I like my yoga cool, thank you.



I love yoga, I take it, I teach it, I think it is great. But one version I cannot get behind is Bikram or “hot” yoga. My reasons are three-fold.

First, I don’t really like to be sweaty. If it happens naturally, over the course of a bike ride or a workout fine, but I strip out of those wet clothes as soon as it is socially acceptable.

There used to be a commercial for OFF!, you know the bug repellent, where this guy sticks his arm in a glass case full of mosquitoes and his arm gets sweaty, presumably to show the OFF! doesn’t sweat off, but all I can think of is how hot do you have to get in order for your forearm to sweat. Being heat adverse and highly allergic to mosquitoes, the whole scenario gives me the schimmies just thinking about it.

In Bikram yoga, they keep the room at 100+ degrees, I would be sweating before the class begins. Plus such heat encourages people to wear clothes they simply should not wear. Ever notice how on really hot days all social contracts regarding appropriate clothing seems to go out the window, even the most normal people seem to say “screw it!,” I know my thighs look like tubes of bread dough but I’m hot, so deal with it.

Second, the class is 90 minutes long. All the classes I teach and take are 60 minutes and I have to say, as much as I love it, by the 45 minute mark I am looking forward to final relaxation. Imagine being hot, sweaty and the 45 minute mark comes and you are only at the half way point. I consider myself to be in fairly good shape, but I am concerned I may simply pass out in a pool of my own sweat.

Finally, I have read the Bikram yoga book and I have to say I am concerned about one particular pose. It is called “wind releasing pose.” Everyone who has ever taken a yoga class knows that “wind release happens” and frankly it brings out the second grader in all of us. For the most part I stifle my giggles unless the perpetrator is especially loud or malodorous because I know it is generally unintentional.

Now, imagine if you will, trapped in a room for 90 minutes at 104 degrees with strangers in which such behavior is actually encouraged. Nothing about that is appealing to me. Nope, I am sure Bikram yoga is the great and beneficial exercise everyone tells me it is, but until they deal with these three particular issues, I am keeping my yoga cool.

2 responses »

  1. What really puts me off is Mr. Bikram himself with this patent lawsuit he started some years ago, I mean, come on – you want to patent something 5000 years old?
    Strange also that natives of hot countries dress a lot more than we do when it’s hot. I’ve never seen a Bedouin in a speedo. 🙂

    • Excellent points, I concur. I read somewhere the lawsuit with Yoga for the People was settled and that the copyright office will no longer accept applications to register forms of exercise.

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