10 Days with Bikram Yoga

Margaret Kruszewska

MS_Bikram_day10.jpgI have completed 10 days straight doing Bikram Yoga! Feel great. No aches, no injuries, didn’t pass out or drop from heat exhaustion. There’s a nice cleaned- out feeling with my skin looking good and my organs having had a good squeeze and rinse out! So how would it compare to doing 10 days of any other type of yoga? And would I recommend it?

If you’ve been following my YogaHub blog entries, you’ve gotten a good dose of my daily consideration of the benefits and limitations of the Bikram yoga system; from the perspective of someone who is familiar with the yoga poses but new to the Bikram yoga sequence and setting.

I haven’t addressed who Bikram is and why he has acquired a somewhat controversial reputation. A recent YogaHub response posting brings up one of the issues: his legal move to copyright his 26 series of yoga postures.

Having read the court filings in the case Bikram brought against a Northern Californian yoga teacher who taught a similar yoga routine without being part of his Bikram franchise, and having spent many years in performing arts communities where original artistic material is frequently appropriated – I recognize it as a bigger issue than just Bikram claiming ownership of yoga postures.

If I remember correctly, Bikram’s yoga sequence was compared to that of a dance choreographer in that although the dance moves themselves may be well known and available, the actual order of them has been created by him (along with the specific instruction of how classes are to be conducted). And there is something to that.

Most veteran yoga instructors that I know, if they are independent and not tied to an ashram community, have over the years developed their own combinations and adjustments that reflect their unique insights about how yoga works. Most of us, however, don’t go to the great length that Bikram has in claiming and enforcing the use of our interpretations and contributions to the field.

There has always existed in the yoga community a feeling of acknowledging previous teachers and a generous reciprocity of passing along what we know and learn from students and each other. The deeper issue is the question of when yoga is also a business as many of us try to integrate these two aspects of our lives as yoga teachers, yoga studio owners, yoga writers and yoga web sites providers. And perhaps Bikram is just better at it than most of us, but he has rubbed many us the wrong way because he has tried to “claim” a tradition that is by it’s very nature beyond being claimed, systematized, trademarked, or even fully understood.

So, I say, more power to him and at the same time, what a fool — either way, it was a hell of a sweaty ride with Bikram for the past 10 days!

10 Days with Bikram Yoga

[tags]bikram yoga, yoga teacher,yoga poses,yoga studios[/tags]

One Response to “10 Days with Bikram Yoga”

  1. Basia says:

    I’ve been enjoying the day-by-day narratives-

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