For the last 20 years, the Bikram yoga has become more and more popular among the yoga addicts and for newcomers. The trend is keeping its pace and we can see new studios opening or proposing this particular kind of practice. Here’s an opportunity to check in details what is the situation of Bikram yoga and hot yoga in Bangkok.
Bikram Choudhury, the founder
The Bikram Yoga comes from Bikram Choudhury, the founder of the discipline. M. Choudhury is an indian yoga teacher from Calcutta who began yoga from his early years : at 3 years old, he was beginning Hatha Yoga. After a physical accident at 20, he created a 26 techniques routine which helped him to recover in 6 months.
He left India and headed towards US where he opened yoga studios in California and Hawaii in the 1970s. That’s where the hype come from and since then, everyone seems to be looking for the next Bikram Yoga studio : over 600 official studios were opened in 2012.
What is Bikram Yoga ?
The Bikram Yoga is a particular form of hot yoga. It is very specifically designed and is focus on 26 postures that come from Hatha Yoga. The twist is that you practice in a room heated at 40 degrees and 40% humidity.
The 26 postures are classic Hatha Yoga postures and half are done standing and half are done on the floor. The heat helps to go deeper in your move and push your flexibility to the maximum. Heat and humidity also make you sweat a lot. You definitely need to come with some water, it’s a matter of life and death. Hydratation is extremely important and it will also help your body recover after the session.
Cardiovascular and toxins benefits are debated as studies failed to show real improvements after practicing Bikram Yoga on regular basis.
If you feel like becoming a teacher, you’ll need an official 9 weeks training to teach in official Bikram studios.
Difference between Hot Yoga and Bikram Yoga
To make it easy to understand, Bikram Yoga is the first original Hot Yoga. Other kinds of practice of Yoga exist with different techniques and a different pattern. Bikram Yoga being a very defined and precise discipline, everything that is close to it but differentiate itself would be called Hot Yoga. Among them we can name Hot Power Yoga, Moksha Style Hot Yoga, Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga, etc.
The heat and length of session can also be a little different.
What I like / don’t like about Bikram Yoga
I tried Bikram Yoga and Hot Yoga in different cities (mostly in Paris and Bangkok) and different yoga studios, and I must admit that the lessons were almost similar. The teacher is the one that will make the difference, will help push you in a good way. The bad side is that you can find also positive things in a more diverse practice.
I really like the heat as you really feel like every effort is amplified. The sweat is dripping on the mat and that makes you feel you’re giving the best you can do. This materialization is interesting to push you even further.
With the trend going on, the demand for Bikram Yoga is high and the classes are crowded. I see my yoga classes as privileged moments and I have trouble to find this quiet time with 50 other people around me.
Finally, I’m not completely at ease with the power of the marketing used to push Bikram Yoga. Him as a yoga guru (who is controversed) but also the concept as a copyrighted brand and a very closed practice that also take a lot of care to make profit.
Where to practice Bikram Yoga in Bangkok
If you want to practice the real Bikram Yoga in Bangkok, there’s only one address, in Central World (Siam – Chidlom) :
ZEN@ZEN World, Level 10-11, Rajadamri Road, Phathumwan, Bangkok 10330
If you want to practice Hot Yoga (non Bikram) then you have more options :
Life Center Branch : 1 South Sathorn Road,
Life Center at Lumpini, Sathorn Bangkok 10120
Green connect , soi sawatdi , Sukhumvit 31, Bangkok, Thailand
Different studios in Silom, Thong Lor, Phloen Chit, etc.