Bkram Yoga

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Nov 2012
1:07pm, 18 Nov 2012
16,807 posts
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OK, my thoughts on Bikram... (assuming you are doing strict Bikram and not just 'hot yoga').

First off, yoga consists of hundreds and hundreds of poses (thousands if you include the variations and modifications). Why restrict yourself to the same 26 every time?! Yoga can work every part of your body in every different depending on your needs, and so repeating the same sequence over and over again means you miss out on a whole loads of benefits.

Second, yoga is about working with your body, working out what it needs (which will change from day to day, week to week, year to year...), listening and understanding it, becoming more aware of your strength (and weakness!). You can't get that from doing the same thing over and over without any heed to whether that is what is right for your body right now. Especially as Bikram has a competitive/progressive element to it, it's often about getting further and deeper and lower every time. Yoga isn't about achieving PBs in poses, it's about learning to feel your body and restore it to it's potential - sometimes your body needs to back off in order to do that.

Third, the hot room thing. The risk of fainting or dehydration is high. And all it does is teach you how to stretch in heat. Given that you'll spend most of the rest of your life at a much cooler temperature, it's much safer to learn the range of movement and signals of how far your body can go at room temperature. Otherwise, when you do your warm ups or cool downs for a workout of any kind, or even if you're just reaching for something in an awkward cupboard, what your mind remembers of your body in a hot room will be further than what your body can do in a cool room, and it's very easy to go too far.

My last objection is more of a philosophical one. The Bikram sequence is copyrighted, and you have to pay to use it. You can only do it in heated rooms in studios, so you have to pay for that - home (free!) practice is very difficult. The school organises yoga competitions, which is about as far away from how yoga should be used it is possible to get. And there have been innumerable sex scandals involving Bikram and his students during courses. It's all just a bit off...

Any form of dynamic, power, vinyasa flow or Ashtanga yoga is a much better option if you like a very physical style of yoga that gets your heart rate up and includes a lot of strength elements to it. And once you've got the basics, you only need a class once or twice a week at most as you can do it at home. There are some great DVDs around these days too.
Nov 2012
2:09pm, 18 Nov 2012
130 posts
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Well said - my comment on Bikram on Keiren's blog echoed these sentiments. There are yoga classes that are 'pushing' people, and it's no wonder they are getting injured
Nov 2012
12:42am, 19 Nov 2012
3,542 posts
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Thanks KinkyS, for the detailed response :)

I am doing the Bikram style. I don't think it's something I could do long term for exactly the reasons you have mentioned and I'd probably get bored.

As a runner, I am aware of the the risks of dehydration and drinking too much water. I think any runner that has tried to train in the summer or run a marathon, has seen the related warnings.

Those that have read my blog will know I found some guidance from videos featuring yoga's Iyengar. He outlines how to get the most out of the pose, what parts to think about.

One thing I do like about the Bikram sequence is that it's quite easy. I'll be back to weight training tomorrow and I have tried to do the Sun Salutations on the same day previously and I can't - I burn out. With Bikram, I should easily be able to weight train.

After 5 days of doing Bikram here are my likes / dislikes:

* No one has warned me about the dangers of drinking too much water. They warn you at marathons, should be the same here.
* I've done some yoga poses before at other classes and from following videos -I got guidance there. With Bikram there is not really any guidance or correction on poses.
* Knees! To their credit the instructors do warn about the knees in 'awkward pose' but there is no warning for the tree-like pose. I would consider the ligaments on the side of the knee high risk. I know countless people the have done irreparable damage here (bikers / football etc). A nod of caution would suffice.

Although a different pose, the point I am getting at is here:

* Dead Body pose. A classic yoga pose. I never got this in other classes because I always had 'leaving' in my mind. I use the time in Bikram to cool down. It's true quiet time for me. It's nice. I could have got this from anywhere but it clicked at Bikram
* I like being somewhere hot when it's cold outside.
* There is limited evidence of exposure to heat increasing growth hormone. Might help me recover faster from injury / weights

I'm paid up so I'll be there for another 3 weeks, after that I hope to get a good ashtanga video and do about 3 hours a week at home
Nov 2012
12:56am, 19 Nov 2012
7,909 posts
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I've been following this a bit (and the discussion in Kieren's blog). I'm interested and saw the Iyengar book recommendation, which looks good. Are there any DVD recommendations for either the Iyengar or Ashtanga methods? I'm sure a book would be a great source of info (and I will buy one) but I'm sure a video would also be really useful.
Nov 2012
1:13am, 19 Nov 2012
3,543 posts
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I'm happy to take recomendations too but in the mean time, I'll dump some of my youtube favorites in here. Perhaps the more experiences can note any good / bad ones:

1. Power Yoga (75 mins)

I haven't done this one but skipped through it and it looks good

2. Power Yoga with Bryan Jones (30 mins)

I like this one - short so I can do it on my lunch break - hard to make an excuse not to do it.

3. BRYAN_KEST_POWER 2 parts (2nd should be linked on side)

Looks good also, again I have yet to try

Unfortunately 8 others that were in my playlist have been deleted :(
Nov 2012
7:29am, 19 Nov 2012
1,514 posts
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Karen S
I recommend the following:
- iyengar yoga dvd by julie brown - practice and ejoy I think its called. She is one of the senior iyengar teachers in manchesdter and highly recommended.
- try www.iyengaryoga.org.uk to search fo iyengar yoga classes and teachers in your area and other info on books etc
- ashtanga yoga book try gregor maehle - ashtanga yoga practice and philosophy an excellent book with good references to anatomy
- ashtanga dvd try david swensons ashtanga dvd.
All of above available on www.yogamatters.com

For me I practice both iyengar and ashtanga. Iyengar to learn the postures correctly and safely and to have a wide access to a range of postures as you are limited somewhat by bikram or ashtanga. However once you have a good understanding and awareness of postures and how to work then ashtanga builds stamina and focus on breath flow which can be lacking in some iyengar classes.
Nov 2012
9:41am, 19 Nov 2012
1,515 posts
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Karen S
Link to one of the best books for clear explanation of postures. I've had this book for 20 years now and still refer to it often. I have lots and lots of yoga books and this is top of my favourite list!

Links for above books/DVDs below
Nov 2012
7:17pm, 19 Nov 2012
7,910 posts
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That's great. Thanks!

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About This Thread

Maintained by Kieren
I'm at that annoying point, coming back from injury where I can run a little bit - that is much mor...

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