Not only is the Bikram yoga classroom usually referred to as ‘Bikram’s Torture Chamber’, but there is also the ‘Bikram Challenge’, as some of you may already know.
The reason we are subjected to the ‘torture’ is ultimately for us to be happy; it is in the heated room where we forge bodies and minds of steel. Yet the challenge is not only to stay in class, but also to be committed to your practice as much as you can. Bikram explains:
In the beginning, do the Full Class religiously each day for two months until you are performing all but the very difficult poses such as the Standing Bow Pulling and Stretching Pose eighty percent correctly. If you are restricted by any medical condition or have any chronic disease, you should continue daily until your condition is resolved. …Doing this Hatha Yoga class every day is like everything else you do in your life that is good for maintaining life. You don’t plan to give up doing those things because of the daily benefit you receive.
Daily yoga practice, particularly for beginning students, has a tremendous cumulative effect. Imagine that for each class you get points, which add up into your health account if you come day by day; i.e. five points in the first day, then five points in the second, etc. On the other hand, if you can only come once a week, the first five points gained in the first day not only become lost, but you may even start at a minus the next week as the body remembers to be stiff and sore.
This is how the Challenges have started I suppose… Well, who doesn’t love a challenge in the first place? It also makes it easier for students to stick to it once there is an organized event, where everyone tries to do their best. There are different types of challenges to fit every one (15, 30, 60 and 100 day challenges, practicing once every day or doing Doubles!). Last year at this time I was doing my 60 day challenge while teaching, being pregnant and getting the bus to the studio at the same time 🙂 I did not actually manage to practice for the intended number of classes – nevertheless, I had a great time and remember.. it is Yoga Practice, NOT Yoga Perfect 🙂 Hopefully by this time NEXT year, all prospective students will be embarked upon their own challenge at Bikram Yoga Wollongong!
For an entertaining description of what lies ahead, please read this two-part article (before… and after) on a 60 day makeover with Bikram Yoga: Part 1 and Part 2 , featured in the Oprah magazine.
Honest and funny, the article is as good as Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and none the less adventurous 🙂 Well written, it also manages to catch the important aspects of Bikram yoga properly, as well as the infamous Bikram-isms.
Enjoy and Namaste!