Ode To A Bikram Yoga Teacher

I love taking classes from different Bikram Yoga teachers. Each is unique in his or her own way, and each brings a special dimension to my practice. I have experienced four basic styles of Bikram yoga teachers: By the Book, Spiritual, Let’s Get Physical, and The Drill Sergeant. Of course, some teachers combine several of these aspects. I enjoy learning from them all.

1) By the Book: These teachers rarely deviate from the dialogue and hold the postures for exactly the proper amount of time. They rarely give personal corrections or demonstrations. Typically, newer teachers are like this, as they work on developing their own voice within the dialogue. I enjoy the simplicity of these classes and try to focus very specifically on the dialogue to see if I can pick up anything I have missed in previous classes. I often find some new detail.

2) Spiritual: These teachers emphasize the meditation aspects of the class. They will sometimes share inspirational quotes during savasna or anecdotal examples of how the yoga can benefit your state of mind. These teachers are very warm and encouraging, and remember not only your name, but where you are in each of your postures. I always leave class feeling soothed and peaceful — like I got a 90-minute hug.

3) Let’s Get Physical: Here, the focus is on the physical execution of each asana — making sure the alignments are correct and that each step of the set-up is done properly and in the right order. These teachers run vigorous classes and will provide personal corrections frequently. I almost always learn something new in each class.

4) The Drill Sergeant: These teachers mean business. They move between postures at a rapid pace and may even hold some postures a little bit longer than is typical. These are tough classes — my heart is always pounding and I feel like I am being pushed to my very edge, but afterwards I feel like a champ.

During each week, I try to take classes from teachers with a variety of styles. That way I am able to work on my alignment, my mind/body connection and get a great workout. Thank you to all the Bikram Yoga teachers for sharing a part of themselves with us in each class.

Fellow yogis, do you like to take class from different types of teachers?

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9 thoughts on “Ode To A Bikram Yoga Teacher

  1. This nails the different type of Bikram instructors I have experienced. I, too, enjoy the varying styles. Sometimes you need the drill sergeant, while other times you need an instructor that emphasizes the meditative aspects of the practice. I love that my primary studio has instructors that fit into each of these categories, and, like you, I have scheduled my classes to experience a particular style or approach. It’s also nice when traveling to experience studios that have a vibe different than that of my home/base studio.

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  2. I actually take most of my classes from the same instructor. He combines all the above and he resonates with me. When I try different teachers (which isn’t that often) I realize how lucky I am to have connected with someone who continually challenges me to seek the best in myself.

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  3. I agree with your categorization of the different styles. I like the variety too. My home studio definitely has a range of all of the above both in present and former teachers. I get something out of each of them for sure. I don’t focus on taking class from any one teacher or any one type of teacher. I just go to class as often as I can and I get who I get. I can honestly say that I’ve never had a teacher at my home studio or the handful of other studios I visited that I did not like or would not want to take class from again. I may have my favorites deep down inside, but all my experiences have been good (and I’m talking over 900 classes here!!)

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  4. I actually love meeting and taking class from new teachers, and given how much I travel, it happens often. I have a bit of a bugaboo about those who follow only one, maybe two, teachers, as I think they are missing out. When it happens that I see the same teacher often, no matter how experienced and wonderful they are, I find I get the same comments, hear the same jokes, notice the same issues, again and again.

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