Bikram yoga

I just started doing Bikram yoga. Are their claims of physical(aerobic…) workout and benefits as much as they say? What are any negative things you know about it, or positive things?

Bikram’s lawyers have been very aggressive in enforcing his proprietary “brand” of yoga and harrassing and suing anyone who teaches his “copyrighted” sequence of asanas without licensing or franchising. Salon had an exposé on this practice recently. After reading it I decided never to go to a Bikram class again. It’s insane: Yoga is an art thousands of years old; how can anyone copyright it? It remains to be seen how much of Bikram’s claims will stand up in court.

I went to a few Bikram classes last year. One thing I noticed is that the instructors are insanely lean without the least speck of body fat. After sweating most of the substance of your body out through your pores, I guess there won’t be much remaining. One instructor sadistically told the class: “My name is QUADzilla. Why am I called that? You’re going to find out.” His workout was indeed hard on the quadriceps.

My first class I became so dizzy and nauseated in that insane heat, I spent most of the second half of the class immobilized on the floor. But by the third class I had adjusted to the sauna-like conditions and performed all the way through.

I dislike the inflexibility of the same routine that never, ever changes. My background is in classical yoga, Sivananda style, which has incomparably more depth, flexibility, adaptiveness, and introspection. I just tried Bikram to see if all the hype was justified. I concluded that it is not. All the sweating no doubt will make you lose weight, but the traditional classical yoga will give you a more balanced all-around approach to health and wellbeing. Also, a major negative is that Bikram himself is an incredibly arrogant asshole. And he wants people to imitate him? No thanks. Yoga’s ethical principles (yama and niyama) ought to rule out developing such a toxic personality. But Bikram’s method totally ignores these classical principles. It’s too limited in scope and allows little room for personal growth.