newest entry 2001-08-15 7:51 p.m.

Took my first Bikram yoga class in many weeks. I thought I'd be a mess after not having practiced in a while, but it went well and I had fun. Bikram Choudoury, the founder, is vain and egomaniacal from what I can tell, but the class he has designed is wonderful. It complements vinyasa yoga, as it is isometric rather than aerobic, and the intense heat allows the muscles and ligaments to stretch easily. There is nothing remotely yogic about the atmosphere--it is the brightly-lit, adrenalin-pumped atmosphere of gym class--but the practice itself strengthens the body and calms the mind.

Here are the pro's and cons of Bikram, as I see it:

Same routine everytime is comforting and allows you to track your progress
Love that heat!Sweat necessitates schlepping change of clothes
Guaranteed good workoutAt $18/class plus mat & towel rental, it's purty pricey!
Ceiling-to-floor mirrors really help allignment Mirrors breed fixation on external aspects of postures only
Teachers are helpful, give good instructions and modificationsTeachers tend not to be very, um, deep
Develops "third chakra" power center......perhaps at expense of other chakras
Same routine everytime can get boring
Excellent breathing exercises at beginning and end of classNo chanting, meditation or philosophy

What's your favorite kind of yoga? Choose one:

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