I guess most people think of Bikram Yoga as just “hot yoga,” which, while true, is not totally accurate. It is hot there, but in the grand tradition of squares and rectangles, Bikram yoga is hot, but not all hot yoga is Bikram. Bikram yoga is much more structured than I initially understood. (And, of course, by “understood” I mean “surmised on the basis of nothing, really.“) My point is, you don’t just crank your heater and call it Bikram.
Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda
Rather, Bikram Yoga sessions run for exactly 90 minutes and consist of a set series of 26 postures including 2 breathing exercises. Bikram Yoga is ideally practiced in a room heated to 105°F (≈ 40.6°C) with a humidity of 40%. This essentially means you can’t do it at home unless you’re living in my fantasy house equipped with a custom heat/humidity system, antimicrobial floors, and sound proof walls (in which case, consider this your notice to quit and vacate immediately). Cynics, I’m sure, are convinced that this specificity does less for your mental and physical well-being than it does for the lining of Choudhury’s pockets (which are, admittedly, TINY). Having actually practiced under ideal conditions (clarifying, it was the conditions that were ideal, not the practice. Lest you feel compelled to point out the shortcomings of my head-to-knee or rabbit poses – those two are the worst), I do believe that regardless of how rich it makes Choudhury, I get the best benefits that way and I really shoulda been practicing during this yoga challenge month in a an official, licensed, hot, and humid studio.
Instead of committing to a monthly plan at a local Bikram studio, or even just cranking up my own heater and space humidifier at home (which I sincerely think is a terrible idea on apartment carpeting), I did the unspeakable. I just bought the album in iTunes and did it sans heat, sans humidity, but not sans results. Despite what the cynic linked above would tell you, I found the mobile version of Bikram convenient, challenging, delightfully goofy, and not at all creepy. (Ok, moderately creepy, but in a harmless cute way, and not in a sweaty weirdly sexy way.)
In case anyone else is cast adrift in rote yogi boredom midway through your own yoga challenge or somewhere on the continuum of your own lifelong commitment to daily yoga, consider the album as an affordable alternative to subsidizing Choudhury’s spandex addiction (Face it: No amount of class fees from you is going to put legs on his “shorts”). Because nothing is more “yoga” than going your own way, shirking “requirements,” and making the practice anything less (or more) than just another integral part of your day.
I’m sure Choudhury would agree.
(That’s a lie, but since we’re already at odds over his outfit, I figured it was fit to print.)