Tag Archives: Mary Jarvis

Diary of a Yogini: Mary Jarvis on the early days of Bikram Yoga

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.

“Get out!”
“What??..”
“GET OUT!!!”

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Filed under Diary of a Yogi, Mary Jarivs