Bikram, it’s all in the words

A funny thing about Bikram Yoga is that in every class — for some, that means almost every day — students hear words written by a man many will never meet. Sure, he exists as the spiritual head of the yoga we are doing. Books and pictures and videos help him come alive. But mostly we know him through his words, heard over and over and over.

Many of those words rattle around in our heads long after class ends. “Lock the knee, lock the knee, lock the knee,” might in fact get imprinted in your brain cells after 20 classes. And before doing Bikram, did you have any idea the Japanese were big on ham sandwiches, or that you’d ever try to look like one?

Here’s a collection of our favorite phrases from Bikram’s dialog. Please share yours!

— You aren’t going to die. You aren’t that lucky
— Suck in your stomach to support your lower back
— Bounce, bounce, bounce like you’re on a motorcycle ride
— Don’t be afraid. Your back is supposed to hurt
— You can never kick hard enough
— The kicking and the reaching must be equal
— Locked, solid, one-piece, unbroken, like a lamppost. You have no knee
— Always come back to your breath
— You can mess with the gods but don’t mess with your knees

— If you can’t grab your heels, grab your heels
— If you’re late, it’s over
— If you feel dizzy or nauseous, good job
— Make yourself a little bit dizzy
— No spaghetti arms
— No broken umbrellas
— Exhale all your thoughts, plans, expectations
— Don’t lose the grip
— All with your happy smiley face
— Feel like you’re going to fall down backwards
— Go up like a 747 taking off
— Tighter is lighter
— Lock the knee, lock the knee, lock the knee
— The spine is the source of energy in human life
— Focus on yourself in the mirror
— If your eyes wander, your mind will wander
— Little sips of air
— From bones to skin, fingertips to toes
— It’s party time

What are your favorites? What strikes you as the silliest? The most meaningful?

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One Response to Bikram, it’s all in the words

  1. This is awesome! I hadn’t heard of some of these…”You aren’t going to die. You aren’t that lucky” and “Bounce, bounce, bounce like you’re on a motorcycle ride.” Love it!

    Some of my favorites: “If you let someone steal your peace, you lose!” and one that isn’t from Bikram but from my studio director: “You’re not babies, you’re warriors. So quit acting like babies and do your yoga!”

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