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  • Primal Yogis

    To all you primal yogis/yoginis out there. I know you're out there, and I know you're tired of people insisting that yoga is not a real workout! Yoga is the best! It's good for the body, mind, and soul, and we all know how much a good vinyasa flow can get your heart pumping. And who says it's not lifting heavy? I'm pretty sure I'm bearing a good amount of weight hanging out in flying pigeon. Besides, if nothing else, it's pretty sweet that I can put my leg behind my head. Who would disagree with that?

  • #2
    I thought this was going to be a thread about yoga being associated with vegetarianism! It seems to be a package-deal with the folks I know.

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    • #3
      That's funny; most of the yoga teachers I know are not vegetarians, actually. But there is definitely a debate. Most yoga teachers/yogis are also not Hindus (at least in the U.S.). I think it boils down to whether or not you think being vegetarian is more ethical than not being vegetarian. Personally, I make an educated guess that eating ethically raised animals results in less loss of life than most vegetarian diets, which involve soy and grain that are harvested unethically.

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      • #4
        I'm looking at getting it at my local gym.

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        • #5
          I agree! I've been doing yoga (hot) for almost 5 months now and see a huge increase in upper body strength from all the chatarangas in my vinyasa class. I love it and will continue the rest of my life. I wore a HRM the first month and was burning in average 550 calories.

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          • #6
            I just started to get back into hot yoga at a great studio near where I live. I can't believe I stopped making the time to go regularly! I notice such a difference in how I feel when I go.

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            • #7
              A couple years ago I walked out on my job, and took about 5 months off before starting freelance. I'd just wake up every day and go to a couple hours of yoga. It was great.

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              • #8
                I was doing Bikram pretty hardcore (5 days a week) a few months back and fizzled out because it fatigued me so much.

                Now I am pretty keen to get back once or twice a week, but I wonder... Could it be considered primal?

                I have been warned off by several people concerned about heating the brain every day like that.

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                • #9
                  Yes, it's fine to do hot yoga (or any kind) on the primal blueprint. you can do it as fun, or as body weight or cardio (depending upon how rigorous) or long slow, or just mobility, etc.

                  I like vinyasa forms without heat. I get hot enough with the breathing. Did power vinyasa in heat for years, now I just do it without heat.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by fortuitousbounce View Post
                    I was doing Bikram pretty hardcore (5 days a week) a few months back and fizzled out because it fatigued me so much.

                    Now I am pretty keen to get back once or twice a week, but I wonder... Could it be considered primal?

                    I have been warned off by several people concerned about heating the brain every day like that.

                    I am leaning toward it being primal. The reasoning that Bikram is heated to 105 and at a specific humidity (on top of allowing the muscles to stretch more easily) is to mimic the conditions in Mysore, India, where it was originally practiced. If people have been doing yoga in hot weather for literally thousands of years, if these are the conditions under which the practice was developed, then I wouldn't be too concerned about it.

                    Out of all the forms of exercise, yoga must be one of the most tried and true!

                    Also, I remember Robb Wolf mentioning that you could consider the exposure to heat hormetic, so while it is somewhat of a stressor, it's probably a good thing, not something to be feared. That being said, the point of hormesis is to keep the dose of stressor low. Just like you wouldn't (or shouldn't, IMO) do crossfit every day without rest/recovery, you probably shouldn't do Bikram every day (even though Bikram says you should). If you fizzled out, then you were probably doing too much. I think up to 4 days is approximately right, but everyone is different!

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                    • #11
                      I actually can't figure that the temperature for bikram came from mysore or calcutta, considering the average temperatures in both places max out around 35 C or 95 F -- which is a good 10-11 degrees lower than the temperature in the bikram classroom.

                      It is more likely based on Calcutta, which is where Bikram is from and also where the school where he studied is located. In fact, you can study at that school today -- the Ghosh school -- which does not teach a heated form of yoga. The place is "room temperature" -- whatever that happens to be.

                      Mysore is the home of the Ashtanga yoga practice -- where Shri Pattabhi Jois's yoga school still exists (although jois has passed, of course), while Pune is the home of Iyengar's school of yoga, and Chennai is the home of Desikachar's yoga school, Desikachar being the son of Krishnamacharya who is the teacher of Jois, Iyengar, Indra Devi, and Desikachar amoung others.

                      From what I can gather from my various reading, it was in Japan -- on colder winter days -- that Bikram discovered the value of heating the room. He started by practicing after taking a sauna, and then started to practice in the sauna. Noticing it's benefits, and it's closeness to the practice in india (where it is hotter and more humid) where he lived, he simply continued with that process.

                      It might be noted that there is a fair bit of good and not-so-good science behind hot yoga. Bikram's process seems to be well considered, as the temperature-to-humidity ratio is adaptable. High humidity, lower temperature; low humidity, higher temperature. But, he also asserts that temperatures should not exceed a certain number -- I believe that's 107 or so. And humidity shouldn't be above 60%.

                      Other hot yoga derrivatives have opted to go lower in most cases -- between 85 and 95 degrees F -- but in more recent months, we've seen a rise in temperatures in hot yoga studios, many of which are exceeding bikram temperatures simply because teachers adapt as they practice and teach in the hot rooms. Likewise, students adapt, and enjoying/desiring a "good sweat" put the pressure on teachers/studios to increase the heat so that they can get it, without considering the risks to other students or even to themselves.

