by Marj Wong
Marj Wong conquers her fear of semi colons to tell us about her adventures traveling and taking yoga in Thailand on her vacation over Christmas and New Years…
Being a student and a teacher, visiting Bikram Yoga Bangkok was pretty much my top priority upon arrival in Bangkok.
After arriving on Sunday night, the Boyfriend and I toured around the city Monday a.m. and then headed to the studio.I was hoping that would see my friends from teacher training Niki and Sukh, both teachers at Bikram Yoga Bangkok. To my delight, Niki was teaching and Sukh was just going into class during my visit.
So, I got to see both of them. Magic!
Sukh manges BYB, so he was able to give us the low down on the studio and a quick tour. Because we were catching a flight later on that afternoon there was no yoga for us that day.
We planned to come back through the city after three weeks of travel and would take a class then.
I was impressed with Bikram Yoga Bangkok. My initial impression of the studio was pure excitement and awe.
The studio area itself is set in a multi-level fitness center ,contained in a crazy multi-level department store which is then housed in an even bigger, crazier, holy-over-the-top shopping center. Zen Department Store in Bangkok is pretty much the ultimate department store.
It isn’t cheezy like the ones in North America (you know, Sears or The Bay.) Nope, this is a department store you WANT to shop in.
With everything in it.
Cool stuff, not cheezy-grandma- “house-brand”-stuff , it has quality-name-brand-labels that you recognize.
But back to the fitness centre; True Fitness is where Bikram Yoga Bangkok resides, on the 9th and 10th floor.
“Just how is this ‘legal’ to have a Bikram Yoga studio IN a fitness center?” I asked Sukh. According to Bikram Yoga College of India regulations, you’re only allowed to open Bikram Yoga studio in a Bikram Yoga certified facility with Bikram Yoga certified teachers.
See what I’m getting at?
This facility operates out of a gym, which is a big no-no in Bikram Yoga world.
This was a “Special-special-special-special-special-case,” Suhk said.
I smiled .”Ahh..I see,” I said.
Bikram has made an exclusive exception. There are only handful of other studios within the True Fitness facilities: Malaysia, Singapore etc.
There are two studio rooms at Bikram Yoga Bangkok: Studio A and Studio B.
The main Studio A holds about 80 people while Studio B holds 20-30 people. The hot room is amazing. It has full length mirrors floor to ceiling on all three walls, a mirrored podium, microphone and sound system, bright lights, carpet with carpeted lines, pre-laid mats on the floor with towels and all 26 postures wrapped around the top of edge of the ceiling big, bold, for you to see.
It looks very similar to the hot room we had for Teacher Training (scaled down, of course).
Now, I’ve been to a few studios around the world(Bikram Yoga West Orlando, FLA; Bikram Yoga Wickerpark, CHI; Bikram Yoga Kitsilano, BC; Bikram Yoga Whiterock, BC; Bikram Yoga Richmond, BC; Bikram Yoga Palm Desert, LA; Bikram Yoga Kitchener/Waterloo; and then of course, the Bikram Yoga studios in and around the GTA).
These places differ but they are all enjoyable in the same way: 26 & 2, 90 minutes in a hot room.
HOWEVER – Out of the studios I have been to, I would have to say Bikram Yoga Bangkok stands out among the rest. Overall, I’d say for sure, its bang on.
(Bikram himself visited the studio to approve the set-up of the facility. I don’t know if this has anything to do with it’s level of standards, but I definitely think so.)
Fast Forward Three Weeks:
After traveling through Christmas and New Year’s, we returned to Bangkok.
We arrived two days before our flight out of the city to shop and take class.
Day One: we shop, no yoga.
At this point, I’m not going to lie, I was scared for my life.
Three weeks of travel and lounging, no practice and eating pretty much everything in sight, equates to a pretty high guarantee of gongshow in the hot room.
Find out what happens when Marj finally goes to class in Bangkok next week in Part II …