A "Bitch Sesh" About Bikram Teachers.

Yes. I realize this is probably bad form. I'm a certified Bikram teacher myself. But just because I am a Bikram teacher doesn't mean:

  • I execute every posture with perfect depth. (Far from it!)
  • Do every posture. (Shit... I sit my ass down A LOT in class. Everyone has their own challenges. The important thing is to just show up and have good intentions.)
  • I don't fidget. (Fidgeting is a purge of energy. Try to minimize it. But it still happens.)

I could go on about my own challenge with the practice. And part of this 101 Day Bikram Challenge I am doing is to make peace with my practice. But that idea is difficult to do when I find myself distracted by bad habits of Bikram teachers themselves.

I feel like in the past few years, the caliber of Bikram teachers has changed. There are far too many. And they aren't being trained to teach. They're being trained - in my opinion - to be mannequins. We are taught a dialogue, verbatim. And we are told, "if you teach the dialogue, you can teach a class."

That is - again, in my opinion - not true.

The Bikram teachers I adore most are the ones that know the dialogue, but also pay attention to the students. To their energy, specifically. And they need to know the Bikram series so well before they go to teacher training that they could walk a class through the order of the poses.

It seems like none of that is happening. I've come across too many teachers in the past few years (and past few months in particular) who just should no be teachers.

And here are my biggest issues...

The Heat.

Yes. I know. It's called "hot yoga" for a reason. And I love the heat. It allows me to go safely deeper into postures and pushes your heart into cardio in certain postures. However, many teachers either are ignorant to how to monitor the heat, or they are being intentional mother-fucking dumbasses.

The room, temperature wise, should absolutely never, ever, ever fucking go above 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Ever. Period.

Shit your damn mouth if you think otherwise.

The temperature is supposed to be 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Once class gets going, and the bodies of the students start to move, the temperature of the room starts to feel hotter. So a room that is 105 degrees Fahrenheit will FEEL even hotter to the student. Especially given that Bikram studios also run humidifiers in the rooms too.

Yet, there is one studio in particular here in San Diego (and if you've listened to a recent podcast I was a guest on, you'll know which one) that is extremely hot. And most of their teachers do not monitor the heat. They simply keep teaching the dialogue, not using their brains to actually monitor the reactions and energy of the students.

In the past two weeks, I have seen regulars walk out of the room because it has gotten so bad. I personally have sat out entire series within the class because it was too fucking hot.

Now, I know you're going to ask, "Well, have you said anything to the studio about it?"

Fair question. And no, I have not. And I'm not sure I should. Yet. Mostly because once I finish this challenge, I may not practice at this studio. I'm only practicing there now out of convenience.

"Arms Over Your Head Sideways, Palms Together..."

This was drilled into me at training. And while it's not dangerous in any way for students, it annoys the fuck out of me. Why? Because some Bikram teachers pride themselves (way too fucking much, in my opinion) on "teaching strictly the dialogue." This means they attempt to stick closely, word-for-word, to the dialogue that we are taught at training... And think this means they are "teaching."

It isn't teaching. And I say that to people's faces when we get into a heated discussion about it.

But one thing I that annoys me more than people who "teach strictly the dialogue" is when they don't even pay attention to what they are saying and get it wrong.

The perfect example of this that I hear is in the Standing Separate Leg series of the class (Separate Leg Stretching, Triangle, Head to Knee), 90% of the time the teacher will say, "Bring your arms over your head sideways, palms together."


If you're going to teach "strictly dialogue", GET IT RIGHT!!

Only in the last pose of the series (Head to Knee) does it say to bring the palms together. But often, for the Stretching pose and Triangle - two poses where your palms do not come together, teachers will tell students to bring palms together.

Like I said, not dangerous to executing the pose. But as I was taught at training, it's not the dialogue. So really, I am bitching about this just to be a bitch to snotty people who claim they "strictly teach dialogue."

Timing The Postures.

Sweet fresh hell. It's pretty straight-forward about how long postures should be, for the most part.

"First set, hold for 60 seconds. Second set is only 30 seconds."

This is the rule for the Standing Series in class. However, because teachers often "strictly teach dialogue", they GO OVER 60 SECONDS. All the time.

This, naturally, can impact the rest of the series. Forcing teachers to shorten Savasanas... And even cut postures completely. (Yes. I've seen it happen a few times in the past month alone.)

While I don't think teaches should stare at a clock or watch to see how long they are making postures be held, they need to pay attention to the students. If they are all standing on one leg and balancing nicely, move them into the second part of the Standing Head to Knee all-fucking-ready!

And for the love of Beyonce... Can we please demo proper set-up of postures for new students BEFORE you get the rest of us into the set-up?!?!?! That alone eats up a lot of our energy, when we are all down in Triangle, waiting to turn our arms to get into the pose... But can't because you're showing a student - INCORRECTLY, I'VE WITNESSED - where their knee and toes should be in the lunge part.

 I move forward in postures all of the time, before the teacher may want me to, simply because they take too long. Sure, it annoys them. But "a fuck" I do not care about them.

Skipping Postures.

Oh Sweet Baby Jesus On Christmas Morning! Again, with this one particular studio I have attended, there are a few teachers that just are not paying attention to their timing that they realize they have run long... And then start to skip entire postures - not just sets, postures - to end the class.

This should never happen. And if it does consistently with you, you shouldn't be teaching. I don't care how nice you are.

I know many teachers disagree with me on this... But all teachers should wear a watch when they teach. Some argue, "But then the teacher will be looking at it all through class." Not if they are properly teaching, they won't.

When I was at training, we were taught how to time the class. Want to know how it should look? It's pretty simple. Here goes:

  • "Fifty-Four, Hit the Floor": By 54 minutes into the class, the students should be on the floor. If you are earlier than that, no big deal. If you are significantly past that, BIG FUCKING DEAL. It means you are going to run over.
  • "Fifteen Minutes Left, Be in Camel": By the time there are 15 minutes left in class, you should either be in Camel pose or be finishing it.

"So what if you are running long at the '54' mark?" you may be wondering.

Well, if you find yourself running long... Cut the LENGTH of the posture.

Do not ever cut the length of Savasanas.  Trim how long you hold the postures. Savasnana is way more important than the pose itself. I will fight you if you think otherwise.

So as you can see, I am a total bitch about this whole thing. But this post is a purge. One that needed to come out, because it is driving me crazy.

Thoughts? Concerns? Difference of opinion? Leave a comment!