A hot mind-body connection

While it does not include hot cocoa, Bikram yoga can keep UVM students toasty, challenged and healthy, all without going to Patrick Gym.”If someone told me we were going to do the same thing every day for 90 minutes — the same 26 postures and two breathing exercises in a room heated to 105 degrees — I’d say ‘how boring,'” Bikram yoga instructor and UVM financial analyst Elisabeth Baker said.But the repetition has not prevented Baker from continuing Bikram yoga and becoming an instructor.Every day is really a different experience because you bring different things, like emotions, with you to class, Baker said.”I used to be a runner. On New Years [sic] Day, 2002, I took my first Bikram Yoga class … I went home from that class thoroughly exhausted and simultaneously exhilarated and exclaimed: ‘that was harder than any marathon I’ve ever run!’ And I went back the next day,” she said.However, becoming a Bikram instructor takes a significant time commitment.”You have to do a 500 hours teacher training course with Choudhury Bikram in San Francisco” Bikram practitioner and owner of Bikram Yoga Burlington on Pine Street, Kelley Lyons, said.Director of the Arts Initiative Ann Barlow said she would “recommend it to anybody.””I feel much more grounded emotionally and physically overall,” Barlow said. “Go there with an open mind, relax through the process, [and] don’t always judge it by the first class.””During the actual process of [the yoga], I felt kind of nauseous, like I was going to faint,” UVM sophomore Lora Brown said. “But once that passed, I got really into it.””At first I felt like I was going to fall over, but when I adjusted to the heat, it became really easy to do the poses and I felt so much more flexible,” Brown said.”Everyone has taken their first class.  Everyone wants you to succeed. We all want you to come back,” Baker said.According to Baker, many college students participate at the Bikram studio downtown. “Many satisfy their PE credit by doing independent studies, coordinated with Patsy McLaughlin,” she said.Todd Porter, residence director for UHeights North and four-year Bikram participant, attests to Bikram’s time commitment — and to its worth as a workout.”Each class lasts about 90 minutes, so if you have a very very busy schedule sometimes it can take some maneuvering to work it into your schedule,” Porter said.”If you have the time to do it, it is a phenomenal way to get in shape and get in touch with your inner core,” he said. “Anything that grabs you and keeps you physically fit is great,” Baker said. “If I’m healthy, my whole life benefits — friends, family and my professional work at UVM. It is an incredible gift to be physically healthy and active.”