Insights from an (Un) Scientific Study and Practice of Bikram Yoga

By: Saidas M. Ranade++

I have been taking Bikram Yoga (BY) off and on (but mostly off) at a Yoga Studio on Fountainview in Houston, Texas. I started doing BY several years ago.  Here, I document insights gained to date from my study and practice of Bikram Yoga. The findings may be of interest to Bikram Yogis trying to deepen their practice.

I attribute my youthful good looks to Yoga. One day I was doing the Dead Body pose (Shavasana) and the voice in my head said “Color your hair.” I am hoping with deepening of my practice the inner voice will someday suggest a nose job.

The BY teachers keep reminding the students to breath. As a  fellow yogi pointed out, it is difficult to breath when all you are doing is trying to survive.

On October 8th this year, I reached a milestone in my BY class. I did my 500th sit up. Thank you for the applause. I started doing sit ups in the ’90s. I have now done at least one sit up each year.

The Half-moon pose (Ardha Chandrasana) is very useful. It develops your ability to check out two separate isles by standing in one position.

One instruction I comply 100% with is during the Locust pose (Salabhasana) when they ask you to kiss the towel. That is the most action I get all day. My towels feel loved. I think they last longer.

I put myself through the challenging poses for 90 minutes for the three seconds of blissful nirvana an hour after the class is over. This is a better return on investment than from my misadventures in my love life.

The pose I enjoy a lot is not officially listed in the 26 Bikram Yoga poses. It is called “the Breeze from the Himalayas (Himalaya Samirasana)” It is performed by the instructor when they open the classroom door right during or prior to the first Shavasana. I admit I yearn for that cool front from the door to gently sweep over my body.

The Standing Head to Knee pose (Dandayamana Jhanushirasana) is very useful in a shoe store. [Yes, I know this is the weakest one. They can’t all be winners! Can they?]

I have modified my hand writing to reduce the stress in the BY class. I curve the horizontal stroke when I write the letter “T” so it looks like a broken umbrella. That way the BY Balancing Stick pose (Tuladandasana) matches my “T” to a “t.”

My Triangle pose (Trikonasana) usually is more like a Polygon pose (Bahukonasana) and for me the Standing Bow pose (Dhanurasana) is the most beneficial pose.. to watch!

Here is my advice. If the Camel pose (Ustrasana) makes you want to throw up, throw up on someone else’s mat; Not yours! It teaches them how to control their anger.

BY is also good for the GNP. It is wonderful for sales of water and detergents. BY practice has changed my life. Now, I spend most of my spare time doing laundry.

Enjoy your BY Yoga Practice!

Namaste.

[++ Dr Saidas M Ranade is a Houston-based engineer and standup comedian and a fan of the BYCI Fountainview Studio (www.bikramyogahouston.com). Joani and Mike own and run two wonderful BY studios in Houston. I thank Joani for her guidance and wonderful sense of humor. For more about me, visit: www.mirthmystic.com or www.surensol.org]

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