Last time I did Bikram Yoga was back when the Bikram headquarters was still in that old dirty carpet warehouse on La Cienega. Except for the toe fungus and the back pain that I associate with Bikram Yoga, I really do miss it. I remember when I first started practicing Bikram Yoga, I would actively search for spots in the room that seemed cooler (usually by the door). As you probably know, this type of yoga is called “hot yoga” and the room temp is usually around 105 degrees. I would also avoid certain teachers that seemed to cause me more pain. Eventually, I found I could actually forget about any life stresses for 90 minutes and I became fit enough to begin to enjoy the mental aspect of yoga. I would seek out the toughest teacher I could find (Juan) and found I could survive even his barking at me. Of course, it was always a delight to have Bikram himself teach. He is hilarious.
I’ve been thinking about Bikram Yoga these days because I’m not getting enough exercise. I’m considering returning to Bikram Yoga or joining a gym or developing my own outdoor fitness plan (running, push-ups, etc) and really can’t decide. As I think about the various options, I factor in expense. Bikram is $20/session at the HQ and I’d probably attend 3 days a week… they have a $200/month option I believe. In fact, I did a spreadsheet a long time ago to calculate the optimal Bikram package (per session, per month, per 6 months, per year, etc.) based on the anticipated number of times/week I’d be planning to attend. If I ever find it, I’ll try and post it here. The gym is around $150+ depending on which one. And, doing my own fitness program would of course be free. I also think about convenience. The Bikram HQ would be about 20 minutes by car. The gym would be a 5 minute walk. Then, I think about the result. Bikram will yield a very lean and limber body. I’d like to build up some more muscle mass though (but why? I ask myself), which the gym would provide. There are plenty of hot girls at Bikram and the gym so that’s not really a major factor. Then, there’s my back… Even though I feel I hurt my back doing Bikram Yoga, I can’t believe it’s true (otherwise there would be lots of people with similar complaints and Bikram wouldn’t be a multi millionaire, right). I probably need to go back to Bikram for a few weeks just to see how my back responds.
I always thought I could stick with my own yoga practice after quitting Bikram Yoga… well, let me tell you it doesn’t work. At least for me. The most I could do was the Pranayama breathing series (the first breathing exercise to warm up – which really does work by the way). After that, I always found a reason not to complete the series of 26 poses. It’s clear to me that I need a structured fitness program at this point in my life… just haven’t decided the best path yet. I’m pretty sure, though, that if I didn’t have to get into a car to get to Bikram Yoga, I’d probably lean towards that option. Wish me luck.
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