By Donn Swaby




When you live in Southern California you probably know at least one person who practices yoga, that is, if you’re not already practicing yourself. But do you know about the one that makes you sweat?

I’m talking about Bikram Yoga, the immensely popular yoga discipline that is a pure form of Hatha Yoga, a practice of using postures, or “asanas” to create the strength, stamina, and focus needed for meditation and spiritual well being. It is practiced in a sauna-like environment to emulate the heat of a very warm day in Calcutta .

It was started in 1926 by Yogiraj Bikram Choudhury, who was a champion in yoga competitions as a child and a weight lifter in the Olympics in the 60‘s. After surviving a weight lifting accident he returned to his own yoga instructor, Bishnu Ghosh, who helped him fully restore his body‘s mobility. Bikram went on to open yoga schools in India, Japan, and eventually around the world.

Having practiced for five months (its my newest passion!) at the Bikram Yoga Center in Studio City, I asked owner and yogi Ted Lehrman how he came to open the yoga studio.

“ I had a serious back injury and a lot of pain,” said Ted. “I met a glowing woman in a coffee shop who invited me to her last day of Bikram Yoga teacher training. I went the next day. After one day I felt my circulation improve. From then on I went six days a week.”

Ted went on to become a certified Bikram Yoga instructor. He opened Bikram Yoga in Studio City in 2002. He also owns a yoga store directly above the studio where, in addition to water and juice, you can buy yoga products ranging from clothing to instruction books to mats to body oils. Students can also use the bathrooms and showers there after class. (Don’t forget to say hello to Lola, the pet iguana!)

All you’ll need to bring is a towel, a yoga mat, plenty of water (you can also buy water and/or rent a mat for a dollar), and a healthy dose of both determination and patience. Don’t panic if you get dizzy or nauseous the first time; its normal and will pass. As with any yoga practice, your body will gradually respond according to how much time and effort you put into it. Once you do start seeing a change, don’t be surprised if you find yourself going more and more… perhaps even everyday. Another yoga disciple born.

12312 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA
Tel.: 818-752-4325
Fax: 818-752-4320


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© Melt Magazine 2007