This mornings class was super quiet in comparison to the same class only three weeks ago. There were maybe 15 people there. It was good because it meant you got a clearer view in the mirror. 

I’m aiming on making it to class again tomorrow morning and hopefully again twice during the week. I missed being on my mat and I’m glad I haven’t given up at the end of January like some others who started in the new year. 

I guess I also was reminded of the importance of just getting on my mat as often as possible. 

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No green in Bikram

Following on from my post about the Birkam Franchise Rule, I’ve been looking into one particular rule more. No Green. That’s it, no explanation, no details, just don’t wear green.

In the Bikram Yoga Teacher Training FAQ the below is listed;

 

How many Yoga costumes should I bring?

As there are two classes a day, you will want to bring at least 4-5 Yoga changes with you. No bandeau tops. No green.

 

From various googling there seems to be a few different things behind it including,

“Bikram Choudhury famously does not allow yogis to wear the color green in his Los Angeles yoga center; one rumor has it, he associates green with a tragic personal episode.”
“He says green is an unlucky colour and bans it from all his studios.”
“Green is not recommended at Teacher Training. Be wise when you choose your colors!”
“Bikram hates the color green. Seriously. The offending hue is barred from anything related to the hot yoga empire that bears his name, from students’ apparel to the décor of the 500 Bikram-affiliated studios worldwide. I witnessed this personal quirk firsthand at a retreat with Choudhury in 2002, during which he ordered one attendee to remove a green bandana and sent another in search of a towel that was any color but.”
“Please try to avoid the color green. Don’t ask, just try.”

It basically seems to come down to Bikram Choudhury not liking the colour and it’s a bit extreme to impose it on thousands of others. I’ve had a look at both Sweaty Betty and Lululemon’s website and they do have a few things that are greeny blue but the don’t seem to have any hot yoga clothes that are just green. I’m not sure if this is just that currently green isn’t very fashionable or if it’s because bikram yoga people won’t wear them.

It does seem very odd and I don’t currently own any green yoga clothes that I would wear to hot yoga so it doesn’t really affect me. I had a look in my last class and the only person wearing green was a fellow back row person, who I think was on her second class. I don’t think that I’ve seen any of the front row or teachers ever wear green. The teachers seem to only wear black or navy blue.

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Bikram Choudhury to pay $924K

Bikram Choudhury has been ordered by the court to pay his former employee $924,000. It’ll be interesting to see if he appeals it or if he just accepts defeat and just pays it. I mean even his wife, Rajashree, seems to have stopped believing him and has filed for divorce.

I’m really enjoying doing Bikram Yoga currently and I feel the benefit from doing the practice. It’s a really nice studio with nice teachers who are super enthusiastic about However I don’t like the idea of any of my money ending up being paid to Bikram Choudhury, even if it’s only a tiny percentage of what I give.

I’m currently debating this and need to make a decision by Wednesday as that’s the first class that I’m planning on going to after my introductory pass has run out. I was planning on buying a block of 30 classes but now I’m not so sure.

It’s difficult to decide. If it was a straight forward I’m giving money to this man, who I feel has used his position to , then no I wouldn’t do the classes. Should I stop doing something that I enjoy and supporting a local business because that business in turn gives a small percentage of its funds to someone that I don’t agree with?

My current thinking is that I’m going to keep doing the classes and try to focus on the fact that the practice that I do may have been created by someone that I don’t agree with his actions but that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t created something that is good. I don’t agree with U2’s tax avoidance practices but that hasn’t stopped me from still listening to there music.

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