Question: Is Bikram Yoga too focused on the Physical? Is it a dominantly physical practice?
Answer: Well….some people do say, “Yes.”
I have heard it over and over. Things like: “They are so focused on their bodies.” Or: “those mirrors – they are so vain.” “Competitive”. Or: “You can’t possibly go within when you have all of that heat and sweat and light.”
My response to these answers is that 1) they are coming from the outside looking in, making a judgment without experience.
I’ve been practicing bikram yoga for almost 12 years now. According to the Western world (and my recovering internal body critic), I should look differently. I should be thin by now!!!! Shouldn’t I?
Well, I’m not.
First of all, being and/or getting “thin” is not (nor should be) the goal of yoga. Yoga means “union.” It is my understanding that this union is about optimal health – mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
The author is a scientist, musician, and occasional computer programmer based in Lansing, MI.
He is a founding member of “Los Tres Yogamigos”, BYCA’s premiere yoga buddy challenge team.
I suffered from chronic back pain for fifteen years. Episodic attempts at cultivating a yoga (or Pilates, or Alexander technique, or self-medication) practice would temporarily ease this pain, but it was not until I moved to Lansing and had the opportunity to practice the 26+2 sequence daily at Bikram Yoga Capital Area (BYCA) that I was able to make the (hopefully somewhat permanent) changes to the structure of my spine that were necessary for me to sit comfortably and live without chronic pain.
Those with at least one to two years of regular practice and 250 or more classes’ experience in the traditional 26&2/Bikram Yoga method are invited to join us for a unique practice intensive in intermediate preparations and postures in the Ghosh lineage. This round will be an immersive, daily, morning practice (6:15 am – 8:15 am) for the entire month of July, held Monday through Friday for four weeks (with the exception of Friday, July 14).