An open letter to new Bikram studios
With love from your teacher
Dear New Student
We welcome you to Hot Yoga Ibiza – the home of Bikram yoga in Ibiza. From the minute you step foot in your very first class, you become part of the Hot Yoga Ibiza and the international Bikram Yoga families. Your first class might become the stuff of dinner party legend – something that is laughed about for years to come and never attempted again (we hope not!). But it may be the start of a new daily routine (we hope so!), your new obsession or just an occasional hobby – whatever the outcome, there’s no doubt your first experience will stay with you forever.
As the teacher of your first ever hot yoga class, the responsibility falls on me within just 75 minutes, to share with you the practice I have dedicated a huge part of my life to. It’s my strongest wish that you too, get to experience the life-changing wonders of this practice – not just to your body, but your mind and soul too. So please, listen carefully as I talk you through the asanas (positions) and lead you through the breathing exercises. Yes, it’s going to be tough, but I can promise you the results are worth it.
Bikram Yoga was not designed to be a lovely, relaxing class. The room is hot – very hot – and humid too, and the poses are difficult. This isn’t because we’re competitive, or trying to prove something. It’s a very carefully curated combination of elements – heat, mirrors, and even the military like style of teaching – that when united, can change your life, heal your body, open your heart and clear the mind. You will notice my voice is loud as I teach the class. This is not because I want to bully you, dominate you, or boss you around. My voice, combined with the strict Bikram Yoga dialogue (instructions), is a tool to help you get through the class. When you want to give in, my words will be there to lift you up; when you are exhausted, my voice brings you energy and encourages you. I use my voice, my words and my intonation to show you just how much I care about every student and their practice.
It may seem to you, as a new student, that there are a lot of people packed closely together in the studio. This isn’t because we’re all about the money, cramming in students rather than add more classes to the schedule – it’s quite the opposite, in fact. The philosophy behind Bikram Yoga is that the more we can practice together, the more we can share one another’s energy. Knowing your neighbour on the next mat is going through the same experience as you can help you get through the class; other students can serve to inspire you, and may go on to become your friends, or even your partner (it wouldn’t be the first time yoga has united a couple!). With this in mind, please be kind and patient with all students in the room, in the shower rooms, in the reception are after class – you will soon find the more patience you practice in the studio, the more patient you can be in the outside world.
Sure, you see a lot of skin in a Bikram class, but this is not due to vanity. In case you hadn’t noticed, it is HOT in here! At the same time, the more clearly you can see your body and muscles in the mirror, the more easily you can make adjustments to the positions. We also want you to learn to appreciate what you see – your body is beautiful and deserves to be acknowledged. At the same time, you don’t really want to be huffing and puffing and wringing sweat from a baggy t-shirt, or wriggling around to adjust your pants while contorted into a triangle. It’s simple; the less you wear, the easier the class.
We don’t allow students to talk in class – nope, not to your neighbour, your friend and obviously not on the phone (which must be left in the lockers). This isn’t because we want to silence you – far from it. As part of the Hot Yoga Ibiza family, we want to hear your voice in the reception area, down the corridor and in the changing rooms – just not in the studio space. In the hot studio, I want you to pay attention to me so you can practice safely, but at the same time I want you to listen to your inner self – the breath, the heart, your true thoughts (and these may surprise you during class). After class, feel free to chat all day and night – go on our social media channels and share your opinions. But for 75 glorious minutes in our studio, you will be asked to respect this vow of silence.
Stillness too, is important. Not because we want to control you, but because it’s important for you to let go of all distractions and truly, deeply connect to this practice and all its benefits. While you are in the poses, you’re working harf to open up your body, and when you are in stillness, your body and cells begin the process of healing. This is very important. You may have practiced with other teachers before, perhaps you are not finding the class challenging (then it’s possible you’re not doing it right!), or it could be that your muscles are aching from injuries – whatever you are feeling, the body must be given the opportunity to to heal.