Bikram Yoga: In Orlando and in London

I wrote last week about Bikram Yoga West Orlando and believe it or not, I STILL have more to say so I thought I’d just finish it here.

I noticed that lots of people left the room or walked in and out of practice at West-Orlando and I found this very strange.  Here in London, they get quite upset at you for walking in and out because it is quite disruptive and the shock to the system between hot and cold might send your head into spins.

Walking in and out is disruptive because the doors are quite noisy, the doors are mirrors (so if you don’t close them properly after opening them, then the people using that part as a mirror won’t be able to see themselves properly any more because the mirror will be angled and most importantly, the air that comes in from outside is SOOOO cold!

It’s very “cool” when the ice-cold air rushes in and all the steam rises from the hot bodies and the hot floor creating a mist so you can’t even see the floor any more!  Doing a full locust in this is like rising up and flying above the clouds!!  I so wish I could take a picture of that happening in our London studio.  It always makes me smile.  For you Floridians, imagine the early morning mist rising from the lake… it looks just like that but in a yoga room!!  In West-Orlando however, you don’t get this huge change in temperature so walking in and out wasn’t a bother.

In London, the teachers open the doors to let cold air in during class, they do this in both of the studios we practice at.  They open windows, doors, turn on fans and it’s really a love hate relationship for me. I love the feeling of cool but I hate that I, all of a sudden feel stiff just before the next pose.  Or, I love that I get the fresh air and can breathe again but hate that I get goosebumps and start feeling my sweat turn into icicles on my body.  I was much more at home with the Floridian studio with its constant temperature.  Even when they turned on the fan, I felt the breeze but the temperature didn’t change and that was wonderful!

We thought we were doing awesome at the West Orlando studio and I was so keen to do yoga in London again to show our teachers just how much we’d improved in 2 weeks and guess what?  Our practice regressed!

We could barely stay up for all the postures when we started practising again in London.. it was really bizarre!  And after 3-4 weeks back and practising every week, we are only JUST starting to get our practice looking like it was when we were in Orlando.  VERY strange.

They did say the other day that we practice in one of the hottest rooms in the world here in London… There might be room for contention here but it could explain the huge difference in our practice!  The West-Orlando room was hot, you’d feel it hit you as soon as you walked in but it really is a different kind of hot.

Bikram Yoga West-Orlando was STRICTLY on time and usually the teacher and receptionist are the same people.  So when the teacher has to teach, the doors are locked and there’s no more reception which means you get in early or you don’t get in… and they ALWAYS started EXACTLY on time.  This is great because the pace of the class is constant and there isn’t any rushing over any posture.  The rhythm of the class was easy to get into.

They don’t often start strictly on time here in London and so depending on the teacher, we either rush through postures in the standing series or, more often than not, rush through the floor series.

We were stuck in traffic (one thing I don’t like about Florida) and it was SOOO bad that we had to just can the thought of even going, didn’t take the turn off and just headed out to our next destination instead.  There was no way we would get there.  At least in London there are always alternative routes (public transport wise) and the teachers tend to wait a little for late comers and there’s always a receptionist to let you in “if you hurry” so you tend to still get in during the breathing exercise if you’re running late.  Also it takes them time to set up the room so sometimes you get there 5 mins late and people are still waiting for the room to be set up.

We woke up and drove all the way to yoga West-Orlando for a 6.30 am class to try squeeze in a last class before we left, arrived 10 mins late (which would be around the end of 2nd set of breathing / 1st set of moon pose) and stood there at the door despondently knowing full well there was just no way anyone was going to know we were out there.  We knocked a few times and then left shortly afterwards promising to get there that evening but with traffic… again… it just wasn’t to be!

Had it been London, it would’ve been fine.  I’ve only turned up to a morning yoga class late, once.  I turned up at 6.40am for a 6.30am class.  They actually said “You’re really late.. normally we wouldn’t let you in but since it’s so early and you’ve come all this way, you can go in.”  PHEW!!  Not the case in West Orlando!!  We woke up early, made the effort to get there before the sun rise and still didn’t get to do a class.

I mentioned setting up the room.  Here in London, it’s so busy that they set out all the mats for us, when you enter the room, you enter with only your towel and water, you choose a mat and place your towel on it.  In West Orlando, we actually took our mats, towels and water in and placed our mats wherever we liked… can you imagine?? There was so much space, we could choose where we put our mats!!!  And whilst in London the mats are perfectly side by side with no gaps in between, in West Orlando, you could have 3 mats wide on either side of you before your next neighbour!  How awesome is that?  No more of their sweat dripping on your towel, no more smelly feet in your face, no more hitting funky feet with your hands when you do a sit up, no more face in someone’s butt and smelling farts from the person 2 mats away from you when you swan dive in Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose, it really is just you and your practice!  Brilliant.

And afterwards they all clap… they CLAP at the end of class in West Orlando!! LOL!  We don’t clap in London, we’re WAY too proper for that!  A simple Namaste will do us thank you 😉

My reaction to the clapping initially was like my reaction to people clapping in church.  I was born and raised Catholic and clapping in church?  Well, you just don’t do that!! LOL  I got over it after the first few…

Anyway, that’s enough ranting and raving about the differences.  We have to experience other studios around the world to see if we really do practice in the hottest room in the world in London and whether or not it’s the Himalayan Salt lamps in the West Orlando studio that improved our practice 🙂

Until next time yogis – enjoy whichever studio you’re attending!!


2 thoughts on “Bikram Yoga: In Orlando and in London”

  1. This is a great overview and comparison! It’s always so interesting to take the “same” class in different studios. I may check out West Orlando some time. I don’t live too far from there.

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