All posts by Beyond the Mat: A Bikram Yoga Blog

About Beyond the Mat: A Bikram Yoga Blog

Bikram Yoga Durham is a beautiful, family owned hot yoga studio in downtown. Our aim is to help the local community to be its best by feeling its best.

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New Classes

You may have noticed over the past few months that we’ve begun adding some new classes to the schedule. While our focus is, and will continue to be, Bikram Yoga, we feel these additional classes will compliment your Bikram practice. Each of these classes brings something a little bit different to your wellness routine. Below is a guide to each of the new classes and what you can expect.
Restorative Yoga (75 min.)
This low heat, candlelit class is the perfect way to relax while still getting a deep stretch. The restorative yoga class is slower paced, with postures held for up to 5 or 10 minutes. This class can be very meditative, and students have been known to fall asleep.
Intermediate Yoga (90 min.)
The intermediate class is heated, and geared toward yogis who have a fairly regular practice. Some of the beginning Bikram postures will be included, as well as poses you may not know yet. Like in the Bikram class, there are steps to each posture, and you can always sit down.
Inferno Hot Pilates (60 min.)
Inferno Hot Pilates is a fun, fast-paced class set to music. Classes are mostly core and upper body strengthening. We repeat each move multiple times, so you can go at your own pace. The results are fast; it’s normal to notice a difference in your body within a couple of sessions.
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The Perks of Positivity

By Hanna Newman, BYD Co-Owner

My yoga teacher, Mary, sometimes talks about her mentors, one of whom was a mystic. When Mary first started studying with the mystic, she told Mary that she wasn’t allowed to say anything negative for one week. “If people could only see what their words look like,” the mystic said, “they would never say anything mean or hurtful again.” Having heard this story more than once, I decided to give it a try. My husband, Ari, and some of our friends agreed to take on the challenge with me.
     The only thing I really expected was that it’d be difficult to not say anything negative for a week. I was pretty sure I’d slip up a bunch of times, but I was okay with that. I wasn’t anticipating any major, life-altering changes, though. That’s why it was surprising when, on the first day of my challenge, I started to feel physically different. The muscles in my jaw, which had been tight, felt more relaxed. My chronically hunched shoulders were farther from my ears, and I felt a general sense of well-being.
     Attempting this challenge showed me that words have more power than we think. The things we say directly affect us, and those around us. I encourage you to try eliminating the negative words from your life. Even if you try it for a day, you’ll be astounded by the difference it makes.
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Empowerment Through Yoga

By Hanna Newman, Co-Owner of BYD

This past Monday BYD hosted 25 women from various Duke sororities who came together for a women’s empowerment-themed Bikram Yoga class. In preparing to lead this session I did some research on women’s health and body image. I was shocked to find that over 90% of women are dissatisfied with their body appearance. However, it makes sense when you realize that only one in twenty women naturally have the body type that the media portrays as ideal. In a society that financially benefits from us trying to ‘fix’ our bodies to fit a certain image, it is a radical act to love oneself.

Showing up is the first empowering act we make when coming to yoga class. In simply setting aside that time for self-care, you’re declaring yourself worthwhile. Then we ask you to focus on yourself for 90 minutes while your hair is messy, you have no makeup on, and you’re half naked. On top of all of that, we ask that you not judge yourself. In reality, this self-acceptance is one of the most challenging things we do in class. Bit by bit, you’re reconditioning yourself to be less attached to your appearance. You leave class feeling great about yourself because of what you’ve accomplished, rather than what you looked like.

