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Bikram Yoga, An Irreplaceable Practice

by Instructor Yarrow Kae

Bikram yoga has always been home to me. It makes me feel safe and loved and has allowed me to unearth the most beautiful inner pieces of me. I began practicing in 2002 with a sprained ankle. I was seeking a low impact form of exercise while my ankle healed. Very quickly, I found myself practicing 5-6 days a week, which turned into 6-7 days a week after I went to teacher training.

I was burning through so much anxiety, past emotional pain, uncertainty, and fear. The yoga kept me calm. It wrung out the demons and allowed me to be still. It led me to a regular meditation practice, which coupled with my Bikram yoga practice healed my debilitating anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder without ever having to take a single prescription drug.

A couple of years ago, I got antsy, I felt like I needed to switch up my yoga styles. My body felt stagnant and so did my mind. As I am an extremely loyal person, and had been devoutly Bikram for so long, this was a hard decision for me, but my body was asking for change. So, one Sunday morning, I went to a vinyasa class. It wasn’t my first vinyasa class, but it was the first vinyasa class I took that made me crave more vinyasa…

That class catapulted me into a world of new yoga asana discovery. I enjoyed the Om’s and the free flow of sequencing that came with this new style, two facets that would have made me cringe in my younger days of being a practitioner. As I got deeper into this new practice, I began cutting back on the number of times a week I was practicing Bikram. I was falling in love with a new style, which led to my attending Dharma Mittra’s teacher training. After training, I began teaching vinyasa.During the height of my love affair with vinyasa, I found myself rejecting taking a Bikram class. I went far longer than I ever had without taking a single Bikram class.

After a couple of weeks, I noticed that my fidgety, anxious ways were returning. My body felt stiff. My head felt cloudy. It was as though layers of tension were coiling around me. My body was now screaming at me to take a Bikram class. Always one to listen to the needs of my body, I went to class.

In the aftermath of my sweat bath that may have included some skin shedding, as I lay in savasana, I felt as though I had come home again. The dark anxious thoughts that had been creeping in had cleared away like fog making way for the sun to shine through. My body felt lighter, more flexible, cleaner. I felt stronger, more centered…happier. As I lay there, taking note of these details, I smiled to myself and promised my Bikram practice that I would never stay away so long again.

In the last two years, my yoga asana practice has evolved to include many other styles with a variety of teachers. I have a more committed meditation practice and a less rigid mind because of my expansion. However, despite my exploration, I always maintain my 3-4 day a week Bikram practice.  

This practice, it’s magical. It’s medicine. It truly heals the body, the mind, and the spirit. And it is for everyone. Whether you come to this practice to heal your body, your mind, your heart, or your spirit, or all of the above, you will find that healing.

We all have our own unique reasons for practicing this yoga, but we all have one thing in common, NOTHING replaces it. No other form of yoga. No other form of exercise. No other practice can replace your Bikram practice. It truly is a magical, healing practice. It is a gift, one that will keep you young, vibrant, healthy, grounded, and allow you to become meditative.

Bikram yoga is powerful medicine that when practiced with right intention will heal you.

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