Postcards From The Heat, Sunday Morning In The Studio

Bikram Studio: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

No Comments 28 December 2009

Once upon a time I lived in three places at once. Well, not “lived” exactly: I bivouacked like a gypsy, camping out indoors, traveling with little more than my toothbrush, my dog, and my yoga mat. Under those circumstances. I needed my Bikram more than ever, so I practiced in three far-flung studios.

My practice during those days was the familiar amid the flux. The fact that the postures are always the same had always given me a feeling of ritual during class. And because I am easily injured, I had always taken comfort in that sameness. But what I learned as I circled from place to place was how deeply restful that sameness was. Notwithstanding the intrinsic difficulty of 26 postures in 90 minutes in an overheated room, there was nothing new or unfamiliar or not mine to cope with. In my floating Bikram bubble, I felt a sense of you-can-relax-now. I felt grateful for my practice.

The sameness of the class no matter where I went–no matter the different carpets and faces–revealed flux as temporary, and therefore smaller, and therefore easier. Something about the sameness showed me that life is transitory but practice is permanent, certain, a rock.

At one studio, I would show up every few months for maybe three consecutive days. No matter: The teachers always greeted me by name yet asked no difficult questions, such as, how are you? One aspect of Bikram yoga that distinguished it from others is that most teachers trouble to learn the students’ names when class begins. Know a name is useful and polite, after all. But it meant much more to me back then: Being without my children, my own bed, my favorite coffee cup, hearing my name made me feel I was not lost. My mat was my home away from home.

Yoga Lily

Sunday Morning In The Studio

Sunday Morning In The Studio

No Comments 21 May 2009

Some Sundays I drive in to the city for a 7:00 a.m. class, which may 
seem crazy but has its charms. For one thing, the streets are empty—
no cars, no people. It’s quiet and eerie, like a country road or an 
enchanted palace. For another, I can park my clunker right in front 
of the studio, a minor miracle. The spot is free too, because Sundays 
the meters suspend demand. A gift awaits at every turn.

At that hour, maybe a dozen people practice where 44 cram in the 
There’s space to stretch long, and the air is fresh from 
the night. The usual teacher has a mellow voice. We are all of us 
serious, sharing the camaraderie of the eccentric and the devout.

I am half-asleep for this practice, despite the 24 minute drive. The 
fluorescent lights have a surreal glare after the tousled sky of the 
dawn. My body is cranky and daft. I have to marshal to its place each 
sleepy limb and sluggish bone, then struggle to untangle them again. 
Sometimes I have no memory of a pose–I find myself lost in the 
sequence. But then the teacher cues the next pose and I flow again, 
slipping along without will, like water down a riverbed.

Bikram says, most people chase the gods, but if you practice yoga, 
the gods will chase you. Is that all the more true for those who 
practice at an ungodly hour? What I know is, after these quiet 
practices, I am ready to honor the day.

Yoga Lily

Bikram Yoga NYC opened its doors in August 1999 and became Manhattan's first Bikram Yoga Studio! Owners Donna Rubin and Jennifer Lobo had both been avid practitioners of Bikram Yoga in other cities and knew that no city needed Bikram Yoga more than New York!

Our blogger, Yoga Lily has been practicing intensively in our studios for more than two years. She was inspired to begin this blog by the myriad benefits the yoga brings her. Yoga Lily lives in Manhattan with her two daughters, an oversized German Shepherd, and a Russian Blue cat.

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