Why Certain Policies at Bikram Yoga school
Why Certain Policies at Bikram Yoga school
No Late Arrivals or Early Dismissals…
This policy is implemented for several reasons…
#1. So the student can receive the full therapeutic benefits of the 26 posture series class. All 26 of the asanas along with the breathing exercises work together to produce an overall holistic work out- cleansing and balancing of the entire body and its systems.
The breathing exercise at the beginning is essential to warm up the body from the inside out, to expand the lungs/diaphragm, maximize oxygen and circulation throughout the body to the muscles, brain, organs, cells. Without it the body will not warm up properly to prepare for the other asanas and cramping in muscles may occur.
Each posture in the Bikram Method sequentially prepares the practitioner for the next, with the overall effectiveness of the series relating directly to this scientifically-comprehensive and systematic approach.
Towards the end of the class is when the expression of the fullest depth postures are performed- allowing for tremendous benefits from all of the other postures combined leading up to the final asanas.
This is why the beginning and end of the class and postures are very important and should not be skipped.
#2 Respect and courtesy for the other yoga practitioners in the class… The other students in the class are your neighbors and the classroom shares in a group dynamic- its not only about the single individual. Everyone is equal inside the yoga room, and special treatment is not given to certain students over others.
In this respect, late students should not be allowed to enter the class due to disruption and courtesy to the other students whom made the effort to be on time, with their mats set and ready to go when the teacher enters to begin instruction.
Listening in class, being respectful to yourself, the other students, and the teacher…
Using the physical body as the template for unlocking the secrets of the more subtle anatomy, the Bikram Method supports the conscious integration of raja yoga, the yoga of mind, into the physical practice. Outlining a continuous process for regaining control of the mind, the following five steps are woven into the fabric of the classroom experience:
Self-control or moral discipline
Determination or will-power
While conducting a proper Bikram Yoga class, qualified instructors continuously utilize a complex, comprehensive and distinct set of verbal instructions to guide students through the complete series of twenty-six postures and two breathing exercises. This Bikram Yoga Teaching Dialogue serves to effectively describe and relate essential elements of the physical practice within the series, including what to do, how to do it, and the effect of what you are doing on the body. Through The Dialogue, the instructor verbally engages the rational and operational mind of the students, better enabling them to direct their attention inward for much of the rigorous ninety-minute meditation. Concentration, meditation and awareness of breath – these are the fundamental skills that are to be continuously evolved and applied through the mindful practice of Bikram Yoga. Although designed primarily for beginners, many advanced practitioners rely on the ninety-minute class as a challenging foundation upon which they continue to support and build many aspects of their Self-development.
Heat: Why so hot?…
When practicing Bikram Yoga under ideal conditions, the room should be evenly heated up to 105° Fahrenheit with 40% humidity. Those questioning the role that external heat plays in the practice may concede that yoga was developed in India, a country that sustains relatively high temperatures year-round. In order to mimic that intended environment for beginners who have quite possibly never touched their toes or attempted a single backward bend, adequate external heat can be viewed as essential.
The heated room initially serves to prevent injury until the practitioners learn to generate their own internal heat and gradually come to welcome the warm environment as a tool for enhancing flexibility and deepening an awareness of breath. Beyond the obvious physical implications, environmental heat acts as a powerful and tangible psychological force that compels students of all levels to overcome attachment to external distractions. This enhances the practice of meditation, considered the primary vehicle for Self-realization when properly supported by the science of hatha yoga as described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
Expiration dates on Class-Pass Cards…
According to Bikram, to receive the maximum benefits from the yoga practice- practitioners should be attending at least 3 classes per week, minimum. If you decide to purchase a class pass card- we set expiration dates to encourage utilizing your classes in a timely manner so that you can gain the benefits desired from your traditional hatha yoga practice.
As a guideline it is best to decide on your membership choice based on the following:
- Attendance more than 2x per week: best and most economical are the Unlimited use memberships.
- Attendance 1-2 x per week: best to utilize class-pass cards.
- Attending less than 5x per month: best to pay as you go, single class drop-ins.
Carpet! What the *#^!?…
Per Bikram, as an authorized yoga school, we must utilize a carpeted yoga room for students to practice on. Bikram’s hot yoga is not like many other yoga types that are not performed in a heated environment- so proper applications (carpet) must be implemented for overall safety.
Bikram has already tried many other alternatives but carpeted flooring is the best solution for practicing hot yoga and making it a safe environment for the student. All other forms of flooring will cause pooling of water/sweat on the floor, and creating hazard for students to slip and cause injury.
Turning/rotating of the mat for the separate leg standing sequence is not an option for a true Bikram yoga practice- as these added steps are not part of the yoga and take away from the focus on the self and asanas- This breaks the concentration/meditation aspects of the practitioner.
For your knowledge: At our schools we implement deep steam-cleaning to the carpets on a daily basis, deep shampoo-cleaning on weekly basis, and implementation of ozone generators during off hours to eliminate any bacteria/mold/etc; also we replace the carpets with new ones every few years.
School vs Business…
In the traditional sense of yoga schools- the history of yoga schools in India are run with strict guidelines and high expectations from its students- it is a place where one is expected to work hard, try hard, be humble, learn the value of discipline, self-control and many other attributes of human higher consciousness. Of course we realize that we are not in India and that we are accustomed to things being done a certain way in the western world.
Overall Bikram Yoga schools are run as schools, not so much as businesses in the traditional sense. The schools are not meant to be run like a restaurant, a store, or a spa service. The schools and its policies are implemented so that the student can gain awareness and gain many of the personal characteristics mentioned above (discipline, self-awareness, self-control, confidence, patience, peace of mind…)
This is why the yoga teachers and faculty will be respectful and courteous toward students but most likely will not be tailoring to every student’s becking demands, wishes, and requests for special treatment. How to find peace and happiness is left up to the student. As a yoga school we simply provide the environment and guidance by the teachers… the rest is left up to the practitioner via self discovery- in this way the student is able to recognize that they themselves are their greatest teacher.