Signs of Bikram Yoga Dependency • 31 December 2009

-You start to think of your morning ashtanga programme as your “cooling” practice.

-You see idiosyncracies in the script—exhortations to lock out the knee so hard it bends backwards, specifications of an upturned palm with “Imagine the hand is full of money, so much money,” grammatical errors such as “pull more harder” and the dropping of articles—as carrying vital historical context. (Phase two: the idiosyncracies point to hidden meanings. They are esoteric.)

-You believe the teacher when she says that the postures should only be done in correct order if one is to receive all of the health benefits.

Working your edge starts to mean seeing how big a lunch you can eat and still hit the 6:30 class without throwing up.

-You experience feelings of great tenderness toward first-timers, hoping they will be welcomed with the same words the desk clerk used to greet you on day one: Welcome to the torture chamber of love.

-You get increasingly excited about new ways to get very fucking cold: leaving the mat in the car so it’s half frozen when you roll it out in the room, eating snow after practice, freezing your water bottle. (There’s luxury in such contrast. But don’t worry: otherwise Bikram torture is bhoga-free.)

-The smell stops bothering you. Really.

-Other people dripping sweat on your mat begins to feel like friendly energy-exchange.

-You experience Stockholm syndrome-like trust and comraderie feelings toward teachers, even though they speak in monologue, don’t touch you, display no facial expressions, and say the same thing over and over and over like broken 1980s pull-toys.

-A bikini seems like a totally normal thing to wear for yoga. In fact…

-You devise a SYSTEM. The SYSTEM codifies the minimal number of strokes of the snow shovel, layers of clothing, and runs of the washing machine required to get your fix every day.  You become a sleek yoga machine, slithering unencumbered and without advance planning through the freezing night and the piles of snow. In to for your fix and out again as if this all makes some kind of sense. Once this level of rationalization sets in, the behavior is likely to continue unless there is an intervention.

:::::::: If symptoms manifest swiftly and intensely, residential care in an approved institution may be required. Optimally, the subject shall be sent directly to the KPJAY Institute of Mysore, India, and attended to by Saraswathi and Sharath, the greatest physicians in the land. A minimum stay of two months is strongly recommended.::::::::