Happy Monday Yogis and Yoginis!

I have been broke lately. The recession and blah blah blah I suppose, but to put it straight, I have had a hard time affording Bikrams. It’s pricey to begin with, so it doesn’t make too much sense to pay the disgustingly high drop in rate, nor is it feasible for me, being broke as I am, to buy a package of classes for the rate of $400+. Lucky for me, I was working with Lulu Lemon over the christmas holidays, and one of the gifts this company gives its employees, is the gift of free athletic classes. They have partnerships with fitness centers all over the city, and while Bikrams is not one of them, they do work with a lovely studio called Flow Yoga.

Flow Yoga is, simply put, awesome. They make the practice truly accessible to everyone. They have classes like “ESL yoga,” and “Yoga for stiff boys.” They have Karma Yoga on sundays (pay for the class by donation… amazing) and they even have a class that combines spinning and yoga! Of course they also have hot yoga… and that is where my heart led me. I Went with Hilary again (she is so good at getting me off my couch), and she warned me as we filed in to the super busy class, that this was going to be very different than what I was used to.

It was.

I found the class to be extremely relaxing. That is not to say it was easy, but the stretching was more leisurely, it was geared toward what the class wanted (it seemed we all had stiff hips that day), and the teacher was amazing. She was warm, silly, and energetic, in short, the type of teacher you always hope to get when trying a new thing.

I think I was lucky in experiencing the class that I did. I liked that it was very different from Bikrams, instead of a wanna-be Bikrams class, as apparently some at flow-yoga are. One of the reasons I realize I haven’t loved hot yoga in the past, was that it was trying to be Bikrams, and not measuring up. I have discussed the lengthy Bikrams teacher training process that takes place each year in earlier entries. For those of you who are unfamiliar, it is 9 weeks, 2 classes per day, as well as posture training, dialogue training, and a lecture by Bikram himself which often will last until 11:30 or 12:00 PM. It is exhausting and a true test of strength and character. What I’m trying to say is, you can’t just fake that kind of training.

Before you get all huffy, you hot yoga enthusiasts and anti-Bikrams readers, this is not meant to be a value judgement on the skill of teachers who have not been trained in the Bikrams method. I value variety, and I value the idea that there are different styles of yoga that are better for different people. I just don’t want to go to a hot yoga class and have it turn out to be a mediocre Bikrams imitation. If I go to hot yoga, I am choosing that over Bikrams because I am in the mood for something different.

I would go back to flow for certain, however I am not with Lulu lemon anymore and will have to pay the high price for a hot yoga class. In the meantime however, maybe I will go to the Karma yoga. Something is better than nothing after all. Anyone want to join me?

-Claire

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