Is Bikram Yoga Only Focused on the Physical?

bikram yoga toe stand pose asana original hot yoga sedona arizona cathedral rock

by Ann Chrapkiewicz

Question: Is Bikram Yoga too focused on the Physical?  Is it a dominantly physical practice?


Answer: Well….some people do say, “Yes.”

I have heard it over and over.  Things like: “They are so focused on their bodies.”   Or: “those mirrors – they are so vain.”  “Competitive”.  Or: “You can’t possibly go within when you have all of that heat and sweat and light.”

My response to these answers is that 1) they are coming from the outside looking in, making a judgment without experience. 

Healthy Choices for a Health Practice | Indoor Yoga during COVID |

camel pose yoga men bikram

October 1, 2022 UPDATE: Masks are no longer required in our facilities but are welcome and invited for anyone who chooses to wear one.

Additional air purifiers have been added to our yoga room, and we are continuing to maintain a room capacity of 21 as well as a 6-7 foot spacing between everyone in the room.

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Original Post from July 22, 2022:

I am one of those people who pondered, even during the first weeks of COVID shutdowns,  whether there would ever be an “end” to the pandemic.

This Body is the Earth | Bikram Yoga as a Tool for Reconnection | Happy Earth Day!

Pranayama Deep Breathing Bikram Yoga Red Rock Crossing Sedona Arizona

by Ann Chrapkiewicz


For those of us who have been raised in civilizations of extractive capitalism, tools for healing and reconnection are needed.   Badly.  By all of us.

Disconnection, alienation, and estrangement from the earth (including our living, breathing bodies) is pretty much par for the course.

So on this Earth Day 2021 and all going forward, I want to include our human bodies as part of the earth that we celebrate, connect with, protect, love, and heal.

How to Get Kids on a Therapeutic Yoga Path

youth kids free yoga bikram hot yoga

At BYCA we have a very strong youth program, with many youth attending weekly now for several years!  You can read about some of our long-term regular youth practitioners here.

At the same time, we have a lot of parents who would like their kids to take up yoga, but who feel stuck.  Lately I had a few people ask me directly ,”How do I get my kids to do yoga?”

Framing “Yoga” Differently

In over 15 years of practice, I have found that the answer lies almost entirely found in how the parent views yoga, how the parent speaks about yoga, and how the parent uses yoga.   

Happy Yoga Birthday!

by Ann Chrapkiewicz

Last month marked my 15th year of practicing Bikram Yoga.  I was fortunate to find this healing practice when I was just about to turn 25.

This past week, I turned 40.  (And I got to hear Happy Birthday in Triangle Pose – in 3 different classes!  Great for the lungs, people!)

I feel so much better at 40 than I did at 24. 

Youth Yoga – Celebrating our Kids at BYCA

If you have not yet attended our Thursday evening warm class, you have yet to be part of a special treat.

Since 2016, we have regularly invited youth ages 6 and up to participate in the second half of the traditional Bikram Yoga series, and many have “graduated” to practicing the whole class now.

This month we have a few very special things to celebrate.

One-Year Anniversary

First: our youngest student, Summer, has been practicing regularly since mid-March, 2017. 

Flattery and Criticism: An Introduction

by Ann Chrapkiewicz


Over a decade ago, one of my most influential yoga teachers at the time presented me with a quote:

“To the Yogi, criticism and flattery are no different.”

It made sense to me on some levels, and I thought I could relate to not caring about the status quo.  I had a history of peacefully withdrawing from certain social circles and finding my own way.

Big Girls Bend: My (Ongoing) Journey as a Fat Yogi

by Marini Lee, Ph.D.


I’ve been practicing bikram yoga for almost 12 years now. According to the Western world (and my recovering internal body critic), I should look differently. I should be thin by now!!!! Shouldn’t I?

Well, I’m not.

First of all, being and/or getting “thin” is not (nor should be) the goal of yoga. Yoga means “union.” It is my understanding that this union is about optimal health – mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Healing Chronic Back Pain and Reversing Chronic Kidney Disease

Meet John, who started practicing Bikram Yoga with us in December 2013, at age 68.  Just prior to beginning Bikram Yoga, he was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.

Against the advice of his physician, he started coming to class 4-5 times per week.

In only 3 months of this new routine, his health dramatically improved.  Here are the official numbers from his diagnostic tests:


BEFORE (Fall 2013):

1) resting blood pressure (with medication): 135/85
2) resting heart rate: mid 90s
3) fasting glucose: above normal range


AFTER (April 2014):

1) resting blood pressure: 115/68
2) resting heart rate: high 60s
3) non-fasting glucose: normal
4) chronic kidney disease: COMPLETELY GONE!!!

No, YOU! YOU are ready for yoga!

all ages full locust bikram yoga
by Ann Chrapkiewicz

Are you ready for yoga?

As inclusive as North American yoga wants to be, yoga in its deeper dimensions demands certain qualities.

Are you ready for yoga?

Well, I have a yoga mat and I hydrated well.  So yes, I think so.

But the question again: are you ready for yoga?

The yoga clothing companies would like you to think you are.  

2017 Spring Yoga Buddy Challenge – Inspiration, Highlights, and Special Projects

Half Moon Ghosh Yoga Bikram Yoga Backward Bend East Lansing MSU

by Ann Chrapkiewicz

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Our annual Spring Yoga Buddy Challenge is a true highlight of the year and takes place from April 1 – May 31 each year.

It expands and deepens our practice and understanding of yoga, and it is so much fun!!

All teams who completed the challenge by May 31 received a unique 2017 Yoga Buddy shirt for each team member.  (These are also available for sale if you would like one.)

You can view more photos on the Facebook album here.

Practicing Yoga with Linux!

Setting Up Triangle - Trikonasa - Bikram Yoga

–BYCA Guest Blog Post–

The author is a scientist, musician, and occasional computer programmer based in Lansing, MI.

He is a founding member of “Los Tres Yogamigos”, BYCA’s premiere yoga buddy challenge team.

Kapalbhati Home Practice Bikram Yoga Computer Program

I suffered from chronic back pain for fifteen years. Episodic attempts at cultivating a yoga (or Pilates, or Alexander technique, or self-medication) practice would temporarily ease this pain, but it was not until I moved to Lansing and had the opportunity to practice the 26+2 sequence daily at Bikram Yoga Capital Area (BYCA) that I was able to make the (hopefully somewhat permanent) changes to the structure of my spine that were necessary for me to sit comfortably and live without chronic pain.

July 2017 Intermediate Yoga – Instruction and Silent Classes – Weekday Mornings

intermediate standing bow pulling standing rainbow pulling

Those with at least one to two years of regular practice and 250 or more classes’ experience in the traditional 26&2/Bikram Yoga method are invited to join us for a unique practice intensive in intermediate preparations and postures in the Ghosh lineage.  This round will be an immersive, daily, morning practice (6:15 am – 8:15 am) for the entire month of July, held Monday through Friday for four weeks (with the exception of Friday, July 14).

Live Asana Demonstrations at the USA Yoga Mid West Super Regional Championships

Ann Half Spine Twist Cropped 2017 Mid West Chicago

East Lansing, Michigan – May 25, 2017 –

Three practitioners at Bikram Yoga Capital Area represented the state of Michigan in this year’s USA Yoga MidWest Super Regional Championships in Chicago, IL, this past weekend.

BYCA students Lauren Anastos, Lindsay Gray, and Ann Chrapkiewicz performed their routines with steadiness, focus, and calm.  They all had a very enjoyable, positive experience!  The best possible outcomes for all.  As a group, the three of them did not pressure themselves to “perform” or compete, nor to train beyond their capabilities.