As a Bikram Yoga teacher of eight years this coming April, and the independent owner of Bikram Yoga Christchurch for seven, I have to say, I know that ‘something’… which makes Bikram Yoga special for so many of its practitioners.
I’ve practiced nearly every other form of yoga, and I enjoy most of them. Give me an inspiring teacher with clear instruction on how to move my body and shift my awareness, unlock the secrets and I will be soaking up the teaching from any style.
But…. and there’s the ‘but’ … I still don’t feel the same connection, Self-realization, discipline and determination that I feel I receive from the 26 and 2 Bikram Yoga Method, which, for me has evolved throughout my years of practice and always calls me back for more. It brings me home. It challenges me physically and willfully. And it has given my life focus, even in times where things have slipped away.
Safe to say, we are all very different people.
Bikram isn’t for everyone, and it can get a lot of bad press from other yoga disciplines, and yet still Bikram studios across the world are full with students wanting to get in to sweat, and follow the 26 & 2 framework that is Bikram Yoga.
The Bikram Method, which gains much heat and criticism, especially with Bikram himself, being in the news so much today with regards to multiple allegations and lawsuits, continues to be taught by dedicated teachers because they believe in the practice; through the experience of what impact it has had on their journey in life, and how it has helped them and so many others conquer the many physical, mental and emotional challenges which life can throw at us all.
The Bikram Yoga Method doesn’t sing mantras, nor does the practice talk a lot about the deeper levels of a yoga practice, sometimes you may have teachers who diverge from the written prescription encouraging the physical asanas being a conduit for a deeper understanding of the Self, but, that depth of learning and connection is always there each and every class… left up to each individual to dive deeper into the practice of Yoga in their own time, in essence being their own teacher, a skill which organically evolves throughout the discipline of the practice.
In my years of teaching I have had so many students share how they feel that the practice of Bikram Yoga has helped them find their connection with their bodies for the first time, healed them in so many ways, and it has helped them through the tough times, good times, and everything in-between.
I truly believe that any yoga is better than no yoga, and that something is better than nothing. There are so many styles of Yoga out there, allowing us as individuals to choose what resonates for us.
I really love the community that Bikram Yoga has bought together around the world. I care for my students, and I love the yoga. For me—maybe not for everyone, but for me, the Bikram Yoga Method is a practice I hope will continue to evolve, and give me my foundational dose of healing in action. When I unroll my mat, it’s a special time to go deep inside and examine my thoughts, my actions and my depth of connection. I‘ve enjoyed observing my practice over the years, despite the same disciplined routine, it has continued to change and challenge me, and for that alone, I will always be grateful.
When I finish teaching or practicing class and see everyone coming out with their glowing, sweaty faces, it’s clear: I am not alone in how I feel, we all transform together for varying reasons and those of us who give Bikram Yoga a chance, will find the practice can help to heal and shape their lives for the better.
- Kate Lillian Burford