Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Day 72 of 365: Hot Yoga

I hate hot yoga.

Specifically, I hate Bikram Yoga.

It's fad yoga, it's unnecessarily uncomfortable, it's potentially dangerous to do, and its leader is a megalomaniacal pervert who uses his cult following to proposition and assault unsuspecting girls.

I seriously hate Bikram Yoga.

I hate that, because it's the latest fad, it's what people turn to if they are interested in yoga. People who have no background in what yoga entails enter a 105*F room and proceed to sweat and dehydrate and exhaust their muscles, not understanding when to refuel, when to rehydrate, when to replenish electrolytes, when to call it a fucking day before you pass out.

I hate that the people I know who "tried yoga and hated it" all tried hot yoga. I get some reassurance when said people try a different style of yoga and realize that it's not all about stuffing yourself into a sauna and putting your ankle by your ear, but, usually, people try hot yoga, hate it, and give up on yoga as a whole.

In a similar vein, I also hate yogis who get so wrapped up in their western-Hindu-quasi-spirituality that they drive away people who simply want peace of mind alongside a more flexible body.

But not nearly as much as I hate Bikram yoga.

I recognize that Bikram yoga will go the way of every fad exercise: Jazzercise, Tae Bo, P90x. The only difference is that I've yet to hear about anyone pressing charges against Billy Blanks for indecent assault. No one went into Tae Bo because they were interested in Taekwondo and figured this was the best path. No one ever needed to worry about deplenished electrolytes in the middle of a Jazzercise class. There's no cult of personality surrounding the creator of Zumba. At least I don't think so.

These are things I think about as I toe into the idea of teacher training. Almost every instructor I know grimaces when they hear about hot yoga, and, after a few years of practicing vinyasa yoga, I understood why. I twitch when a friend or former co-worker talks about yoga, only to mean hot yoga or Bikram yoga. Thanks, but no thanks. I'll do my own thing. Far, far, far away from Bikram.

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