Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class works the body systematically and completely to heal or maintain good health. Each posture prepares the body for the next, sequentially caring for every bodily system, from inside out –bones to skin.
A student will very quickly see results in the mirror. This can be very encouraging, but this is just the icing on the cake. Not readily apparent in the mirror are the amazing benefits that the internal systems of the body receive from this yoga practice.
How this yoga works is very interesting. To start, the standing series warms up the body, joints, and muscles. It gets the heart and lungs pumping to increase the blood flow and quality (hyper-oxygenation). When we get to the floor series we can start flushing the different organs, joints and muscles. This extra-oxygenation is why, very often, new students might feel dizzy. The pranayama breathing brings MORE oxygen in than we are used to processing.
Bikram always tells us we don’t do yoga we try yoga. As long as we are trying 100%, to the best of our abilities and using 100% of the correct technique, we heal. We heal our broken bodies, doubting spirits, cloudy minds and fearful hearts.
On the floor series we use the tourniquet effect during each posture and we practice savasana between each posture. The tourniquet effect essentially means that we apply effort to hold the posture and then when we release, the blood flow returns to the area we targeted and flushes it, rejuvenating and reorganizing the body. This powerful combination provides a great number of individual healing benefits, which are explained in greater detail in“26 Postures.”
In each posture all we have to do is try.
When a student tries to do a yoga posture to their best ability they get 100% benefit no matter what. No matter what it looks like, no matter what someone else in the room looks like, we don’t have to compare ourselves to anyone (not even to ourselves last week or last year!). At the point of a posture where we hold still, breathing normally, and feeling challenged we are, no matter what, healing, growing, transforming, maintaining good health, and warding off the aging process.
This series of yoga is great for all levels: Bikram beginners, more advanced students, athletes or those new to any physical activity. Everyone can benefit from the series because we move to tolerance—transforming at a rate and depth that each person’s body is ready for. Slowly, and steadily, bit-by-bit changes will occur and total health will be restored.
One seductive trap in life is never making a long term change in our lives, whether in the subject of health and fitness or in any other area: we never want to begin until we are already able. Starting this journey with our community of teachers and students you will be welcomed just as you are right now and you will be encouraged and supported as you grow and develop.
We all have more to learn.
Chances are if you are already a Bikram Yoga practitioner and you are looking for a place to call your home studio, or if you are what is called type ‘A’ personality, then you already know how to try hard. In these cases we encourage you to also focus on savasana, and learning the important step of letting go. It can be stillness that is so important and yet so hard for many of us.
Our culture rewards and edifies accomplishments -trying hard, doing more, and pushing through. And sometimes we need to just stop; we need to pause and notice our surroundings, breath normally, so that the very intelligent corporal system can find its optimum balance. Optimum health is there waiting for us in stillness, uncovered with honest effort.