BikramYogaLouise interviewed by RTL
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That’s the Bikram Choudhury shouting at you in one of his “Torture Chambers”. Bikram through experiment had learnt fifty years ago that the wrong way of doing any posture would not help you.
Bikram says, “If you follow my instruction and do my yoga postures Sequence to the best of your ability, you will live a better, healthier and more peaceful life.”
Yogiraj Bikram Choudhury is the founder of the worldwide Yoga College of India™. Born in Calcutta in 1946, Bikram began Yoga at the age of four with India’s most-renowned physical culturist at that time, Bishnu Ghosh, the younger brother of Paramahansa Yogananda (Author of the most popular book on Yoga, The Autobiography of a Yogi, and founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles).
Bikram practiced Yoga at least four to six hours every day at Ghosh’s College of Physical Education in Calcutta. At the age of thirteen, he won the National India Yoga Championship. He was undefeated for the following three years and retired as the undisputed All-India National Yoga Champion.
At seventeen, an injury to his knee during a weight-lifting accident brought the prediction from leading European doctors that he would never walk again. Not accepting their pronouncement, he had himself carried back to Bishnu Ghosh’s school, for he knew that if anyone could help to heal his knee, it was his teacher. Six months later, his knee had totally recovered. Ghosh was a celebrated physical culturist and the first to scientifically document Yoga’s ability to cure chronic physical ailments and heal the body.
Bikram later on devised the 26 postures sequence, which work irrespective of age groups. These 26 postures series has a profound healing power on your body and mind. He founded Bikram’s Yoga College of India. Bikram has shown the light of healthy life to millions of people around the world.
Bikram is the most respected living Yoga Guru in the world. He has written books on Bikram Yoga. These books are wonderful work for the entire yoga world.
Bikram is also singer. His songs are really refreshing and have a soothing effect on the mind.
Bikram conducts workshops, lectures and seminars throughout the world. It’s a wonder to experience one of his classes. He will tell you where your weak point is while doing Bikram Yoga Posture. He will not stop until you come out at your best
According to Bikram “you will not get the intended benefits until it is done hundred percent correct”.
Bikram Yoga was designed for people with injuries and chronic conditions. Knee pain, back pain, shoulder pain, poor circulation, blood sugar issues, inflexibility – all can be improved by starting Bikram Yoga. No experience or flexibility required.
The beautiful thing about Bikram Yoga is that you don’t have to be good at it to benefit from it. We all get the benefits every class just by trying to do the poses. The therapeutic benefits don’t wait to happen until we are deep into some pretzel shape – the therapy happens as soon as we go through our natural range of motion – whatever that may be that day – in the hot room. Our bodies start to open up and our systems start to work better as a result. Then our minds benefit, too.
Before & after Hot class
1. Hydrate. But not too much. Drink plenty of water throughout the day leading up to your first class. Now don’t go crazy and guzzle liter after liter or anything, but do add a little more water than normal to your daily routine. You don’t want to arrive at class and realize that Ooops, all you’ve had to drink all day is a gallon of iced coffee and a diet coke.
￼Bad news bears. Also, you will want to stop drinking at least two hours before class. You know, just to make sure you don’t have to, errr… relieve yourself at any time during your practice.
2. Eat. But not too much. A hot yoga class can be very demanding on the body. Thus, you’ll want to make sure you’ve eaten enough during the day to fuel you through your class, and that what you’ve eaten has been fairly light and healthy. The day of your first hot yoga class is probably not the best time to hit up the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, or chow down on the Denny’s grand slam breakfast with extra bacon . Keep it light, keep it simple, and like with the hydrating thing, stop eating at least two hours before class. You don’t want anything churning around in your belly while you’re trying to “compress your abdominal wall, contract your abdominal muscles”!
3. Bring at least a liter of water with you to class. It’s hot in the room. You will sweat. You will get thirsty. Simple enough.
4. Don’t wear long pants. You will be very, very sorry. Tiny butt-hugging shorts, sports bra, and a tank top for the ladies, shorts or swim trunks for the gents. That’s all you need. Really.
5. Get there early. At least half an hour early. Gives you time to fill out the necessary paperwork, get changed, and get a good spot in the room. Also, many teachers give specific instructions at the beginning of class for first-timers, so you want to make sure you’re in the room to hear it and not still in the locker room fiddling with your tiny butt-hugging shorts.
6. Tell the teacher you’re new. It’s surprising how many people don’t want to do this. But really, the teacher is there to help you! Yoga teachers love to teach people about yoga. That’s why they’re teachers! And trust me, they want you to have the best experience possible on your first class, and they’ll do whatever they can to make that happen. So don’t be shy, march right up to the teacher, and pluckily say, “Hi, I’m (insert your name), and I’m new!” You’ll be best friends within minutes.
7. Ask where the “cool spot” is. Now that you’re BFF with the teacher, ask her (or him) where the best spot is for you to set up your mat. Most studios have a “cool spot”–often (but not always) near a door or a window–and this is usually where they recommend new people set up for their first class. Because, obviously, it’s a cool spot.
8. Set up your mat and towel(s). When you sign in to class, you will most likely be handed a yoga mat and two towels. Ommigod, what do you do with these things?!? Well, the mat goes on the floor. That’s an easy one. But the towels? That’s more of a matter of preference. If you’re not a heavy sweater, you’ll just take one of the two towels and place it right on top of your mat, right in the middle, so that it absorbs your sweat and keeps your mat from becoming the yogic equivalent of a Slip ‘n’ Slide.
