Visiting other Bikram studios around the world has been awesome.
Pretty much everywhere outside of Boston, I kick ass in class. My endurance is better. My form is better. I'm able to focus on my body, and feeling every stretch and compression across each millimeter possible. It's all around a better experience.
The freaking heat! And this morning's class at the studio in the Mitte neighborhood just further reiterates my point.
It's a sweet studio, tucked into a courtyard just off a trendy street.
The floors don't have carpet - which I've noticed happening at a lot of international studios. And I LOVE IT! I am certainly not one of those "Bikram purists" that believes the floors need to be carpeted. In fact, as a practitioner, I prefer that they not be. And as a teacher who has been responsible for cleaning a room pre and post teaching a class, I prefer non-carpeted floors too.
But back to my point about the heat...
I am all for an occasional ridiculously hot class. Sometimes - maybe once a week - you really need that extra purge. I'm talking a room that is about 110 degrees PRE class. Once you get into the class with other students, you start doing the postures, the humidity really kicks in... And it feels like 115 degree. It presents a nice challenge, and chances are (as I do often in Boston classes) you'll have to sit out a posture or two because you're pushing yourself so hard in the heat.
But everyday? In every class? No.
Bikram studios - in my opinion - should absolutely never be hotter than 105 degrees before the class starts. It's the job of the teacher to make sure their class is NOT any hotter than that at the start. There are plenty of teachers, however, that don't monitor that. And they do nothing to counteract this initial heat. And therefore, the class just gets hotter and hotter. And students find themselves gulping water... And cramping up... And sitting out postures regularly...
In nearly every studio I have practiced at outside of Boston, I've done every single posture. Every single set. I've been able to do the entire class only going through about half my water. And I leave class feeling great.
I should point out that in Boston, only one or two teachers - whose classes I nearly always end up in because of scheduling - are guilty (yes, I said it) of the heating problem. Nearly all other teachers I practice with there are conscientious about the energy in the room, and how students are reacting.
Could it all be in my head? Perhaps. I'd give it 50-50. But overall, I've held off on giving my thoughts about Bikram yoga over the past year... Despite very much wanting to state my opinion about a few things. The practice itself is genius. So healthy for your body. But understanding how to read the energy of students and a room is not something that teachers are taught at training.
It's often something you have to learn on your own, sadly.
And that needs to change. At a lot of studios.