I had the interesting experience of trying out something new the other day: Bikram Hot Yoga. Essentially, you are in a room that is set to about 100-120 degrees Farienheit (39-45 Celsius) for 90 minutes. In this room they have an “instructor” at the front who talks loudly into a microphone at you for essentially the whole time. You are expected to work through a whole series of quite challenging yoga moves, one after another in rapid succession to the tune of “PUSH-HARDER!!-REACH FURTHER!!-HOLD-FOR-5-MORE-SECONDS!!!-FOUR-THREE-…”.
For 90 minutes this went on, move after move, the largely out of shape participants mechanically working through the moves in this glaringly flourescent lit room in a mess of sweat and toil. After about 30 minutes I gave up and because the leader asked us to stay in the room for the whole time, even if we didn’t follow the moves, I stayed in the room, stretching, breathing, and just working hard…to get the instructor’s loud voice out of my head!
East meets west: What is Bikram Hot Yoga? In the incarnation I experienced it is yoga translated by the goal oriented mind. From what I could tell, this was not the yoga method as I had learned it, but more a yoga workout, for the achievement of a goal.
Now don’t get me wrong: I am not saying that some people won’t really get a lot out of it. Heck, a workout is a workout and if you sweat some crap out of your system when you do it then good for you. But this was not yoga – it was a goal-oriented boot camp.