Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
Full Locust Pose (Poorna-Salabhasana)
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
"Backbending is the antithesis of those glossy lavender-scented Yoga Journal retreats," Lorr writes. "We eat; we do yoga. There are no catered meals, no spacious rooms, no hammock time, no sandy beaches. No refined sugar, no alcohol, no processed foods. No coherent schedule, no personal space, no sarcasm, and no coffee..."
"Never come out of a backbend like that again," he tells Lorr at one point, correcting his form. "Make a commitment to yourself. Never do it again. From this moment forward."
I know this: reading the book has given me new insights into the wild world of yoga and the way it changes people. Yoga makes us stronger, and Ben's story is certainly a testament to that truth.
I highly recommend you check out this book, whether you're a Bikram yogi, or simply interested in learning more about the science of yoga and the controversies, greed and narcissism behind the man and brand called Bikram.
If there's one yoga book you read this year, it should be this one.
Stay tuned for a giveaway post where you can win a copy!
- The staffers are friendly, upbeat, and encouraging.
- The teachers know how to challenge you in class (believe me, you'll leave dripping, with a puddle at your feet!)
- The facilities are gorgeous, and the studio is on the second floor, overlooking Sherman Street in Evanston. It's a beautiful view of one of my favorite spots around town.
- The prices are reasonable and DownDog offers a free first week to new students.
11am-12pm Evanston Farmer's Market at the corners of University Place and Oak Av.
Sweaty yogis lined the room, familiar faces I have missed. I set up on the hot side, feeling brave, wiggling into my hips a few times before class started.
The teacher pushed us hard. Pranayama lit me up inside; I could feel the glow of fresh oxygen in my lungs. I felt strong through Half Moon, Hands to Feet, Awkward and Eagle. I took my tiny sip of water during "Party Time" and smiled, thinking about all the systems in my body working together to create the sweaty magic that Bikram brings.
But I listened. I kept going. I let go instead of resisting.
I felt stronger in Triangle than I ever used to, even way back when I was at the Bikram studio up to 5 times a week. I realized it's because I've branched out -- because I've done Vinyasa and Hatha and yin classes -- that other parts of my body have grown stronger than they could only taking Bikram yoga.
I finished class smiling, dripping sweat, wanting more. I'll be back to the Torture Chamber soon :)
What kinds of classes have you been taking lately, yogis?
Are you new to yoga and unsure where to start in the expansive, wild world of yoga DVDs?
I'll admit: between Barnes and Noble, Amazon and all of the teacher blogs and websites out there, it's hard to know who's at-home practice routine is worth trying.
This post is for all of you yogis who want to keep your practice going at home, but don't know which DVDs are worthy of your time. This list includes all of the ones I'm a fan of, plus a few I've never tried but which look amazing. Hope it brings you many great hours at home on your mat!
Kundalini Yoga to Detox and Destress with Maya Fiennes
Rodney Yee: Yoga Burn
Seane Corn: Detox Flow Yoga or Vinyasa Flow
Morning Kundalini with Tommy Rosen via Gaiam TV
Fit Body Yoga with Gwen Lawrence via Gaiam TV
AM/PM Yoga for Beginners with Barbara Benagh
Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga Total Body Transformation (which I recently reviewed in detail)
Here are three other DVDs on my must-try list:
Power Flow Yoga with Shiva Rea
Budokon with Jason Olive
Yin Yoga with Paul Grilley
Which yoga DVDs are your favorite? Please share your recommendations in the comments below. Happy living room yoga-ing! :)
- Adequate space (large enough for your mat plus a little extra space around the edges; make sure you can extend your arms at full reach in all directions).
- A heat source (space heaters seem to be the trend), plus a thermometer to measure the temperature and keep it regulated.
- A humidity source (optional - some people go without this at home; also keep in mind that certain heaters offer better humidity than others).
- Yoga mat and towel, plus some yoga wear you're willing to sweat in. I recommend K. Deer bumbum bottoms, Onzie, and Iluka Activewear.
- A mirror (preferably full-length) so you can monitor your alignment in each posture.
- Studio experience with the postures for a basic understanding of Bikram yoga. Warning: if you don't know the series, don't practice it at home! At least until you've had some practice in a studio under the guidance of a certified teacher.
- The Bikram class on CD (sold on Amazon).
