Why we find hot yoga cool
First-time yoga-studio owners Jezrael Heng and Maria Lourdes Chan haven't officially opened their space to the public, but they're already making waves. Their studio is the first to offer Bikram-yoga classes in a shophouse in the heart of the Katong district.
Bikram yoga has practitioners moving through 26 Hatha yoga postures in a room heated to about 40 deg C. It's said to be a moving meditation that helps you burn as many as 900 calories in one session.
My Paper caught up with the studio owners, who explain more about Bikram yoga, and why founder Bikram Choudhury's bad-boy reputation shouldn't matter to yogis.
Is Bikram yoga necessarily better than other schools of yoga?
Maria: The heat, the sequencing of the postures, and its consistency is what marks Bikram yoga. It's not better, it's just different.
Jez: Bikram yoga works by creating the tourniquet effect: stretching, balancing (using gravity) and creating pressure all at the same time. The blood supply in arteries and veins is being cut off to create pressure. When released, blood rushes through veins and arteries, flushing them out. But all forms of yoga benefit the body in one way or another.
Does the heat work to detox those who have lived a bad lifestyle?
Maria: I am not one to judge someone's lifestyle, but the detox is intense and amazing.
What will your studio offer, that the other Bikram studios here don't?
Maria: We will have private classes, and the studio will have a boutique, exclusive feel, as we are the first Bikram-yoga studio to be located in a shophouse.
How did you yourselves get into Bikram yoga?
Jez: I picked up yoga about 11/2 years after giving birth to my daughter, who is eight years old now. I was working as a flight attendant then. It was an advertisement in a magazine that took me to my first Bikram-yoga class and I loved it so much that I kept going back. I saw the transformation in my body after a couple of months: my body became leaner and I lost inches off my post-natal waist. It also helped me in getting a good night's sleep and staving off jet lag!
Maria: A friend of mine introduced it to me. I have a background in teaching, having been a biology tutor. Yoga has helped me learn to be more patient. I have learnt how to breathe calmly in any challenging situation.
Founder Bikram Choudhury was once called the "bad boy" of the yoga world for trademarking his 26-posture series. Now, there's a lawsuit against him. Does this affect those who practise his style of yoga?
Jez: Absolutely not. Bikram-yoga practitioners love the 26 postures and they should just focus on their own practice and the benefits of this practice.
Maria: He is an amazing teacher to learn from and what we practise is his teaching of a powerful healing and disciplined practice of yoga. There is no negative effect from what a single man does on the practice of your yoga.
Bikram Yoga Katong (130 East Coast Road) will open on Nov 2. Visit www.facebook. com/BikramYogaKatong for updates or call 9380-0715.