Tag Archives: Hot Yoga

Bikram Yoga Confession: how I lost my practice.

by Barbora Simek

Forgive me Bikram for I have sinned, it has been 6 years since my last yoga challenge.

I don’t really know how it happened.


My bow pose and I, 2010.

When I returned from teacher training I couldn’t get enough of the practice. Yoga was my life. All I cared about was doing the standing splits, touching my forehead to my toes, eating better, hydrating  more and sleeping consistently.

I didn’t eat dairy, wheat or sugar. I didn’t go out. I practiced five or six days a week. I taught 12 classes a week, sometimes 14, I hung out at the yoga studio. I journaled about the things I learned about myself in class. I didn’t drink.

But I was 19 Bikram! Just a kid. And I hadn’t let myself be a kid. There I was, hyper-disciplined, making yoga my life when it hit me: I wanted more.

I wanted to see what it was like to dance till 5am. I wanted to follow other career paths. I wanted to eat wheat and dairy. I wanted to be friends with more than my water bottle and naturopath.

Soon, the desire to escape my self-imposed discipline grew so strong that I started crying an hour before class. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to judge myself in the mirror. I didn’t want to obsess about standing bow or the amount of sugar in my diet.

I wanted a bit of freedom.

I blamed the yoga.

It was foolish, Bikram, I know. But it was so easy to point a finger at the most consistent and disciplined thing in my life: my practice.

I began to resent my standing bow. I stopped trying in forward stretching. I danced till dawn. I ate dairy and wheat. I began skipping class. I stopped being disciplined.

Days, weeks, months went by. It took me 3 months to want to be in the yoga room again. Slowly, inconsistently, I started practicing again. I didn’t love the hot room anymore, I was still mad at the practice. But I was trying.

After another year it became clear that it wasn’t the yoga, but it was me.

I began to understand that I wasn’t being true to myself. I had forgotten that I practice so that yoga can enrich my life but not become my life. I didn’t want to be a career yogi, but a yogi with a career.

I forgot to honour that I was both the girl who loved dancing and the girl that loved working hard.

In a way, diving so deeply into the practice taught me the most valuable lesson of all: that we must all follow our own path and stay true to our spirit. You talk about it all the time Bikram. How yoga teaches us self realization. How our practice teaches us to like and love ourselves.

And so here I am nine years into my practice, about to turn 26.

For the first time I am ready to love both parts of me, the girl that loves to stay up dancing until 5am and the girl who loves to eat fresh salads and work on her standing bow.

So I am trying again. I am ready to welcome some discipline back into my life.

For 30 days, I am going to show up and try. I will still drink lattes and eat pastries but I will also dream of standing bow and touching my forehead to toes. Let’s see what we can make happen in 30 days.

See you in the hot room, Bikram.




Filed under Bikram Yoga, Diary of a Yogi, Yoga Challenge

Building a Yoga Community

by Barbora Simek

Yoga studios are attract people from all walks of life, from doctors and layers to artists and community activists and in between. Developing a strong community at your studio can not only make the experience of your clients more rewarding, but can also drastically improve client retention. Here are five simple events you can use to kick start interaction between your students.

1) After Class Chat and Chew
Yoga afterglow always makes for fun conversation. Try  to stimulate after class discussion between students and teachers alike.

  • Encourage  teachers to stay away from the front desk and move into a communal area right after class, this helps bridge the student teacher gap and make asking questions less intimidating for newer students.
  • Help stimulate conversation with after-yoga snacks. Whether its a small fruit bowl or some treats, food is always a great way to encourage students to spend a little extra time to connect.
  • Take advantage of weekends! Get creative, make a fruit platter, chop a chilled watermellon, put out frozen grapes or make homemade iced tea. Even the most budget friendly and quick treats can go a long way to making your students feel special.

2) Anniversary / After-Challenge Party

Almost every Bikram Yoga studio has an annual or bi-annual challenge or throws anniversary parties. The end of a challenge is a great way to get students to interact and reward them for a job well done. At Bikram Yoga Forest Hill, owner Janice Guertin has perfected the after challenge party. Here are some great ideas you too can incorporate to your next challenge:

  • Promote your clients and local businesses with prizes. BYFH promotes community involvement in and out of the studio with a prize draw that features hair and nail salons, restaurants and massage therapists, nutrition consultations as well as clothing, mat and towel give-aways to promote internal retails.
  • A draw for a teacher prize, helps to make staff feel special as well.

    As an owner, make a speech. Encourage and inspire students by sharing your passion. Point out some individual student achievements from the  challenge by pointing them out to the group, this is a great form of positive reinforcement.

    Always document the party and make images and media available for students after class, so that students can get excited for the next challenge or studio event, and show off the community you invest your time, money and energy building.

Check out this great video made at the last BYFH 30 Day Challenge Party

3) Special Events
Whether your event is wild and wacky or casual, a creative special event can take studio spirit to a new level.

  • We love Bikram Yoga Lower East Side’s wildly successful “Hot-o-ween” Events. Owner Tricia Donegan  rewards the best costume with great prizes like yoga wear and memberships.
  • Bikram Yoga Darlinghurst runs movie nights on a projector in the studio. Screening documentaries and independent and encouraging people to stay after for discussions helps this studio engage their community outside of the studio and create discourse on alternative ideas.

4) Posture Clinics and Seminars

Help to improve your students understanding of the yoga, inspire people to practice more and grow your yoga community by running posture clinics. Have your most senior staff run a short clinic on a weekend, or invite a senior teacher to teach a seminar. Improving the knowledge of how to do the yoga and why to do the yoga stokes the fire of a strong community.

5) Karma Classes

Running a by donation class allows your studio to give back to the community outside of the studio. Some studios chose to lower their rates for these classes, while others like Bikram Yoga Richmond chose a charity to sponsor each month and donate proceeds to a cause that is announced in their monthly newsletter.

*Karma classes in Toronto happen each week at Bikram Yoga Bloor, Fridays at 8pm min. donation $10

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Filed under Bikram Yoga Forest Hill, Bikram Yoga Toronto, Studio