- I also highly recommend you check out the book Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class to increase your knowledge of each posture.
- Holmes HQH319-U Quartz Tower Heater - about $40-80
- Holmes HCH4953-U Ultra Quiet Ceramic Heater - about $45-70
- Vornado TVH500 Electric Space Heater - about $100
- Eco-heater 602 High-Efficiency Electric Panel Whole-Room Heater - around $100
- Dr Heater Quartz + PTC Infrared Portable Space Heater - around $160-200
- EdenPURE 1000 Infrared Heater Gen 4 - about $400-500
- If you have a large bathroom, you might consider setting up in there. I've read that many people turn on their shower or fill a bathtub to increase humidity. This sounds like it might work well, but keep in mind it's not the most eco-friendly approach!
- Insulate: consider adding carpeting to hardwood or tile floors to add heat. You might also want to look into plastic treatment over windows so that warm air is held in and cold drafts can't enter the room. A door snake can also help keep the room contained; learn how to make one here.
- Fans can help circulate air inside the room, so heat isn't concentrated in one spot.
- Hydrate! As when you practice in a studio, be sure to drink lots of water before your Bikram class. Drink 16-32 ounces at least 2 hours prior to practicing, and double that after you shower.
- Remember to be safe. Keep water in the room in case you feel overheated. Especially if you're fairly new to Bikram, include emergency props in your home space as well: a cushion or chair to elevate your legs after laying down, and a washcloth so you can wipe down your mat and keep it from being a slipping hazard. Sit down if you feel lightheaded, dizzy or faint -- you are your own teacher at home, so don't risk injury.
I've done a few day-long silent retreats, but nothing longer or faraway. Wouldn't it be amazing to escape to northern California for a week of relaxation, yoga, meditation and spa treatments?
Or spend a few days at Kripalu in western Massachusetts for a healthy living immersion program? They do weight-loss, nutrition, Ayurveda and stress-relief workshops that look amazing. They even offer programs for people who need to heal from cancer, heart disease or diabetes! Talk about taking the time to take your life back.
A Bikram retreat would also be amazing. Rajashree Choudhury and Emmy Cleaves hold an annual Bikram Women's Retreat that I've heard great things about. It sure would be inspiring to be in the hot room with a few hundred women pushing through class together!
If you've done a yoga retreat or have any recommendations, I'd love to hear about it!
Thanks, Noa, for your awesome post. Also, Bikram fanatics: be sure to check out Noa's incredible practice in this video. She's a rockstar for sure!
This lady's got a stunning Ashtanga practice, and there's something so sultry about the video and song. Would you ever practice in your underwear at home? (I suppose during a Bikram class, you're not wearing much more...)
And what do you think -- is this video too much? Too sexy to be a true representation of what yoga's about? Even though I think it's a bit over the top, there is something mesmerizing about her.
Regulators have announced that "yoga poses such as head-to-knee stretches and the sequences of the moves are 'exercises' rather than 'choreography' and can’t be copyrighted in the United States."
I guess this means NYC yogis will be able to take their $8 hot yoga class after all.
For further reading, check out:
- More about the lawsuit case results
- Reactions on Facebook got heated last week!
- NY Mag's reaction to the lawsuit
- An article by The Economist on Bikram's litigious behavior
What do you guys think?
People Talk to Me
It is interesting. People, even strangers, talk to me now. I've noticed this since being back from training.
So I am back to a day job now. A coworker of mine came to talk to me about stuff and it got me thinking. She was saying how she wants to be a better woman so those characteristics would reflect in her children.
gmail dot com today!
They can range from questions about your physical practice to deeper emotional or mental insights.
Am I doing this right?
How's my alignment in this posture?
Why does it hurt? Does this hurt too much?
Am I capable of trying this posture? How can I do yoga if I am not flexible?
Will I lose weight if I keep up with yoga?
Are there other people staring at me?
What is my intention for practicing yoga today?
What can I let go of?
Introspection is at the heart of yoga. The key is learning how to question without judgment, and remembering to enjoy the journey, the process of yoga, instead of focusing on any difficulty within a present moment.
You begin to learn that as you are patient with yourself and your body, and as you are open to what is true for you in the present, the answers will come.
Do you have questions about a specific style of yoga? Here are a few links to some FAQ and general info pages to help you find answers: