Meet BYM teacher Matt Hockersmith

In the latest in our series of interviews with Bikram Yoga Manhattan teachers, meet Matt Hockersmith. He tells his story of growing up on a farm in Wyoming, chasing his dream of acting in New York and how Bikram yoga tumbled into his life at just the right time to help his acting, his life and his weight.

Catch up with our whole video series on our YouTube page or get regular updates by liking our Facebook page. Share with friends and come to one of Matt’s classes!

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One Response to Meet BYM teacher Matt Hockersmith

  1. Julie Mango says:

    Originally published in OM Yoga Magazine

    It’s been dubbed the fastest growing yoga in the world, so what’s so great about Bikram?
    It’s grueling, it’s punishing, and most of all, it’s hot! Yet everyone wants a piece of Bikram yoga right now. The rise in popularity in yoga in the UK during 2010 was no more evident than the surge in demand for hot yoga sessions up and down the country. These sessions – based on a series of postures repeated in a hot, sauna-like studio – are based around the work of yoga pioneer Bikram
    Choudhury, an Indian who moved out to the grandeur of Beverley Hills in the seventies. Bikram has been around for a while – Beatle George Harrison was among his first Western students – but the growing number of converts this year suggests this popular hybrid has really hit a nerve among yogis and keep fit enthusiasts.

    According to Claire Dunphy of Breeze: The Urban Yoga Company ( in Beckenham,
    Kent (UK) it has helped trigger a migration of people from the gym to the yoga studio.
    “If you’re looking to take your yoga practice or fitness training to a whole new dimension, and you enjoy a
    challenge that will ultimately lead you to reap the many benefits of this unique and rewarding activity, then
    hot yoga is for you,” she says.
    But there’s a whole lot more to hot yoga than blood, sweat, tears and toil as Winston Churchill might say.
    As well as the life-affirming buzz you get when you walk out the door there is also an important meditative
    slant. Bikram leads you to a place with stronger mind control, which has multiple benefits beyond the studio,
    creating calm and certainty and connectedness. It helps you believe in yourself and relate more to others. And despite all the hustle and bustle it requires just as much inner focus. “During a session, your mind will inevitably start to chatter and try to distract you until you get used to the routine,” says another Bikram convert. “But you will learn to focus on your breathing, or on an affirmation, or a positive thought, and you’ll soon stop your mind’s chatter with practice.”

    Feeling hot, hot, hot
    What is Bikram yoga?
    A series of carefully researched poses practised in a heated studio. The poses enhance strength, encourage weight loss,
    detoxify the body, and encourage a dramatic increase in tone and flexibility.
    Who is Bikram?
    The legend that is Bikram Choudhury is shrouded in controversy. Born in Calcutta, India in 1946, he founded the Yoga College of
    India in Beverly Hills in 1974. More recently, Choudhury was involved in a lawsuit over his attempt to copyright his series of 26 poses done in a hot room.
    Why is it so darn hot in here?
    According to Bikram, the warm room keeps the body from overheating (contrary to popular misconception) and protects muscles
    during deep stretching. It also boosts the detox effect and helps provide a good cardiovascular workout.
    Who else is doing this?
    Seemingly everyone. Apart from sports stars like David Beckham, celebrities from the world of music, film and television are also joining in.
    Even Prince Harry is a fan. “Bikram yoga is the most amazing thing I have ever done in my life. I’m addicted, I want to do it every
    day,” the posh prince was quoted as saying in the Daily Star.
    Superstar sportsmen like Scots tennis ace Andy Murray and footie star David Beckham are among those sweating it out in the studio to prepare for big matches around the world.
    It’s not quite the calm, meditative practice preferred by some, but those who do it swear by its feel-good benefits. Expect to sweat a lot, they say.
    “The hotter the room the better you will feel afterwards because you detox more, and a warm body makes you more flexible,” says one enthusiast. In fact, it’s the dynamic, active, sweaty side – the feeling that you must be working out and doing your body some good – that appeals to such a large audience.

    Posted by Julie Mango for your Julie Mangoneeds

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