When you overcome obstacles, like a tough Bikram Yoga class, you gain confidence and self-esteem. As you fine tune your alignment and go farther into your postures, you begin to expand your ideas of what you’re capable of. With time, you realize you are only limited by your mind. Let your practice remind you of your strength, and use it to uplift others. Women of all shapes, sizes and colors can and do change the world.
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Change

By Hanna Newman, BYD Co-Owner
Recently, a student came up to the front desk before class with a question. She looked a little concerned as she asked, “is it normal to have weird food cravings, like for foods that you don’t usually crave, when you’re practicing more regularly?”
     “Completely,” I responded. “What foods are you craving?”
     “…Crunchy, green things!” she exclaimed. I couldn’t help
     but laugh.
     “You’re craving vegetables? That’s awesome!”
Over the years, I’ve witnessed many yoga practitioners at BYD take small steps toward changing their lives. Not only have I seen people change their diets, but also drop other unhealthy habits. I saw a student quit smoking because he couldn’t stand the way he smelled during class. I’ve even heard of students leaving bad relationships thanks to their yoga practice.
People instinctively avoid change, so what is it about Bikram Yoga that has this effect? In my opinion, these are just people’s responses to how good they feel after taking class. The two times people tend to make changes in their lives are when things are so bad that they have no choice, or so good that they feel like they can do anything. Bikram Yoga is an example of the latter. In addition to physically feeling better, practicing yoga is empowering. The more you practice, the more capable you feel of creating positive change in your life. Don’t just take my word for it, though. I encourage you to come to class a little more often, even if it’s only for a week, and see how it impacts the rest of your life.
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Sunday Morning

By Karin St. Pierre, Bikram Yoga Durham student

He pulls us into focused stillness with the first ring of the bell. The room shrinks and envelops us, safe and dark, a mother’s womb. Somehow, the ceiling fans know to swirl in silent circles, sucking up air and delivering the sour smell of the carpet like a summons. The monster heat retreats, our thumping hearts slow to normal. Mats, soggy beneath us, are body-sized sign-in sheets: proof of attendance. Again, the bell. Our bodies are corpse-like, heads resting heavy on the unforgiving floor, hands and feet open at our sides. But our minds roam back and forth between embracing and resisting his words to —“let everything go”— knowing that daylight and reality will soon surge back into the darkened room like flood waters. With the final ring, an end-of-the-day school bell, the service is over. Relief. Regret. We carry both from this holy space, this blessed cave.

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How Stillness Can Help Your Practice

By BYD student, Laura Frey

As a yogi with a regular practice I am beginning to understand the importance of stillness during class. I am trying to avoid unnecessary physical and mental movements such as:

  • playing with my hair
  • drinking water
  • wiping sweat
  • cracking my toes between postures
  • exaggerating the set up for a posture
  • giving stink eye to the teacher when the fans are off during 2nd camel

I believe these moments have nothing to do with sweat, hair, joint issues, etc., but rather they take you out of the moment. The moment you are struggling in. The one you want to pass. The one where your legs are shaking. The one where you can’t find balance. No one likes these moments. We instinctively want to get past them. We want to avoid suffering. So we move on, fumble out and play with our costume or our hair…

I think rather than fleeing the moment we should stay in it. Breathe deeper. Focus more intently. Stare at yourself in the mirror. Will the energy of the room to permeate your body and soul and exit your skin as solitude. As though you are breathing a physical matter that can calm your body. Absorb it and use it.

I think once you block everything out and focus through the struggle or uncomfortable feelings that pop up during a Bikram class you will experience something great. This all of course permeates your life outside of the hot room. Things that may have bothered you before such as traffic, people, situations can’t touch you. You will feel bullet proof.

I have been fortunate to have so many great examples around me in class. When I feel someone exuding stillness I tend to grab it. I want that feeling. When there are several of us locked in like this it always spreads throughout the room. It’s contagious. And when the room has stillness we all love it!

This isn’t to say we’ll never fall out of a posture and make a grumpy face. It happens. This is yoga practice, not yoga perfect. So, for next class work on just one of your fidgets. If it’s shifting your weight back and forth, stop it. Focus. Jump back in. When you quit letting your energy leave you for unnecessary distractions there is more energy for the asanas, the meditation. Ultimately you leave the hot room, the studio feeling marvelous.

This is just my observation as a new yogi. Work on your fidget list and see how you feel. We all have different lists. It can’t hurt and it just might help.