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Readers Respond: Bikram Yoga: Hot or Not?

Responses: 122


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!

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.


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


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


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

perks of bikram

I think also you don't get sexually harassed at plain old hot yoga. In bikram, they throw in the abuse for free ;)
—Guest lisa

Love Bikram (most of the time).

The first time I tried Bikram Yoga was in Sydney. I had just eaten a massive meal, hadn't been drinking any water, and agreed half heartedly when a friend suggest I tag along. I barely recall anything from the lesson, other than being seriously sure that I was going to throw up all over the svelte German Couple standing in front of me. Three years on, some how, I recovered enough to go back (this time, down in Melbourne). I drank about 3Ls of water prior, did not eat for three hours before the class and went in, still a bit nervous. I left the class feeling amazing - the instructors were professional and friendly, my classmates didn't mind me watching them like a hawk in order to understand the poses. I have been going back each morning, and while it's differenet to 'normal' yoga (which I also love, and is perhaps more relaxing), Bikram Yoga is an amazing workout. Good preparation with a good instructor, in a professional studio is the way to go.
—Guest Catherine

not for me

I tried Bikram for the first time today. I love yoga, hated Bikram. There were 46 people packed like sardines a room- that is unhealthy. I had no room to move like I want to in yoga. The instructor sounded like an auctioneer which may have been the most annoying thing I have ever witnessed. Yoga is suppose to relax you. I instantly got a migraine and became dizzy with no balance what so ever. They asked that we dont leave the room but there was no way I was staying in the room. The instructor was nice about it. I think it is very important to listen to your body. I am bummed I didnt like it but glad I tried it and know that I will never do it again or recommend it to anyone!
—Guest Chris

Teacher is Important

I started bikrim again after years of a break because I had injured myself in class. Older and wiser, I chose a good studio with a teacher who is compassionate and also studied other types of yoga. I explained my fears to her and she said "listen to your body, modify and do what you can." If a teacher did not allow for modification I would not go to the class. I love it because the practice is mine. I don't do it to prove myself to anyone. I do it for my health. But knowing your limits, choosing a teacher suited to you is just common sense for a practice that can evolve with you.
—Guest Paula

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Bikram Yoga: Hot or Not?

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