Ann Marie Paul, owner of Bikram Yoga Brewster, was a Bikram devotee from her first exposure several years ago. “I loved Bikram Yoga from the first class,” Paul says. “I was light; there was a sense that everything was going to be okay. I remember leaving that first class and thinking, ‘Someday, I am going to do this every day.’”
Bikram yoga is practiced in a very hot room—often greater than 95 degrees—led by an instructor specifically trained in the method based on hatha yoga that was devised by Bikram Choudhury. The hot environment is key, practitioners say. “The heat helps to loosen the muscles and tendons so that you can safely stretch,” Paul says. “The more you stretch, the more oxygen you can bring to your body. It also helps to focus the mind and bring your awareness to your breath.” Hydration is very important; Paul recommends drinking lots of water the day before and the day of the class. (She also recommends juice cleanses—diets comprised of fresh fruit and vegetable juices—which she offers at her yoga studio).
The unwavering series of 26 postures in Bikram yoga is a great yardstick for students who want to progress, Paul says. “When you do the same postures each time, you can see the improvement, and your mind doesn’t have to wonder what is coming next or how much longer the class is going to be. Boredom means that something wants to shift; it’s exciting!”
Practicing in a sweltering, safe environment might be one key to rekindling a yogi’s devotion. But more importantly, Paul says, getting unstuck in a yoga practice is rooted in a high consciousness. “I believe that when a person begins to feel bored or frustrated, or like their practice has plateaued, this is an indication that they’re ready for the next step in spiritual evolution,” she says. Learn how to breathe deeply, she recommends. “Your breath is a direct connection between your mind and your body. To breathe with awareness and on purpose is incredibly calming.”
BIKRAM YOGA BREWSTER: bikramyogabrewster.com, 508-896-5210
Mary Grauerholz is a frequent contributor to Cape Cod Life Publications.
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