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Silver Linings: Bikram Yoga

When I was still in Belgium, I tried out a bikram yoga class in Antwerp. In Pittsburgh, I had tried a hot yoga class, but I was still very curious about bikram yoga.

So, I decided to see what all the buzz is about. Even though I had to drive half an hour 40 minutes to get to the studio and take out an entire Saturday afternoon for this adventure, I decided it was time to make this decision and explore something new, instead of strolling through my hometown, checking out the stores -even though I hardly ever buy anything- and then heading for a tearoom to indulge in pancakes, icecream or waffles. Why not opt for something slightly more healthy and certainly more invigorating?

Unfortunately, the first Saturday class I was planning to attend got cancelled as not enough students showed off. Next Sunday, I tried my luck again – and could experience a bikram yoga class for the first time.

Unlike most yoga classes that I have tried in the past that were mostly vinyasa flow classes, in bikram yoga the asanas are held for a longer time. To learn the asanas correctly, I do think holding them for a longer time, and having the teacher tell you to move your hips, knees and whatever, helps building the correct technique.

Other classes that I’ve taken are based on the teacher showing what to do in the front, and occasionally walking around. At bikram Antwerp, the teacher continuously talks, and walks around the class.

To my surprise, bikram yoga does not do downward dog poses. No shoulder stands or head/hand stands or armbalances either. A little less of focus on breathing (in my experience, although that could be because I had to concentrate really hard on the movements themselves).

One of the main advantages of bikram yoga, is that it follows the same sequence – every time, regardless where in the world you might be. As I’m mostly on the go, being able to practice the same routine, and improving that routine, regardless of where I am, is a major win.

However, I really couldn’t pick between bikram yoga and hot yoga, vinyasa-flow-style. Both are lovely, and I hope to see more hot rooms pop up wherever I travel.

If you too are interested in bikram yoga, I’d advice you to read this guide to your first bikram class – and, well, spend some time on the Self Help Hipster blog, because the way she writes about bikram yoga makes you want to go and try it out. And it might have been related to my eagerness for trying out bikram yoga.

Have you tried out bikram yoga, or another form of hot yoga?

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