4. Why is each class the same?

Our postures are indeed exactly the same each time for a specific reason. While there are many asanas that one may practice in different styles of yoga, the Bikram Beginner’s class consists of  two breathing exercises and 26 postures as a specific sequence that systematically works through many structures of the body, stretching, stimulating and healing while at the same time using the heat to both facilitate this process and very importantly to discipline the mind.

Rather than introduce different postures with each class, we avoid the mental distraction this creates, otherwise the student would constantly be stopping their body, breath and mind "flow" to try and figure out the unfamiliar posture.

The sense of repetition that you will note is important as it allows you to lessen your thought processes during class, flow with the instructions, focus on breath, stay more "present" and experience a sort of "waking meditation".

By practising the same sequence in every class, all students, both experienced and brand new continually refine what they are capable of, working on their body as well as their focus, concentration and determination.

For those students who have practised this class over many years, it never becomes boring as each class is somehow "different" depending upon  the degree of preparation we have made, the state  of mind we are in, the amount of rest we have had, the number of people in the room, the time of day, the ambient weather outside, etc. etc.  Every day while the yoga is the same, our bodies are different and the class is different.

Some students wonder if we teachers get bored saying the same thing. Certainly, if a particular teacher came into class and did not connect with the bodies and energy in the room and just spoke the words as if reading a book, both the teacher and the students would be pretty dulled by the experience.

We, as teachers, all use a similar "dialogue" or set of verbal instructions to guide the students safely in and out of the postures. We do encourage our teachers at Fitzroy to speak with their own "voice" that reflects their individual background of experience.

While we may sound the "same" in each class, certain instructions may be repeated or emphasised as we conduct a "dialogue" using our words to communicate with your body as it moves through the class. So if you were to record and listen to two classes, the words would be slightly different from class to class. That is the art of teaching.

In a Bikram class we do not generally demonstrate postures. Our belief is that by you using the mirror and learning to really listen to the words, your body will move and progress at a pace that reflects your unique circumstances and abilities. You may note that we do not use props and rarely make hands on corrections.

This is also in respect of each person's body's uniqueness. Depth is never the goal...but correct form is...and you will achieve that as you begin to "feel" the posture, sometimes after weeks, months or even years of repetition. Depth too may follow but we would never expect two people to perform any posture to the same degree of depth.

There are certainly many styles and lineages of yoga and some students may wish to combine another class with their Bikram class to "round out" their yoga routine. We are just pleased when someone comes in to try our Class Trial.  And then we just hope they will continue a personal practice in the future, in whatever style they feel comfortable with, Bikram or otherwise.

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