When I am at home, I practice Bikram Yoga regularly, and when I am away, I try to find a Bikram studio in the area so I can maintain my practice. But many times there is not a studio nearby, or there just isn’t time for a 90-minute class. So what do I do? Whatever I can.
I was recently out of town for a few weeks, with no Bikram Yoga studio for miles around. Undeterred, I pieced together a practice from the available options — resort yoga classes, Pilates classes and Sun Salutations outside on the deck. The variety provided a nice break from the rigors of Bikram Yoga and gave me a few tricks I can bring back to my regular practice.
Resort yoga can be hit or miss, but I was lucky — the teacher was excellent. I enjoy a good flow class, and this one hit all the highlights — forward folds, hip openers, Warriors, Triangles, Bridges, and more. It was a challenging class — I don’t think I have ever held Goddess pose for that long — but the teacher offered modifications to take the class up or down depending on your experience level and desire that day. My daughter attended the classes with me — I was impressed with her wheel pose — and we were both happy. As was my sister who has just started practicing.
Pilates is hard! I tried Pilates a few years back, but it didn’t stick. I remember it feeling a lot like calisthenics, which I didn’t enjoy. But I decided to try it again anyway. This teacher spent a lot of time explaining the purpose of the exercises and the proper form. It still felt a little bit like gym-class, but I went back several times for the challenge and for the workout.
My core always ached after class, which surprised me. I must be a bit lazy with my core during my Bikram practice. I will need to work on that. On the other hand, I was pleased with my arm strength and balance, which I owe entirely to my Bikram Yoga practice.
Some days I didn’t feel like going to class at all and simply did Sun Salutations outside on the deck. I led myself through 5 or 6 rotations and called it a day. Sadly, I couldn’t convince anyone in my family to do them with me.
Taking a holiday from Bikram Yoga turned out to be a good thing. I could challenge myself with other forms of yoga, try related disciplines, and identify some areas that need more work. I can now return to Bikram Yoga refreshed, just like from any good vacation.
Fellow yogis, how do you maintain your yoga practice when you are away?