Is Bikram Yoga Zen?

The other night, I had a brief conversation with someone who reads this blog (hey – you know who you are!) and is interested in giving Bikram Yoga a try. The thing is, she feels like she’s got a lot going on right now and not enough time to be taking on one more thing. Ok – fair enough.

Her point though was that eventually, somewhere down the line, she wanted to try it because she really could use some zen in her life. This made me laugh and ask, “Is Bikram Yoga zen?”

I laughed because the yoga is so hot and so hard that I tend to not think of it as being very zen-like, at least in whatever way I am stereoytping zen. I think I tend to want to believe that zen is all about sitting around and being calm and peaceful – the polar opposite of being hot and sweaty and having an argument with myself about why I came to class in the first place. So I looked into zen a bit, and by a bit I mean I looked into it and gave it some thought for about five minutes. Here’s what I concluded based on my extensive level of research:

There are definitely similiarities between zen and Bikram. For example, both require you to focus on your breath and observe your mind. Both also require a form of group meditation, they just go about it differently. Of course, Zen utilizes a  sitting meditation which I sometimes adopt in Bikram when I am having a bad day. 🙂

–  Zen is also about bringing together mind and body. So is Bikram.

– Zen, ideally, allows you to let go of the illusions and see things as they are. One way Bikram gets at this is through the use of mirrors.

– Zen promotes long periods of silence. So does Bikram

– Aspects of a Zen practice might result in you having a breakdown and wondering why you ever signed up in the first place…..

Hmmm…..I think I’ve answered my own question here.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tallmartha
    Sep 20, 2013 @ 07:39:33

    I agree, it is Zen… once you can accept and move past the heat and learn to focus. And then they’re the days that you can’t stop thinking about that deadline or whatever. And those days that there’s a dramatic dude in front of you or the dude that won’t stop groaning. In theory those distractions should just strengthen your focus, sometimes they just irritate me instead!

    Reply

  2. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Sep 16, 2014 @ 06:26:34

    Is Bikram Yoga Zen? http://t.co/LQl6TBRPdO #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag

    Reply

  3. @heatheritamb
    Sep 16, 2014 @ 07:31:58

    RT @LeighAHall: Is Bikram Yoga Zen? http://t.co/LQl6TBRPdO #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag

    Reply

  4. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Jan 17, 2015 @ 05:24:55

    Is Bikram Yoga Zen? http://t.co/LQl6TC9qlS #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag

    Reply

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