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Readers Respond: Bikram Yoga: Hot or Not?

Responses: 126

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Updated June 01, 2012

From the article: Bikram Yoga - Hot Yoga
Bikram Choudhury, the hot yoga innovator, is a very controversial figure in contemporary yoga. Some love his style and credit it with transforming their lives, others find him distasteful and his methods dangerous. What's your experience with Bikram yoga? Readers Respond

I have mixed feelings.....

I had a very bad Bikram experience. Several years ago, I used to teach yoga. I practiced a few times a week, either Astanga or "power flow" yoga. I went to this class expecting great things. And the teacher was awful! It's not that she didn't know what she was doing, she was highly skilled and knowledgable. I know that Bikram requires a special certification, so it's not like just anyone can hop up there and teach. But she was mean! I told her I had a few years experience with power yoga, and she looked at me like I was an inferior human being. She scoffed at my yoga rug (apparently, she also rents towels). She said things to the class like "if your hands are sliding, it means you are WEAK!" She told us to make sure we sweated only on the towels, so we could "take your stink with you" when we left. I was horrified. You know, my hip flexors had never felt better than they did after that class, but I refused to ever go back. Sadly it's the only Bikram studio in town. Too bad!
—EKJacques

I loved it

Bikram was actually the first style of yoga I tried and I was immediately hooked. After every class I felt like I'd had a great workout AND a full-body massage. There were definitely some teachers at the studio that were much better than others, in spite of the fact that they all receive the exact same training. Where I live now there is no Bikram studio, so I attend vinyasa classes which I also enjoy.
—FamilyFitness

Bikram caused my lower back pain

I was a Bikram devotee for about 3 years and loved going to class. Since I'm a Type A personality, I pushed myself and was able to get better and better each class. Unfortunately, the "pushing until you can't stand" or "bending over backwards until you can see the wall" really did a number on my lower back. As a result, I've suffered from (sometimes) debilitating back pain since leaving Bikram yoga. What has improved my back is a vinyasa practice which greatly helped my core strength, which the Bikram cadence of poses did not. No more bikram for me!!!
—Guest Denise

Bikram is not Healthy for me

I had been doing a challenging vinyasa yoga and am extremely flexible before I tried Bikram. Honestly I only tried it because it was so inexpensive to do 30 days in a row. I only went once, the room was way too humid with drops of condensation dripping from the ceiling(gross), the room smelled bad and the instructor was not a nice person. The sequence of asanas felt really bad for my body even though I was use to a much harder practice.
—Guest Shaki

DANGER! Ignorant Teachers

Unless you know already understand how to protect yourself with good body mechanics and alignment, DO NOT go to a Bikram Class. Bikram teachers are trained in fewer than 2 months. Most Bikram Instructors do not continue to educate themselves in proper research based biomechanics because they have a cult mentality. The will instruct you to hyper extend your knees, shed your spine, ignore the warning of pain, hyper extend your neck and do advanced poses with no clue as to the correct alignment of the skeletal structure. I have been screamed at to move my body out of alignment, as the Instructor was not only clueless and mal-informed but also arrogant, close minded and cultish.
—helaciousc

Generally good

I have been practicing Bikram for 3 years now and have a background in Iyengar yoga. I have to say that Bikram was the style which healed my knee injuries. The sequence is great and I am able to maintain my weight without too much fussing about calories. Having said this, I agree that the teacher is important. I'm afraid there are many Certified Bikram teachers who simply power trip and are insensitive to the students. I have had the opportunity to take classes however, with some really great teachers. These teachers tend to have backgrounds in other styles of yoga. I encourage anyone who does Bikram yoga to also open his or her mind to other styles and to not limit oneself to the socalled bikramisms.
—Guest Chrissy

Bikram

I've been practicing Yoga since my teens and am certified to teach as well. I've studied with some amazing teachers. I'm nearly 50. That said- I've been around. Regarding Bikram- it seems there are two camps. There are those into Bikram and those who aren't. In my personal observations, it seems the majority of those in the Bikram camp have never really had any other type of yoga experience. And if that's the case, Bikram has done a very good job of convincing these people that there is only one way. For the most part... They really do believe it. Ask any of them the history of yoga and they couldn't even tell you who Patanjali is or have even heard of The Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Nothing bad about them, but they just seem uninformed.
—Guest William

