Ten years ago, when I went to my first Bikram Hot Yoga class, I had no idea what to expect. I think I started freaking out about 10 minutes into class and literally struggled the whole way through. (Truth be told, I think I exited the back door a little early.) I was out of my mind—huffing, puffing, fidgeting, you name it—and could not believe the fellow students around me were standing perfectly still. I could not even hear them breathing—and let me tell you, I was sure the whole room could hear me breathing. I was used to a gym experience were people came and went. The quiet, artful discipline of the yogis was really a key factor in my returning to class. I didn’t know how they could possibly be so peaceful in that heat and humidity. I didn’t know, but I was curious enough to see if it could be possible for me.
When I took over the studio a year and a half ago, we, as teachers, came together to create our intention for the studio and for the classes we teach. Our shared focus was to demonstrate and guide our students in understanding the immense value a regular practice can bring into their lives, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Bikram Hot Yoga is a beginning yoga practice. It is so unique as anyone can do the yoga, and yet even the most experienced yogi will still be challenged by it. I was inspired by tennis great Arthur Ashe as he explained this same principle when beginners approach tennis—and we adapted this to define the core mission of our studio.
Start where you are.
Use what you have.
Do what you can.
Receive what you need.
Our mission values have become the soulful inspiration and personality of West Coast Sweat.
Maintaining such a positive environment is definitely a group effort. We, as a community of students, teachers, and staff, all contribute to our overall success. Together, we make the studio the warm and fuzzy place it is. But it’s important we also maintain a level of discipline and respect for the space and those in it. This comes from remembering to practice proper etiquette. Doing so helps make our time together a positive experience for all involved.
Arrive at least 10 minutes before class; create space for your practice. We understand when you come late. Life can get in the way. We get that. We really want you to be able to receive what you need, so please call the studio: we will usually wait a few minutes to start the class.
See yourself in the mirror. Be mindful to stagger and adjust mats as necessary so all have visual access to the front mirror.
Please no cell phones on your mat. (This is our time to detach and unplug to create space in our minds and bodies.) Please use the cubbies for all bags and personal items.
Do so in between postures.
Use the lobby restroom.
Let the instructor know if you need assistance.
A thumb up, nod, or wink lets the instructor know you’re okay. Please wait for the instructor to signal you to reenter class. (We ask for this to help our fellow yogis maintain their focus and concentration in postures.)
Front-row yogis: Be mindful. Your energy and commitment is an example to those behind you.
Practice silence before, during, and after class.
Bikram Hot Yoga is a unique sequential practice. Please reserve additional postures or stretches for after class.
Leave no trace. The yoga room is a sacred area where much healing happens. Please deposit trash, recycling, mats, and towels in their proper places.
Try your best in each posture. Focus on what you can do versus what you can’t do, and receive what you need.
Practice on an empty stomach.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate before class!
I travel frequently, and I love the opportunity to visit other Bikram Yoga studios around the country. I enjoy the consistency and beautiful discipline of the practice. It is truly amazing to see it in action in different settings, connecting to a wider, global community.
And we love being in our home studio with you! We have over 16 teachers on staff, 7 of which are senior teachers with ten-plus years of experience. We love our craft and we love guiding each and every one of you in class daily.
Your open acceptance demonstrates that focus, concentration, meditation, love, and positivity can thrive.
Rosa and Our West Coast Sweat Family