by Mary Jarvis
Senior Bikram Yoga Teacher and owner of Global Yoga San Fransisco joins OMB with a story of practicing with Bikram in the early days of Bikram Yoga. Find out more about Mary by clicking here…
I started practicing what is now called “Bikram Yoga” over 24 years ago. It was not “BIKRAM YOGA” back then. It WAS yoga. When asked about it by friends and acquaintances, I would say, “yoga is 26 postures,practiced twice in a 90 minute class,in a heated room …There is no exercise in the world that makes me feel as great as I do when I practice this yoga…Yoga kicks running and weightlifting’s ass…”
“Bikram?!??…what’s a Bikram?!??”
Bikram is my teacher from Calcutta,India. His guru told him to come to America to ‘Heal the bodies and lives of the people of The West’ with his yoga. He has a school in San Francisco and Beverly Hills”.
Mary Jarvis in Standing Bow-Pulling Pose
“WHAT!!!….the room is heated??!!?”….yep…that freak out statement has been going on for a long time.
When I first started practicing, there were no Hand Towels in the room. There were no water bottles in the room. The Yoga Mat companies didn’t even exist.
We used to cut open large black garbage bags and put them under our towels to try and keep the sweat off the rug….which was a failure, by the way. When you stepped out into a triangle you would slide or surf on the carpet. We did use baby crib liner mats for awhile….still not very long but no surfing.
I bought yoga mats for my school in 1996 and it was a big deal . We could choose dark ugly blue or dark ugly green for colors. They were NOT to be used for a prop. It was only to keep the sweat off the carpet. I still hold true to that even today.
When taking class….YOU DID NOT MOVE !
Hold still in the posture….
Hold still NOT in the posture.
If you moved around in class, Bikram would kick you out. He wouldn’t even tell you why.
It happened to me once.
So I left in shock, not knowing what I did and bummed because that yoga made me feel so good.
After a few days I went back afraid…Had to go though…
Bikram looked at me and said,”WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?”
…”uhhh…you kicked me out??”
“Only for THAT DAY!” “Don’t ever leave again”
So I kept my eyes way wide open when I took class after that …I was looking for anything that would indicate getting kicked out.
And then it happened….a girl in front of me wiped her face after a Triangle Set.
Bikram saw it and faster than I can type, “GET OUT!!!”, she moved.
AH HAHH! SHE MOVED!…..you cannot move in class!…that must have been what I did.
Don’t move in class….Good to know.
I was standing still after a posture one time and bug flew up my nose. I did not go after it. I was not going to move. He was dead by that time anyway and All Bugs are Edible! Pure protein…number one survival rule (besides pee on a cut or gash).
The discipline in the Yoga Room was amazing. The energy was so high. The concentration and focus of the students…I do not even have a good English word to describe it.
I sometimes get nostalgic for those years. I miss those yoga classes…
Hand towels, yoga gloves, “yoga paws”, five bottles of frozen water surrounding all the yoga mats….the running in and out of the class, laying down….pink drinks,orange drinks,green drinks…”neutronium” blue drinks!……
If you come to my school,you will see very few water bottles in the room. Most of the time, the people who have them are Drop-In students from other schools or new students who read somewhere that they should bring water.
I admit that I have a couple of regular practicing students that drink in class. It is a little embarassing to me that they do. I am NOT going to yell at them or anyone for that matter…I just take note of who does and who doesn’t. I do not like it, though!
None of my teachers are ever allowed to drink water while taking or teaching class. Somebody has to hold the high vision! I love it when visiting teachers come to my school…it’s our Yoga Family. They can come for free but they may not drink water or use hand towels in class and they have to stand in the last back row of the yoga room and learn humility.
Three of my students just practiced 8 yoga classes in one day! They never sat down in any of the classes and they never drank water in any of them either. They looked fantastic. They glowed for 15 and 1/2 hours of yoga! To Rebecca Rankin, J-Wong, and Frossie ‘the Aussie’, I say CONGRATULATIONS.
They know how to breathe through their nose and slow their breathing down in Asana and in relaxation after Asana.
They feel neither heat nor cold in the yoga room. They are out of emotional prison in their minds, hearts and energy souls.
This is yoga.
I know that my students and I have the best life in the orange room.