Still debating

I identify with many of the comments here, especially the "auctioneer," teacher. I couldn't understand 1/2 of what he said and when I could I heard, you "haven't done the posture yet until your knees are locked and your forehead touches your knee." Not much about this yoga seems healthy. Such high temps are breeding grounds for bacteria forget about detoxing. Many positions unless modified (which they don't) are dangerous such as bend your head back "until you see the wall behind you." I've gone 5 times now and my endurance has improved (1st time thought I would pass out, was literally shaking, dizzy, nauseous after even after sitting in the room for 20 minutes. 2d day I did only one position instead of two each time. 3d day I did a few more. 4th day did all with my own modifications and was lectured to about doing it "properly." Nazi yoga may be a more appropriate title. If I wasn't so competitive w/myself I'd forget the 5 classes I have left. I'm 60, flexible and practiced yoga 5yrs
—Guest Deirdre

I love hot yoga!

I love Bikram hot yoga. I have been going for a yr now. once of the best feelings is when the class is complete and you walk out feeling completely rejuvenated. One of the other things I do with my yoga is a complete wellness cleanse. It helps me get the full benefits of the yoga and cleanse the inside of my body, while the hot yoga cleanses the outside.
—Guest Miabella02

NOOOOOOO!

I'm admittedly pretty type A and have always been an athlete. My migraines and recurrent neck pain had become much worse and competitive sports that have been my lifetime passion, were still great cardiovascularly, but were bringing on migraines. It was suggested, by many, that I try yoga. After my Bikram experience, I think doctors and friends were really suggesting that I RElax. Here is what happened: I tried two days in a row, per their suggestion a horrific migraine---both days. I was well-hydrated and in good shape. I found the monotony of the instructor encouraging via script to "push, push, go farther, push harder..." So I responded by: pushing and going harder-just what I did not need to do. Read about the Bikram founder-he is ROLLING in it and coyly refers to it as a torcher chamber: who wouldn't lose weight? You can't eat before or after and are working for 90 minutes at 100 degrees. Maybe next I can gently stretch in the sauna or learn to meditate to, Om, RElax.
—Guest Coco

Pain for New Student

I went to Hot Bikram Yoga to improve my flexibility. I am fit and healthy female, regularly work out with TRX, Dumbells, cycle. On my first class, I wasn't advised on what to expect. Teacher was pushing everyone the same. As a strong minded and just strong person, I was pushing myself to the limits if not beyond. I was pretty much 'wiped out' for 2 days after, with a little energy and a mild back pain. Nevertheless, I'm went back in 48 hours. It was a different teacher, who atleast asked me couple of questions during the class but I pretty much was copying what others were doing. Now, since the morning after, I have a severe lower and mid back pain (shooting) when I change position from sitting to standing, lying to sitting, etc. I've been applying cold, ibuprofen in and out for 48 hrs with no improvement. Starting to feel feverish as well. Think a trip to a doctor is on the cards!! I'm not against Birkam Yoga, Maybe needs a difficulty option for beginners and better coaching? TMel
—Guest Mel T

best chance i have ever taken!

being genetically inflexible made me really second guess my choice of not only going to a yoga class, but a HOT yoga class! i went, did what i could do, sweated buckets and became totally addicted. this is a WORKOUT. it is hard, sweaty, breathe thru it type of stuff and i love every second of it. i am more flexible than i have ever been and plan on improving even more. my muscles are lean and defined and i leave feeling like i really accomplished something! give it a try!
—Guest Bikram all the way

underestimated it!

Thought I would try yoga to learn some new stretching I do a lot of biking and teach spin.So why not try it hot?I thought all the mind body stuff was bs but not anymore!I have never felt better physically and mentally .I just feel much more flexible and clearheaded.Its also helped with my classes . I am more confident and focused.Practice 5 or 6 days a week and see this as something I will keep up the rest of my life.
—Guest tom

Bikram

Took Bikram classes at the local (FL) Bikram studio for two years. Bought space heaters, room thermometer, humidifiers and Bikram's CD when the studio closed. I have done the full 90 minute class nearly everyday for a decade now. I am 53 years old, a former professional competitive ballroom dancer and am more flexible now than ever, all due to Bikram.
—Guest ND

Love it or Hate it!!!

Been doing Bikram for a few years now. You either love it or hate it; & that goes for long time Bikram yogis too. Your body is defferent every class, so your experience is different every time. Must admit a good teacher does make all the difference though.
—Guest Shawn

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Bikram Yoga: Hot or Not?

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