You might find yourself asking why on earth would one pay money to go into a 40+ degree room to do yoga in bali when one could quite easily get their 'sweat on' standing outside for free on the street? I guess you just simply have to trust its loyal disciples or better still, try for yourself!
For the initiated Bikram devotees, JIWA comes highly recommended. Having dabbled in the odd Bikram class around the world, this Bali experience provided a number of refreshing firsts including: Fresh coconut water after class, comfortable, small class sizes, friendly, genuine, non-threatening instructors, pre-placed mats, free towel and an odor free room!
Often the biggest barrier to Bikram lovers is the time commitment, so it's useful that JIWA also offer a HOT YOGA flow class for 60 minutes. However don't be deceived into thinking this will be less challenging ! Take it from someone who spent way past their quota in child's pose recuperating after intensive Vinyasa flow sequences. With a heart beat louder than the music, one really has no option but to listen to their body. A quick scan of the room from the mat revealed a very fit audience with a collective body fat ratio of zilch and this factor alone should have been a warning sign!
Hats off to my fellow classmates who endured all of the postures. It is probably not recommended for a first timer or for one who has indulged the night before though! For a workout that is traditionally performed outside a heated room, it is questionable whether the extra heat really was necessary? Or maybe that is just a bruised ego talking! Thankfully pressure from the teacher didn't add to the discomfort. Her reassuring, encouraging gestures kept me in the room.
Back to my earlier point about the teachers, it was refreshing to discover that the absence of hands-on corrections was not in fact part of the Bikram doctrine. Holding a classical yoga background and teaching qualification, this observation alone escalated my opinion not only of the instructors but of Bikram, sky fold. There is no doubt that the teachers there have been hand picked by Australian owner, Ange, as they all exude real qualities of a teacher as opposed to a human taperecorder, focused on improving postures and enhancing the level of student learning. Offering additional personalised tips to participants pre and post class, they willingly share and genuinely care.
Finally, judging by the locker room banter and prolonged gatherings in the foyer after class, JIWA manages to successfully create a home away from home for its international participants. This sense of community combined with the quality of the teachers earns BIKRAM a place on the workout buffet for visitors to Bali. For maximum enjoyment, come hydrated and leave your ego behind!
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