The Tenets That Distinguish Bikram Yoga


The Bikram method’s unique features are:

> Bikram certified teachers only

> 26 postures TWICE (don’t be scared 🙂 )

> 2 Breathing exercises

> Unique sequencing of asana

> many postures and techniques unique to the method

> Stillness in posture

> Stillness between posturing

> Moving together (never alone)

> ‘dialogue’ (backbone of instruction)

> Heat and Humidity (once acclimatised this is no big deal it is just a part of what we do)

> 90 minutes (there is no 10 second miracle)

> no props

> being uber Hydrated (no biggie for Bikram yogis)

> no water before Eagle (we are just warming up!)

> wall of mirrors (reflecting your truth)

> verbal adjustments (‘no touch students’ Yoga school)

> can be modified (see hereafter)

> Lock the Knee (this is the real deal)

Bikram method was ‘designed’ to be a general THERAPEUTIC prescription so more people could access the benefits of a Yoga practice. For contrast many other styles originated to be ‘performative’ although some may have evolved to become more therapeutic over time.  It is a general wellness / maintenance prescription with set modifications that can and will be prescribed as appropriate by the leading instructor at YM on an individual basis.

Bikram Yoga has been around a LONG time.  It has many impersonators but Bikram Hot Yoga is still the gold standard efficient method for making a Yoga practice ACCESSIBLE to more bodies and it is still THE Original Hot Yoga.  In recent years more and more other styles are using ‘HEAT’.  This is TOTES understandable to us Bikram Yoga instructors! OBVIOUSLY because the heat WORKS!  That said, the heat is not the only distinguishing feature of Bikram Yoga. The heat and postures and order of events in the 90 minutes make each of these features (in their own right) desirable to many (hence the copycat) but adding heat to what you do or hijacking some of the other features doesn’t make it Bikram Yoga!  IF ‘ALL’ THE FEATURES LISTED ABOVE ARE NOT PRESENT IN YOUR CLASS YOU ARE NOT PRACTICING THE PURE FORM BIKRAM METHOD.

More experienced Bikram teachers distinguish themselves in their personal approach to teaching the general prescription by giving attention to the individual who is a regular practitioner as they learn about their strengths and weaknesses and helping them modify their approach according to their unique body.  There may be further distinguishing ‘surrounding’ ‘presenting’ the method based on the individual Yoga school’s particular needs to remain authentic and viable e.g. patronage/unique premises/teacher’s Yoga experience/region {e,g, gov’t restrictions/guidance (cv)}.

Click link for more information on Hydrating DURING Class .  It is normal for new people to take visual cue from those around them in the early days of their practice; they will become more introspective and tune into the detail of the verbal cues in time.

More experienced students taking places in front few rows should be aware of the newbies placed behind them and try to LEAD BY EXAMPLE remembering not to insert extra movements/quirks/flourishes as new practitioners may copy what they see ; please do not be surprised if the teacher picks up on anything out of the ordinary (i.e. any action that has not been instructed) especially if you are an experienced practitioner (read DON’T NOURISH THE FLOURISH and MIRROR MIRROR ), Often these ‘extras’ that creep in and feel necessary are a ‘mind’ thing; a habit that can be broken in 1-2 classes if it is just given a bit of attention (habits were just made to be broken after all J). Where possible permit those placed behind some view of themselves in the mirror. Lay tall bottles on their side so that they don’t obscure the vision of those placed behind (when in the floor series). Be aware of YOUR space allowed. Please keep personal belongings on the mat so that they don’t get trod on or accidentally knocked over by the instructor.

Re-read the class logistics/etiquette every now and then to refresh your memory; they were written to enhance your experience. Please remember you signed up to these on first entering Yoga Matters Yoga School.

A FEW KEY REMINDERS to ensure your practice goes smoothly:

~ Allow yourself adequate travel/parking time to get to class; it starts promptly and cannot be held up; the people already ‘in’ the room before you will want to be getting out on time to go about their life tasks. Travel safely.

~ Ensure you bring adequate water supplies with you, filling up from tap during class is distracting to other students and is not allowed. YM cannot guarantee the quality of its water supply ‘source’ (it is an old building). Please bring your own water.

~ Ensure you use the toilet just PRIOR to class starts; leaving the room during class time is distracting to other students and is also ‘catching’ :).

~ If you experience symptoms of light headedness or nausea that can be associated with new to/infrequent practice depending on whether you are un-acclimatized or recovering from an illness, hangover or have had a break from Yoga; you most take charge of yourself and rest as needed in the room (the instructor will have given/prescribed the resting positions to you prior to your very first class).  It is not ‘uncommon’ to feel like this so please don’t think the instructor is unsympathetic; the sensible thing is for you to stay in the room and they can keep a close eye on you and be making quiet assessments about how you are faring, but must continue teaching the class at the same time.  If you do think what you are feeling is so unusual that you need to alert the instructor then please do so.

~ Remember EVERYTHING YOU DO DURING THE 90 MINUTES IS YOGA, including how you move into and out of the postures and what you do/don’t do 🙂 in between. Always consciously CHOOSING what you do (not auto/habit), always MINDFUL of what you do.

Ideally you would take 1 minute Savasana for every 10 minutes of practice. YM have ‘built in’ a 2 minute conscious relaxation at the end of class to prepare for this Savasana.  If you cannot take Savasana take the 2 minutes to slow your heart rate down and get your breathing back to normal.  It is TWO MINUTES!



Namaste ~ Trisha