Bikram Yoga: Advanced Class

Did you know that there is a general rule that an advanced class is offered in every Bikram Yoga studio?

The only thing is that it is by invite only.

We knew there was an advanced class in our old studio because there were so many people attending it.  We thought that the advanced class was offered because there were so many people that were going to the studio capable of doing it and attending.

It turns out that they offer one in our new studio and generally, there really should be an advanced class offered in all Bikram Yoga studios!  How about that?!  You’ll just never see it on the timetable so if you’re interested, you have to ask.

The invite only aspect is to prevent beginners turning up and injuring themselves during class as the postures are advanced duh!  Therefore whoever runs the advanced class must first see your beginners practice and assess whether or not you are strong and flexible enough to be allowed to do it.

There are certain minimum requirements they look at:

1.  You must be able to do a standing head to knee pose

2.  You must be able to do a toe stand

3.  You must be able to do lotus

They didn’t say it but I’m sure they’re going to look at your overall ability with the other postures as well.

Tony’s practice is, as I’ve mentioned many times, VERY strong. So, with some encouragement, he got assessed and he’s in!!  He did his first ever advanced class last week!   20 months of continuous practice and he’s in the advanced class!  I’m so proud of him!

He thought it would be fun if we went together but I hadn’t been assessed (I still can’t do a standing head to knee pose) so I was just going to turn up with him, turn on the puppy dog eyes and see if I could join but decided against it after seeing some of the poses on YouTube the night before.

I have confidence in my abilities and I also know where my current limits are.  Even Tony who is ever encouraging and supportive saw the poses and said that I have some way to go.  So… I’m going to do some more practice first!!

The advanced class is done in the same temperature and humidity as the beginners series except it lasts for 2 hours and anything goes…. the poses done on the day are decided by the teacher.

Tony got home and couldn’t explain anything, he barely spoke because his back was hurting and he was tired!  A day later he managed to tell me that it was difficult, very fast paced, he couldn’t do some of the poses, spent a lot of time in inversion postures and that they also did a lot of arm balances so his neck, shoulders and back were all still hurting.

I thought it was a serious case of the man flu and over exaggeration but when I made him take an afternoon nap to help his recovery, he completely passed out for hours!!  Poor thing was in pain and completely exhausted and didn’t know it!  Also as careful as he is, he managed to injure himself during the class when he fell out of a handstand sideways and has had lower back pains (so he couldn’t really bend forwards), for the last few days.

His recovery has been really quick however because he’s continued to enter the hot room and do the beginners series daily and his feedback was that although all the poses were completely different in the advanced class, the difficulty level had shot up by 100 fold and he was fading by the time 2 hours hit, he still found it really fun and is looking forward to going back again.

The classes only occur once a week so by the time the next advanced class comes, he’ll be fully recovered and ready to go again.

One of the teachers attends the advanced class and keeps encouraging me to get on the band wagon and get myself there, she keeps saying that my practice is strong enough and that I should just get assessed.  I’ve had the opportunity to do this for the last 4 weeks and I still haven’t done it.

Coincidentally, I will be at dinner with a friend and not around when the advanced teacher does his class this week so will have to wait yet another week before being assessed.  I’m obviously avoiding it and now wondering if not being able to do the standing-head-to-knee pose isn’t about my physical ability but just a form of mental block, self sabotage so I won’t ever be good enough to get into the advanced class.  Chances are it is a mental block because after seeing the poses on YouTube and hearing Tony’s description of some of the postures, I was absolutely relieved that I didn’t go!!

Regardless of whatever irrational fears I may have to get over, if you meet the minimum requirements (check with your studio what their min requirements are) and want to move forward with your practice, then make sure you ask at your studio about attending advanced classes!

For now, I’m focussing on getting my standing head to knee pose sorted and THEN I will have the teacher assess my abilities for advanced.

Until then, see you in the hot room! 😉

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2 thoughts on “Bikram Yoga: Advanced Class”

  1. I was invited to advanced without a standing head to knee. Actually, I wasn’t even kicking out at the time… I practiced for 16 years before even attempting to! There are 4 studios in my area, but only one has advanced. We are required to take beginner series before advanced practice, and usually turn the heat down or off. We also always do the same postures in the same order at advanced, just like in beginners series. But there’s no dialogue, someone just leads like says what’s next and when to change and stuff. It’s more relaxed, we’ll stop and talk and help each other a lot. Sometimes we do a lot of extra sets 5-8, or decide to hold something for an extra long time.

    1. Wow the advanced class you do sounds a little different to the one Tony did. Perhaps we’ll have to get him to do the class a few more times to see if that first one was just an anomaly!

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