that is what bikram means, in a nutshell. it is the devil's yoga.
anyone who knows me knows that i love love love yoga!!!! i live for it! i crave it! i want it everyday! it is my drug! i am a yoga slut! that being said...bikram yoga can kiss my ass.
i try to do yoga everyday. when i don't do it everyday, i kinda get the blues. it keeps me sane, gives me energy, keeps me fit, makes me feel young, makes my ass look pretty damn hot and keeps me from killing people. that's some good shit right there! on saturday i woke up eager to go to my regular "hour of power" vinyasa class. but alas, i was not able to make it due to a sick hubby and child. jack had a sore throat sumpthin' awful and reese was having a mild asthmatic episode. it was pouring rain out and jaymes had a soccer game. i just couldn't ask my darling husband to get out of the warmth and coziness of our bed to take jaymes to her game so i could scamper off to yoga...that wouldn't be too cool of me. i took jaymes to her game and figured i would catch a later yoga class. her mustangs killed the jedi knights, adding yet another win to their undefeated season. it was awesome!! after the game, jaymes and i did breakfast at the cadillac cafe and some window shopping. it was nice to hang out, just the two of us! by the time we got home, reese was feeling better, but jack was feeling worse, so he took the night off work. by early afternoon, i was jonesing for yoga. i had missed my window of opportunity to go to a different power vinyasa class at my studio, but then i remembered that free pass i had for bikram...
i did bikram once about 8 or 9 years ago. i hated it! but i was not in the best shape when i did it long ago. i got out that bikram free pass and said to myself "go on...give it another chance." i have shit talked bikram for years, and honestly, was hoping that taking the class now that i am all yogi and such, i would change my opinion of it.
i do power vinyasa. vinyasa = flow, power = hot. moving meditation, flowing with each inhale and exhale. every class is different. we move through dozens and dozens and dozens of different and beautiful poses in a room heated to about 95 degrees. bikram is 26 poses. in the same order every time. the room is supposed to be about 105 degrees. i arrived early to acclimate myself to the heat. as soon as i walked into the yoga studio, i felt as though i'd been hit in the face with a sizzling hot frying pan. i checked the thermostat and it said 113. it was like 90 minutes in hell. please allow me to illustrate the many other issues i have with bikram....
yoga, in sanskrit, means "to unite" or "to join". as the class began, the instructor stated that if we needed to take child's pose, please do, but under no circumstances are we to leave the room. did he really just say that?? i immediately felt as though i was in a nazi concentration camp and the only thing i wanted to unite was my fist to his face. not very yogic, i know. the class started with this odd breathing motion that i found to be annoying and uncomfortable, but when we finished, he stated that we would go right into half moon pose. i was delighted! ardha chandrasana is a favorite of mine, although it is never a pose done at the start of class. but what was this???? bikram half moon was merely a side bend. ok, that was lame. and later in class, triangle pose! great! another fave. but it wasn't triangle, it was pyramid. similar, but not the same. why aren't the names of these poses universal in the yoga world?
the way bikram people do half moon...
the way sane people do half moon or ardha chandrasana....
shortly after class began, i could literally feel my heart beating in my head. the heat was sure to be my downfall. as we moved boringly from one pose to another, the teacher would say things like "your shoulders should be hurting in this pose" or "if your lower back doesn't hurt, you're not doing it right" or "your forehead must touch your knee, if it's not, you're not doing it right"! wtf??? what kind of torture was this? yoga should not hurt. ever. if it does, you've gone too far. the "feel good" kind of pain that comes with a good stretch is different, but shoulders and low backs should never hurt. there is something to be said for working your way into a pose, building up to a pose gradually until it's comfortable for you and you should always be able to breathe. and why is he just standing up there? the teacher stood on a raised platform wearing a madonna~like microphone in this smallish studio. he never once did a pose, nor did he walk around doing any adjustments. as a yoga instructor, i can't tell you how important it is to walk around your class and help your students. the studio could have just played an audio recording of instruction and it would have been just the same.
i've always heard that yoga can make you fart, although in my years of taking it, i've only ever heard it happen a handful of times and they have sounded pretty tame. well, not here. people were farting with wild abandon from all corners of the room throughout the entire class. and not just the little farts i'd heard at my studio. these crazies were shitting their pants, i'll swear. there must have been a mexican buffet in the lobby that i missed. mental note to self...grab a chicken taco on the way out.
about an hour into class, i turned my head to look at the clock to see how many more minutes of this hell i must endure. "DON'T LOOK AT THAT CLOCK!!" the teacher barked at me. about this time i was seriously going down. i fancy myself as pretty hardcore, yogawise. but the heat was killing me slowly. not only was the stench of the sweaty, fart~filled space getting to me, but the man to my right must have bathed in his cologne before class, and the more he sweat, the stronger the scent became. i thought i might vomit. my head was pounding, my stomach was nauseous, i closed my eyes in the poses and tried to meditate myself to a place of peace. an igloo in siberia where people don't fart. almost there.... "DON'T CLOSE YOUR EYES! KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN!!" ok, there goes my igloo. why can't i close my eyes???? i picked up my water bottle, the metal was so hot it nearly seared my hand. i was asked to put it down. dude, you can fuck off, seriously! my nausea worsened. 15 minutes left. i wanted to run. screw this, this is sheer torture!!!! but i'm no quitter, so i talked myself out of running. don't puke, don't puke, don't puke....
i didn't hurl. but i was not zen when class was over. i felt edgy, irritated, short~changed. there were no down dogs, no chaturangas, no twists, no inversions, no pigeon, no trikonasana, no ardha chandrasana, no bakasana. i felt frustrated and spiritually raped. not once did the teacher talk about the importance of breathing as a way of connecting to your practice. breathing is the single most important focus of a healthy yoga practice.
i left the place feeling dizzy and weird. i was seeing spots and couldn't focus. it was pouring rain, still, and by now it was dark outside. i had to sit on a bench for about 10 minutes before crossing the street to my car because i couldn't differentiate the spots i was seeing from the headlights of oncoming traffic and i didn't want to get hit by a car. my face was as red as a tomato and my yoga clothes we completely soaked with sweat. i sweat a lot at my regular yoga, but not like this. i'm certain that if i'd removed my clothes and wrung them out, at least a gallon of sweat would have come out.
i will stick to my regular, amazing, not~boringly sequenced power vinyasa thankyouverymuch!! that free pass was good for a week. thank you, no, i will not be returning. bikram isn't for everyone. but just who is bikram for? people who like to hang out at the earth's core? people who enjoy being set on fire? stare at the sun?
now...where is that buffet...?