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BA Indonesian/Peace Studies
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This was the beginnings of the imaginings of coconuts in Indonesia, sweaty cafes in Singapore, the tactile heaviness of tropical weather in Timor.
Unfortunately the hot yoga experience was worse than my recruit school days in the military (yes please insert the sound of a needle coming away with that retched sound over a much treasured record). I loved the heat and the series of 26 poses certainly did seem to tap into something very addictive because as strenuous as it was, I was full of energy later that night and desperate to get back the very next morning. Every centre has a different vibe though and Mornington did not suit where I was at in any other respect.
Would I recommend Mornington Hot Yoga? Yes. But most likely to those who already have a yoga body, an expensive yoga outfit, $4 coconut water and a cult like willingness to adore your instructor above your own health.
Bikram yoga has its detractors. Mostly it seems due to the originator, Bikram Choudary himself, and his very irreverent style. I would dearly like to write the more crass commentary but I feel it would be wise to warn the dear readers and post this link to Random Bikram Hilarity: A Collection of Quotes and Such.
Some of the more printable ones include;
'The whole Bikram class is one big brainwashing session', 'when in Rome, I must do as Romans do. When in America, copyright and trademark'
'American Yoga teachers are clowns. Circus clowns. They completely (bleeped) yoga. They crucified hatha yoga in America. There is no yoga called kundalini, power, vinyasa, dog yoga'
There are also many other comments about men and women's personal parts which you will find under the Bikram quotes on a number of web sites. I can see how his style could be taken too seriously by some and translated badly into passive aggression.
To be fair to management at Mornington, the lovely owner was away when I attended and took a younger family member that was made to feel very unwelcome. I had pre-arranged this with the owner but the teachers were unaware of my prior correspondence and chose to be rude rather than simply check my emails or take my word for it. I was also concerned that they claimed full responsibility for under 18s, yet at the same time, had no medical forms to fill out and did not elaborate on any qualifications outside of yoga.
Hot yoga is hard going and I would always reserve my right to either leave the room for fresh air if needed or take a sip of water. Asking my yoga buddy 'are you handling the heat ok?' caused a lot of drama which could have been avoided if it wasn't for the expected pseudo military discipline.
Hot yoga has been recommended by Bikram for anyone over 11 years of age, but 'having reached puberty so as to enable sweating'. I would not recommend you take any youth to hot yoga without discussing this with both the owner and the teacher to ensure they are comfortable with this before exposing a teen to a space where they are not welcome. I also discussed with management that if new comers did not 'fall into line' as expected then perhaps some beginners classes would be helpful.
If you have health issues, are feeling fragile or any other consideration (including under 18), I would perhaps give Fitzroy Yoga a call and speak with them. After having an unpleasant start to hot yoga in Mornington, the owner spent a considerable amount of time on the phone with me talking about hot yoga, its benefits, and how they assist people with medical issues including addictions.
As I did find the actual yoga quite exhilarating I sought further information and I have since had this advice from a concerned yoga teacher:
Yoga is meant to be a relaxing and meditative experience - the union of mind, body spirit with the foundation resting on Ayurveda principles and ancient texts and teachings of the spiritual seeker. It is so much more than the asana (exercise) practice.
She also had concerns about the heat which can be an issue for the heart, or those with medical conditions. There was quite a list of issues such as mineral depletion causing osteoporosis, cardiac arrhythmia from electrolyte loss, and issues with regulation of core temperature due to fluid loss. When I enquired as to the heat in other countries that do practice yoga, she explained that yoga is traditionally performed in the cooler parts of the day. It was also noted that traditional yoga teachers train for many years, often over 5, whereas hot yoga teachers train under Bikram in the US for 9 weeks.
Please ensure of course you discuss any exercise plan with a health professional if you haven't exercised recently and remember that yoga should make you feel amazing, both physically and spiritually.