90-minutes to Spare: Taking the Time to Look at the Original 90-minute vs. the 60-minute Bikram Class
Bikram Yoga is 90 mins, and in recent years there's been a huge increase in 75 mins, 60 mins and even 45 mins classes that gives you a workout but allows you to 'save' time. One one hand it offers versatility and gets a workout in on busy days, but on the other hand, is society so intent on doing so much that we try to shorten everything so we can rush off to the next thing. However, what does that extra half hour away from the hot room actually give you? Please take two minutes to readthis blog which gives some insight between the two classes:
"I'm worth 90 minutes."
John Salvatore is well known in the Bikram world as one of the most charismatic and entertaining teachers in the room. I have been fortunate enough to take his class several times, and loved it every time. His personality isn't just for in the room, having spent time with him, I know firsthand that his friendliness and zest for life extends to every part of his life. He's also a performer for the Jersey Boys in Las Vegas. While that certainly helps with his stage presence as a teacher, he also credits Bikram Yoga not only with helping him to focus mentally, but also with finding a connection with the human spirit through teaching.
"One of the main tools I use for keeping mentally focused and present onstage is my daily yoga practice.
Not only do I practice yoga once a day, I also have been a certified Bikram yoga instructor for 13 years,
teaching five to six 90-minute classes per week."
In recent years there's been a lot of hype about Bikram Yoga, and with the good comes the bad. Over the last year or so I've read articles and heard people go on and on about what they don't like about it, some even not liking it because of the man who started it, rather than the method itself. As with all things in life, this particular style won't suit everyone, but is that any reason to condemn it? This well written article written by a studio owner and teacher highlights some of these points, and shows that it's all about how you approach it, as well as address some of these 'negative' points that have been brought up.
There's often a misconception that just because you are a yoga teacher, you are somehow holier than thou and free from thinking and acting like any other people. Just because someone has the job title of a yogi doesn't mean they behave that way. As both a student and a teacher, I can safely say that spending most of my 20s in this industry, the one thing I am sure of is that in reality, yoga teachers are just like normal people, and that their behaviour; whether good or bad is a choice. Having the title of a teacher doesn't automatically make them better people.
I had a bit of a laugh reading this article, even though it sounds ridiculous it's amazing how many people do think like that. I remember when I first started Bikram yoga I never thought of my teachers having a life or wondered what they did outside the room, instead all I knew about them was what I saw during the time I was at the studio. As I went more and more and got to know them, it was like a lightbulb moment when I realised they were normal people, with their own lives outside the room and their own challenges in life, yet every day they're in the studio with a smile on their face helping the hundreds of people coming in for class.
Bikram Yoga consists of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. It's designed for everyone, any body shape or type, any age and all levels of practice. There is also an advanced series for experienced practitioners with 84 postures. From the beginners and the advanced series, yoga competitors choose 6 postures and during a 3 minute routine, they demonstrate their practice. Over the years I've heard people for and against the competitions, but each year more competitors sign up and it's still going strong, with the goal of reaching the olympics one day.
It's always amazing seeing all the different people who come into a yoga studio, over the years I've met career professionals, stay at home mums, holidayers, sports people, injured people searching for rehabilitation, dancers, kids and seniors all looking for peace of mind and improving their overall health. In fact my husband and I met at one of the trainings, where he was on staff and I was a visiting teacher. Fast forward a year and we're married with a baby on the way!
There's been a lot of negativity about Bikram yoga in the press lately, but most of it has to do with the man himself, rather than the practice of Hatha Yoga. What bothers me is how people start confusing the two together; and either ridicule or put down Bikram yoga as if overnight the therapeutic benefits have been replaced by a hype of too strict postures in a overheated room that will harm people. Each style of yoga has their own discipline and set of rules, so why is Bikram yoga any less than Vinyasa or Ashtanga. I love this article, as it brings it back to why it is the way it is, and the importance of staying true to the individual practice.
This article and video is a great visual aid to help with the simple exercise of stretching. Seeing and knowing the muscles that you are working on helps greatly to target certain areas, especially if you have a weakness or an injury. As a yoga teacher and practitioner stretching the right way is a vital part of my daily life. Stretching can help improve flexibility and in turn increase the range of motion in the joints. Improved flexibility decreases the chance of injuries by allowing the muscles to work more effectively and improve performance in physical activities. Stretching correctly with proper technic will maximise these benefits.
"I am not what happened to me,
I am what I choose to become"
Carl Gustave Jung
I'm Binny, a full time Bikram Yoga teacher and studio owner that lives in Perth, Australia.
I started this blog to share the things I love the best in the world: being healthy and happy, food (especially raw), yoga, traveling and most importantly, learning how to love and be true to myself.
I suffered from severe digestive problems when I was younger, being gluten and lactose intolerant, and developed compartment syndrome and fibromyalgia in my teens. I have lived with constant pain for over 16 years now.
Over the past 10 years, I've shifted to a mainly plant based diet and realised that being well and healthy is a way of life. I have been teaching Bikram yoga since 2011, in the US and Australia. Due to my health issues I've also had a lot of bodywork done as well as explored alternative therapies.
I've become much more aware of myself as a result of all this - physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Right now I love my life. In my career I love what I do and I do what I love. I have traveled to some amazing places around the world and made lifelong friends. In between working and traveling, I cook up a storm in the kitchen, especially raw desserts, spend time with the people I love the best, which now includes a yoga husband, a mini yogini Estell, and our dog! I try to listen to my body the best I can.
I truly believe that we all have the power and the capabilities to heal our own bodies, to nourish the spirit and seek our own happiness and life's purpose. This my journey...