￼￼HOWEVER. If you’re like me, and you sweat like an animal (nothing wrong with this, by the way) you will probably want to use both towels, laid out in a slightly overlapping way, covering your entire mat. For the record, this is how I set up my towels, and it works great!
9. Have NO expectations. That goes for expectations of yourself, the teacher, the class, the studio, etc. Expect NOTHING, and be open to EVERYTHING.
10. Keep an open mind. If you’ve practiced other yoga before, just know that this will be different. Try not to be all HEY, THIS ISN’T HOW WE DO IT IN VINYASA/ASHTANGA/KUNDALINI/WHATEVER! Of course it’s not the same! This is Bikram! Listen to the teacher and be open to what she says, even when your brain tries to tell you something else.
11. Take lots of breaks. There’s no shame in sitting down! It’s your first class, go easy on yourself!
12. But not too many breaks. Then again, if you feel good, keep going! Don’t sit down just because you feel like you want to take a nap. Listen to your body really honestly, see what it tells you, and react accordingly.
13. Stay in the room. In every class, the teacher is guaranteed to remind you that staying in the room is the most important thing. Even if you have to sit the whole time, by staying in the room, maintaining your focus, and mentally staying with the class you are still practicing yoga. The heat is one of the greatest benefits of this practice, as it allows your body to open up and your muscles to release in ways they wouldn’t be able to otherwise, but it can also be the toughest thing to adjust to. By staying in the room, you give your body the time and space to make that adjustment.
14. Breathe. When things get tough, breathing will keep you alive! It can be hard to remember in the moment, but if at any point you feel yourself struggling in a pose, back off a little and recover your breath. I mean, let’s face it: if you’re not breathing, you’re unlikely to be doing anything else. KnowwhatImean?
15. Don’t get up too fast! Take your time leaving the room, hanging up your mat, putting your towels in the bin, showering, etc. Your body may feel a smidge unusual. You’ve just worked every major muscle group–probably pretty darn hard–and detoxified yourself in a very big way! So respect that and don’t push it. Give yourself plenty of time to chill after class. If possible, don’t have ANYTHING you “have to do!!” the rest of the day. Take it easy.
16. Thank the teacher for this fresh hell she just put you through. It’s only polite.
17. Re-hydrate. Have something with electrolytes. Coconut water is great, any kind of electrolyte water is too, even sports drinks will work. Also drink plenty of actual water. That’s that clear stuff that comes out of the tap.
18. Eat. Have a nice light healthy meal. Fruits, veggies, lean protein. You know, the “good” stuff.
19. Go back again tomorrow. WHAT?!? But that’s CRAZY, isn’t it?!!? Actually, no it’s not. They say in Bikram “come back as soon as you can, as often as you can!”, and that’s especially true in your first week. Your body has to get used to this new, very different thing you’re doing, and the more frequently you go, the better opportunity it has to do just that.
So there you go, yoga people (and soon-to-be yoga people!), a few tips for your first journey into the hot room. Above all, remember to
20. ENJOY YOURSELF! Bikram yoga can certainly be challenging at times, but don’t be intimidated! Like all forms of yoga, it’s not something to be learned and mastered in a day, or a month, or a year, or ten years! This practice is rich and deep and amazing and takes a lifetime, but that’s what makes it interesting and relevant! See this as a new adventure, a new experience, and a new way to explore the power of the mind-body connection that only yoga can facilitate!
Good luck, have fun, and NAMASTE!
« What if I have never tried yoga? » Our classes are designed for people who have never done yoga. The teacher verbally guides you through every pose.
« I’m out of shape. Should I do something else to get in shape before trying this? » No! This is what you do to GET in shape.
« Can I make it through a 90-minute class? » Absolutely. Sit down whenever you need to. Most students are surprised with how much they can do. The class is exactly as intense as you make it.
« How long until I get good at it? » You don’t have to be « good » at these poses to benefit from them. You just have to try the right way (the correct form of the posture) and go as deep as you can and you will benefit.
« Why the heat? » The heat warms your muscles so they stretch more. We regularly hear from former first-timers « the heat was my biggest fear and now I realize it is not that bad. »
« What if I am not at all flexible? » Bikram yoga was designed by an inflexible man for inflexible people. This is what you need to gain flexibility.
« Will I be able to breathe? » Yes. The heat is 41°C and the humidity is 40% – which is a lot drier than a typical Brussels day.
« Do I have to chant or sing? » No. (OK we don’t really hear that question).
« What if everyone else knows what they’re doing but me? » We get new students in almost every class, so you will not be alone. But the class is challenging enough that even long-timers are concentrating on themselves, not you!
« Do you have showers? » Yes.
« I don’t have a mat. » No problem, we rent a mat/towel set.
Any questions any time please email.
About the owner : Sophie Vanmoerkerke
As an ex-athlete , ex-competitive pro tennis player & competitor in bodybuilding fitness competitions, my body has taken quite a toll because of all the high impact these sports required, I’ve had knee injuries, tennis elbows, spine injuries.
By starting Bikram yoga, 3 years ago, I’ve managed to heal all of this & it also made me a better happier calmer more compassionate human being – although still “work in progress”.
After my teacher training, I’ve taught 10 months at Bikram Yoga Antwerp , & 2 months in Australia at Bikram Yoga Capalaba , part of a work/study program, learned a lot, taught a lot, got to meet amazing people from all over the world & have then decided to open a Bikram studio in Brussels which I’ve bought from Mr Feroze Khan on October 1st 2015.