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Bikram Yoga
by Dana Layon, ERYT


I love yoga – all kinds of yoga. Why? Because according to my yoga instructor, yoga postures were originally created to bring our physical body to a state of enlightenment through movement and breath. And guess what? It does.


I practice all styles of yoga: Anusara, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Hot Flow, Iyengar, Bikram. They all offer so much. However, I have never been more challenged as I am in a Bikram class.


I love a challenge. Tell me I can’t do it and I am determined to get it done and done well. The first time I walked into a Bikram Yoga class, I was overwhelmed by the heat. The room is set at 105 degrees and when you first get in there, you are seriously knocked over by how stifling it is. Not only that, but the smell of stale sweat (not body odor by the way), hits your nostrils like a humid day in August.


If you try a Bikram class I urge you to please get past this. This is your first test.


You see Bikram’s philosophy, which I totally agree with, is that we, as Americans are spoiled. We baby ourselves – we don’t push ourselves enough – we allow our mind to run the show. Our body and mind are separate and our bodies are capable of so much more than we can imagine; we think ourselves into limitations.


Not only that, but dis-ease and illness are born from this type of thinking and living. When you come to a Bikram class you are challenged on every level of your being.


The training I took when I learned to teach yoga, was designed to appeal to the masses – gym yoga. Thankfully I started there because I was able to grasp the simple concepts of yoga before being introduced to the reality of it all. Bikram challenged everything I was taught on every level. Safety, limitations, modifications, creativity….every ounce of my being was challenged that first day.


I kept breathing through my mouth and telling my brain I was fatigued. I kept lying down and thinking when will this be over? I was so tired at the end I seriously thought I was going to pass out or throw up. But guess what, I went back the next day and the next day and the next day and continue to attend classes two-three times a week.




Because we meet our mind in a Bikram class. We have the option to continue along the path of complacency and comfort or go beyond and breakthrough our limitations – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.


The first time I walked in that class I couldn’t even think about dropping my head back in a back bend – it hurt so bad. Now it goes back easily. My shoulder has been out of alignment since 1976 when I fell off a teeter-totter and dislocated my elbow. Why has it been out of alignment? Because I babied it and over compensated everything I did not to feel pain in that area of my body. Now at 41 years old, Bikram Yoga, my own Vinyasa practice, my incredible physical therapist and other natural healing modalities is bringing my body back into postural alignment. What would happen if I didn’t do yoga? I would most likely have arthritis in my neck, shoulder, hip and knee.


The first time I went back into Ustrasana (Camel Pose) I came out crying – like a baby. Why? Emotional pain – held in for years and years and years – flooding out like everyone’s business.


It’s our job in life to get beyond our own limitations and live a life that is our own. To live beyond what we think we can do and love every minute of every blissful day we are offered. We cover up what is true and right and lovely with drama and pain and emotional hardship. Bikram strips that away and tells you – “get over it – you can do it”.


It may seem harsh to some but as a dedicated practitioner to the art and science of yoga, I see Bikram Yoga as a way to awaken the Self. Compliment this with a meditation practice, another style of yoga, massage, chiropractic care or any other natural healing modality and you got yourself a brand new life – that’s your own.



Copyright © 2009, Dana Layon. All rights reserved. No part of this program, manual or book may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means electronically, mechanically or other means without express, written permission from the publisher.


About the Author


Dana Layon, E-RYT began practicing Iyengar Yoga in 1997 and then Prenatal Yoga during her first pregnancy in 2002. In 2003, she was introduced to Vinyasa “Flow” Yoga, a westernized style of yoga guiding movement with breath. She has never gone back to traditional exercise because of the overall benefits she realizes with a dedicated yoga practice.


Currently, her main program is her Zen Flow Yoga School nationally accredited with the Yoga Alliance. The school offers a 10 month program that educates aspiring teachers how to help others realize all the benefits of yoga. The course includes teaching methodology and technique, postural alignment, yogic philosophy, anatomy and the business of teaching yoga.


Dana is also available to speak on a myriad of wellness topics including Finding Your Passion In Life; Benefits of Meditation; Living Your Optimal Life; Making Time for Your Health; Live Long and Light: do YOGA. She currently holds monthly, life transforming, educational workshops in Vancouver, Washington and is available for speaking engagements nationwide. See the Workshops page of her site for more information.


She leads Spiritual Warrior Retreats twice a year – geared toward women empowerment and unity.


She teaches Zen Flow 5 times per week; prenatal classes once a week and kids yoga twice a week, offering yoga and life virtues to children ages 3-10.


Her books, Surviving the Human Experience with Spiritual Intention and Om (AUM) will both be published by November 2010.

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