Today was my seventh day of a 30 day trial period at the local Elk Grove Bikram Yoga studio. At first, I was pretty put off by the steady cadence of shouted commands, comparatively speaking -- I've gotten used to Srivatsa Ramaswami's gentle, encouraging manner. Ramaswami's "Bandhas please" is forever engrained in my memory.
But I have to say, the heat and the more forceful style of the Bikram teachers has made a difference. I had hurt my neck, left shoulder and arm several weeks ago and although the pain gradually subsided, it felt as though a muscle in my upper arm was missing. I could barely lift my arm with downward-facing palms. Then, a few weeks ago, my right knee was giving me a sharp pain when I walked unless I kept it partly bent. It was getting progressively worse until last Sunday when I started at the Bikram studio. After the very first 90 minute session, my knee felt better and after a week of sweating and a hot, stinky room for 90 minutes each day, my left arm is slowly getting stronger without a reoccurrence of pain. Better yet, both knees are getting stronger in balancing postures with the knees locked and the pain has almost entirely subsided. Of course, it is much easier to stretch in a room that is that hot and finally I feel my hips are starting to open up more after a seeming impasse.
I have to thank my Yoga teacher training classmate, Wyatt, for his suggestion to give Bikram a try. It definitely has helped though Vinyasa Krama is more where my heart is. Thanks, Wyatt! And special thanks to Ramaswami for his excellent teaching, incredible patience, and warm manner, even if the dance studio room at LMU was too cold for my old bones.