Erica's Essentials: Bikram Yoga

Welcome to 2015 readers, it has gotten off to a great start already!

Instead of joining a gym like some in January, I got myself a part-time job at my local Bikram studio in Bay Ridge!  It's an amazing place that I spent an enormous amount of time practicing at in 2014, and I look forward to learning even more this year.  I'm so excited and appreciative for this new opportunity!  In order to speak on this topic for StellaBella, I've appropriately filed it under Erica's Essentials: I need a Bikram yoga class everyday now!

I discovered Bikram yoga by chance, back in 2004 when Baby Stella lived in San Francisco.  It could have been any yoga studio at the time to babysit myself while she was at work, but it wasn't just any studio.  Not at all...

Bikram yoga is an intense 90 minute moving meditation, consisting of 26 hatha postures (and 2 breathing exercises), carefully selected and sequenced by Bikram Choudhury, and performed in a room heated to 105-110 degrees - or as some refer to it as a "yoga torture chamber"!

At the time in San Francisco, it was the original Funky Door Yoga Studio, now BYNH (Bikram Yoga Nob Hill).  I'm sure I would have found this specific practice at some later point, but it made a huge impression on me way back then, and I'm so glad I have made the time to commit to the practice here in Bay Ridge!

Erica's Essentials: Bikram Yoga

The above collage is filled with Erica's Essential accessories for daily class.  You have to be prepared!  But just in case, most studios rent mats & towels, and will sell water, coconut water, and apparel - if you forget anything!  
  • Zico (coconut water - amazing natural hydration)
  • Nike sports bra
  • side tie yoga shorts (my fav are Onzie)
  • eucalyptus or lavender mat spray
  • water resistant yoga mat
  • ice cold water in a insulated bottle
Pretty soon you won't need to remember to eat well, you will just want to - but making sure you eat your fruits & veggies after class is important too!

All of these items are important because the room is hot, and you sweat like you have never sweat before in your life!  I'm not kidding.  For the first couple of classes, you feel like your dying, then one day - you feel like you are reborn.  It all starts to make sense.  Before you know it you understand more and more how you need to make this practice part of your everyday life.  Coming to that understanding comes at a different time for everyone, and to what depth varies from person to person as well.  Many people hear this early on in class, and the obvious just stares you in the face, as sweat drips everywhere:  "Would you rather suffer for 90 minutes or 90 years?" Your teacher will say this common Bikram phrase, and you know they're right.  

English bulldog determination and Bengal tiger strength is what is necessary to get through the 90 minute exercise, no matter what level you are at.  Every person can benefit, and the benefits go beyond the physical.  This practice has touched every part of my life.  I'm not coming from a place of expertise, but one year of practice, and wanting more and more.  My favorite saying (so far), of Bikram's goes like this "Nothing can steal happiness away from you: if anyone makes you angry, you are the loser; if someone can allow you to lose peace, you are the loser".  I've not only felt the physical effects in my waistline, but the anxiety I have dealt with since 2001 has subsided more than ever.

You’re never too old, never too bad, never too late and never too sick to start from the scratch once again.  I encourage everyone to check out the official Bikram site's studio locator to find your local studio!  

Feel free to comment, or email me for any questions you have!  I have a dance background, so a lot of the mechanics made sense from the start.  I have been encouraging beginners like Big Ronnie, so I am happy to help/encourage/support others! 

For all of my Upstate New York readers:
The 2015 NY & NJ Regional USA Yoga Asana Championship will be held in Binghamton, NY at the Doubletree Hilton on Saturday, January 31st starting at 10am!  Woo Hoo!  Buy tickets in advance, and cheer on all the yogis!

La vita è bella,

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