                      According to the current studies on it:
                      Douglas Casa, a kinesiology professor at the University of Connecticut and an expert on athletic exertion in heat, said that while there’s no question that hot workouts are harder, any benefits peak at about 100 degrees. “Above that, you’re just jeopardizing safety,” said Dr. Casa, who is also the chief operating officer of the university’s Korey Stringer Institute, named for the Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman who died of heat stroke in 2001. (source)
                      This is not to put anyone off of hot yoga. I do enjoy a good hot yoga session every now and again -- i love the heat and it feels good (i also love to sauna). I've never taken to bikram's temperatures myself, but when I practiced in the baptiste style, the room was 85-90 degrees F. A friend of mine currently runs a hot studio that runs at 85 degrees F because she sees no reason for it to be higher, whiel the baptiste studios in the same area have increased their temperatures to around 95-100 F.

                      The outliers are the studios who are randomly "cranking" the heat based on demand/acclimation, rather than a well-thought process. But, they do still exist, and can exist even in well-meaning studios. After all, one studio where I have practiced -- a "general" hot yoga studio -- had temperatures ranging from 85 to 105 degrees depending upon the class and the teacher. Ultimately, a temperature was chosen based on practicality: 1. consistency for the student and 2. to decrease the power bill.

                      As far as practice goes, in general, yoga is 'meant' to be practiced daily. This does not mean, though, that vigorous practice is done daily. In the Iyengar system, for example, there are two ways of going: 1. that you practice rigorously 6 days and on the 7th day, do a restorative practice; or 2. that you practice rigorously for 6 days and take a day off. In the astanga system, you practice take off moon days -- new and full -- which means one day off every two weeks.

                      In the ghosh lineage, it is normal to practice daily, but it turns out that there are several kinds of practice. First, there is bikram's beginner series, which is really Ghosh's beginner series of 26 postures. Then there are the 84 asanas -- which is the whole system that Ghosh utilized and codified. It's a beautiful sequence. Tony Sanchez, a former student of bikram's, teaches Ghosh's complete series of 84 asanas, and has a beautiful video of some of those asanas.

                      In addition, the Ghosh lineage -- just as the Krishnamacharya lineage -- practices one-on-one, individualized instruction and sequencing for therapeutic needs. Yoga is never really a "one size fits all approach" even though there are "general sequences" that can work well for people "in general." And that's how we can lead group classes and reach certain specific goals for people in a general way through a general class. But when you have something specific, you go and get specific assignments and work from the teacher -- the private lesson and individualized sequence approach.

                      At the end of the day, how much you practice yoga and how, and how it fits into your life (in light of the primal blueprint or otherwise) is entirely up to you.

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                      • #12
                        Hello from a fellow yoga lover *big wave* Hmm, yoga is always a good challenge. Physically and mentally, I love that you take into your own hands what sort of practice you want, and it's indescribably liberating when you let go and just give it to God/the Universe/(insert own belief). Also, the room for improvement is unlimited. Lifelong challenge yo. I don't defend yoga to people who think it is just a stretching exercise though. I just do my own thing, feel good and send loving thoughts out into the world lol sorry I couldn't resist typing that One Love yoga philosophy.

                        Okay before I start sounding like a complete loon, I actually just wanted to add my observation that lots of my guy friends have tried bikram ('coz it seems tougher and hence 'manlier'? Is that a word?) and they are surprised by how challenging it is! So far only 1 of them is continuing it - most of them comment that all the contortion and sweating GALLONS onto their mat which they have to stay on is just 'not for them'. It always cracks me up to hear about guys' first bikram sessions

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                        • #13
                          I am a Bikram hot yoga student. I've been practising regularly (2-3x a week) for more than a year now. I'm in the middle of my first 30-day challenge right now (30 classes in 30 days.)

                          Hot yoga is excellent, a great workout and a lot of LHT going on in there too (especially in the standing series.)

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                          • #14
                            Jacq, the big, fit guys crack me up sometimes. I am a short, somewhat chubby 35-year-old. Often guys on their first class look at me with that look, you know? "Oh, this will be easy, if that chick can do it!" -- until we get to camel and I am smiling at them completely upside down while they sit on their mat, exhausted. Hee! I know, I know, yoga is about yourself, focus on yourself -- but it's still really funny.

                            The last time that happened, the guy and I had a good laugh about it after class. That guy has been coming back and is making awesome progress -- an ability to not take yourself too seriously is helpful in yoga and in life.

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                            • #15
                              Also, it might be pointed out that, traditionally speaking, yoga is practiced in the early AM -- often before sunrise or at sun rise -- when the world is naturally cooler (and/or cold), and not in the heat of the day. Sometimes it is also practiced in the evenings after sundowns as well.

                              And, of course, Yoga is practiced from the north to the south in india, into nepal, bhutan, and so on -- where temperatures do not get as high.

                              I don't point this out to discredit hot yoga forms, only that it's never traditionally been practiced in heat -- including in india. Instead, the focus has been on using breathing techniques and certain sequences of postures to warm- up the body before going deeper into the movements.

                              So, it is interesting to know this tradition.

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