SCHOOL VS. BUSINESS
In the traditional sense of yoga schools – the history of yoga schools in India are run with strict guidelines and high expectations from its students – it is a place where one is expected to work hard, try, be humble, learn the value of discipline, self-control and many other attributes of human higher consciousness. We understand expectations are different in the western world but do our best to honor where this yoga originated.
True Bikram Yoga schools are run as schools, not as businesses in the traditional sense. This means we are different than a restaurant, a retail store, or a spa. We exist so that the student can gain awareness and many of the personal characteristics a true yoga practice is designed to teach: discipline, self-awareness, self-control, confidence, patience, peace of mind.
This is why the yoga teachers and faculty will be respectful and courteous toward students but will not be tailoring to every student’s demands, wishes, and requests for special treatment. Entitlement is the enemy of a student's full potential. How to find peace and happiness is the student's journey, not the teacher's or studio's job. As a yoga school we simply provide the environment and guidance through the genius of the Bikram dialogue. The gift of self discovery is the student's. In this way the student is able to recognize that they themselves are their greatest teacher.
THE PRACTICE OF YOGA
Using the physical body as the template for unlocking the secrets of the more subtle anatomy, the Bikram Method supports the conscious integration of raja yoga, the yoga of mind, into the physical practice. Outlining a continuous process for regaining control of the mind, the following five steps are woven into the fabric of the classroom experience:
- Self-control or moral discipline
- Determination or will-power
While conducting a proper Bikram Yoga class, qualified instructors continuously utilize a complex, comprehensive and distinct set of verbal instructions to guide students through the complete series of twenty-six postures and two breathing exercises. This Bikram Yoga Teaching Dialogue serves to effectively describe and relate essential elements of the physical practice within the series, including what to do, how to do it, and the effect of what you are doing on the body. Through The Dialogue, the instructor verbally engages the rational and operational mind of the students, better enabling them to direct their attention inward for much of the rigorous ninety-minute meditation. Concentration, meditation and awareness of breath – these are the fundamental skills that are to be continuously evolved and applied through the mindful practice of Bikram Yoga. Although designed primarily for beginners, many advanced practitioners rely on the ninety-minute class as a challenging foundation upon which they continue to support and build many aspects of their Self-development.
Heat: Why so hot?…
When practicing Bikram Yoga under ideal conditions, the room should be evenly heated up to 105° Fahrenheit with 40% humidity. Those questioning the role that external heat plays in the practice may concede that yoga was developed in India, a country that sustains relatively high temperatures year-round. In order to mimic that intended environment for beginners who have quite possibly never touched their toes or attempted a single backward bend, adequate external heat can be viewed as essential.
The heated room initially serves to prevent injury until the practitioners learn to generate their own internal heat and gradually come to welcome the warm environment as a tool for enhancing flexibility and deepening an awareness of breath. Beyond the obvious physical implications, environmental heat acts as a powerful and tangible psychological force that compels students of all levels to overcome attachment to external distractions. This enhances the practice of meditation, considered the primary vehicle for Self-realization when properly supported by the science of hatha yoga as described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
BE ON TIME, DON'T LEAVE EARLY
So the student can receive the full therapeutic benefits of the 26 posture series class. All 26 of the asanas along with the breathing exercises work together to produce an overall holistic workout – cleansing and balancing of the entire body and its systems.
The breathing exercise at the beginning is essential to warm up the body from the inside out, to expand the lungs/diaphragm, maximize oxygen and circulation throughout the body to the muscles, brain, organs, cells. Without it the body will not warm up properly to prepare for the other asanas and cramping in muscles may occur.
Each posture in the Bikram Method sequentially prepares the practitioner for the next, with the overall effectiveness of the series relating directly to this scientifically-comprehensive and systematic approach.
Towards the end of the class is when the expression of the fullest depth postures are performed – allowing for tremendous benefits from all of the other postures combined leading up to the final asanas.
This is why the beginning and end of the class and postures are very important and should not be skipped.