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Bikram Yoga: Hot, Healthy and Healing

by Patricia Monahan

I'm sitting in traffic on a hazy, August Cape Cod afternoon, with water beading on my forehead. As perspiration oozes onto my clothing I plead for the cars ahead to move, to generate some type of breeze to cool my body. My Air conditioner is broken and I'm breaking into a fevered sweat. I curse the season of the tourist as my hands clench the steering wheel. I can't wait to get off the road, out of my car and back into the coolness of my office.

Five hours later, my forehead again is beaded with perspiration. A waterfall runs off my arms and down my legs. My face is burning red and my clothes are saturated. Only this time I feel calm. I am at peace. I crave the sweat that is flowing from my body. I am detoxifying, regenerating, cleansing.

What can make such a difference in the way I feel?

Bikram Yoga.

Sitting in a car sans air conditioning is completely different to practicing hot yoga in a studio designed to rejuvenate the body.

I first stepped into the Bikram Yoga studio at the end of July, 2013, where I met Ann Marie Paul, owner and instructor at Bikram Yoga Brewster. I had never taken a yoga class before, of any kind. I'd always thought of yoga as too slow, too methodical for me. I liked working out in the gym, running, cycling, and hiking.

When I was asked to give Bikram a try I thought, why not? Nine months later, I'm still enjoying my love/hate relationship with the powerful practice.

In 2004, Ann Marie's brother-in-law, Jeff, a Football Coach at Holy Cross, introduced her to Bikram Yoga. A few of her brothers had already begun the practice.

"When I first started practicing, I remember thinking, during the first breathing exercise, that I wanted to sneak out, that no one will notice if I just leave now," Ann Marie says, recalling her very first day. Many who enter a Bikram Yoga studio for the first time have the very same feeling.

"It was hard to calm my mind enough, but the breathing exercise in the beginning did it for me. Before I knew it, I would be doing yoga, really doing it, in the moment. Now, it is just a healthy habit. I go, I breathe, I sweat, and I feel good. It's that simple."

Ann Marie holds a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Providence College, RI. She studied at the Bikram Yoga College of India Teacher Training, in 2007, where she became a Bikram Certified Teacher.

Her passion for helping people improve their health and overall wellbeing is now being fulfilled through her teaching of Bikram Yoga. She opened her own studio in Brewster, in May of 2010.

That same year, Ann Marie began competing in Regional, National and International Yoga Asana Championships. She placed 2nd in the Nationals in LA that year, and 6th internationally. She then placed first in the Regionals and 5th in the Nationals in 2011 and 2012.

So what separates Bikram from other yoga practices?

Invented by Bikram Choudhury, a yogi who came to America from India, Bikram is comprised of 26 poses and 2 breathing exercises, and lasts for 90 minutes. Oh, and these must be performed in a 105 degree heated room at 40 percent humidity! There is no music and no talking (except for the instructor). Bikram utilizes complete focus, bringing the mind in line with the body. And don't forget to "lock your knees"!

Everyone should have a first day and give Bikram Yoga at least one chance. It's not about how fast you learn, it's about how you're learning, and learning it right. One day, without even realizing, you will bend a little deeper, balance a little longer.

Bikram Yoga is a lifetime practice with no age restrictions. It is for the strong athlete and the one with week knees alike. This healing practice is good for you, inside and out, mind, body and spirit.

When you walk into Ann Marie's studio the lobby is small but comfortable, and filled with positive energy. She is assisted by two other certified instructors, Kristin and Amy, so you are in good hands. You do the best you can on any given day. Just getting there and staying in the room for the full 90 minutes gives you a wealth of benefits.

Before you go to a Bikram Yoga class be sure to drink plenty of water. Hydration is very important. But do go, at least once. Stop by the studio and see what Bikram Yoga Brewster has to offer you. I'm sure you will want to come back for more.

For more information about Bikram Yoga Brewster visit:

Photograph courtesy of Bikram Yoga Brewster

Bikram Yoga Brewster

84 Underpass Road, Brewster, MA.
(508) 896-5210

I have been playing with my pen since I was about twelve years old. Now newly entering the golden years I believe it is time to stop playing and start really having fun. Watch for my upcoming blog on my transition into the Free and Fabulous World of the Fifties.

I am an Accounting Supervisor for ILG/Vacation Resorts International and work at their Hyannis, MA location. While working on financial reports, I am secretly adding up the components of my dream vacation.

I currently enjoy living in Brewster, MA, with my three older children and make a vacation out of the beach whenever I can.

Bikram Yoga, nature walks and meditation are my great creativity motivators. I have also been recently certified as a Oneness Blessing Giver and enjoy many forms of energy work. I can be reached at