Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bikram – Fraud or Fanatic?

For the past two days, or make that 16 hours, I have attended two classes in the so-called “Bikram Torture chamber” of Bikram Yoga. This is yoga performed in a hot room. Why did I choose to do this  ?
Well I love a good sauna, and I like yoga…. perfect combination? Right? WRONG!

Classically trained on and off for the past 24 years in Iyengar yoga as a recreational pursuit for fun flexibility and fitness, I decided to give Bikram a go… Despite several warnings from my work colleagues about the challenging nature of the class. I was ready for that…

What I wasn’t ready for was the American style , six-pack- loaded teacher complete with” Madonna-style” mic on a pedestal in front of the class, barking orders at me and clicking her fingers like I was some kind of performing seal!  This,for me, contravenes all that is good and attractive about yoga. That is: relaxing, finding peace tranquility, at one with mind and body.

But strange as it seems, plenty of people like to be spoken to like some kind of circus animal, endure poses where the object, according to the instructor, is “pain” and sweaty bodies in a smelly room heated to 105 degrees celsius with restricted access to water.  There were at least 17 in the class I attended.

I guess the claims of losing weight, improved healing and endurance suck people in... in fact I put on weight!

If you are contemplating a Bikram class, for goodness sake, drink at least 3 litres of water beforehand and  do not drink your water during class, unless instructed to do so. Or else, you will be reprimanded mercilessly. Secondly, if you dare to do a variation of a pose, ( one that you have practised for 20 years the correct way) contrary to the Bikram technique, due to a muscle cramp, you can expect to be asked to leave the class, as I was……..

This is such an abomination of the concepts of Yoga I feel quite irritated that it even calls itself Yoga! So I began to research this style, and it seems that there are some suspicious issues that question the very integrity of Bikram, and these I discovered, even in a basic wiki search.

For example:
Wiki tells us:
Another controversial component of Bikram yoga pertains to the prevalence of Yoga Asana Championships, regionally and nationally. While practitioners of other forms of yoga maintain that competition contradicts the idea of peace and unity, Bikram contends, “Competition is the foundation for all democratic societies. For without ‘Competition’, there is no democracy.”[12]

Legal issues

In the United States, {Bikram} Choudhury has claimed and been aggressive in enforcing broad copyrights in most aspects of the practice, teaching, and business of the system.[3] While these claims are not definitively resolved (i.e., by any judicial ruling on the merits), Choudhury has extracted legal settlements from a number of yoga teachers and studios.[3] However, in a recently issued, official statement, US Copyright Office concluded, that the copyright for Bikram’s sequence of 26 postures had been issued in error. Ed’s note: {These postures have been done for thousands of years and are not his to copyright}
In Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class (First Edition), Choudhury claims he conducted “medical” studies at the Tokyo University Medical School validating the medical benefits of his 26 postures. During one of the lawsuits defendants demanded copies of the “medical” studies and Choudhury claimed he could not find them. In Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class (Second Edition), Choudhury removed all references to “medical” studies.[13]

Competition is necessary in democracy?  Copyright issues? Fraudulent scientific claims?
Highly suspicious!  Yet the teachers continue to expound how his techniques are “scientifically proven” and the class swallows every mouthful. I think after my second class, I suffered heat stroke, and only recovered 6 hours later. Fairly dangerous to drive a car after a class in this condition.
No wonder they ask you to sign a disclaimer that includes the phrase,” that you have in the last 6 months seen a medical practitioner that states that you are safe and fit to do Bikram Yoga and that you are aware …..that there may be….injury, even  paralysis and death (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) I deleted this condition before signing…
It could hav e been so good.....

Something to ponder about in my more relaxing methods of yoga….

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Quick crafts - MIni Notebook Covers

These wonderful ideas come from a talented and inspiring person, which you will find on wordpress at Pillows-a-la-mode,. These crafts that can be quickly achieved, are fun and can be used as activities with older children who are into crafts! Thanks, Pillows-a-la-mode   Here are my first few efforts, but upon obtaining further supplies, will post more photos. Love doing these simple but elegant and very relaxing crafts.   The therapeutic and relaxing nature of craft is something we should ponder about whilst stuck in traffic jams!  :-)

More photos to come....

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Recycling craft project for kids - Used mattress projector to New Dog Mat!

I am in a process of de-cluttering, it is gradual and it is slow, but it is happening!

I have had in the linen cupboard, a used mattress protector, one without elastic bands to hold it on. ( In its former life, it covered a waterbed bladder so the elastic bands were just extraneous). That aside, I wondered what I could do with it. Not really hygienic to donate it to the thrift shop is it? NO good to anyone without elastic bands, which I could re-attach, but is it worth the cost of elastic and the effort? I think not…

Then a brainwave hit me…. The dog would love it. Best check that first....

Dog mat Trials:

Step 1. Cut mattress protector in half lengthways. Fold each half, in half lengthwise again. You should have a piece around 1 metre by 1/2 metre or so, depending on whether you used a Queen or Double protector.
Step 2. Sew all around the permeter using zig zag or straight stitch. It is quite thick so you may need to use a different foot on your machine. Contrasting thread colour looks nice.
Cut mattress protector

Step 3 Test that dog will accept new mat ….call the dog and say “mat”

Step4.  Trial successful! Mat has been claimed and dog in situ.

Now it is time to enhance the bed with a few simple designs or if you are feeling particularly energetic, ( which I wasn’t today) a new cover made of fleece or used old flannelette sheet, or cotton towelling fabric. At least something that will be durable and withstand the washing machine claws!

Naive decoration of Dog Mat

Step 1. Remove dog from mat.
Step 2. Select a half drop or crazy random design and decorate to your heart’s content using fabric marker (permanent) In other words, give the markers to the kids and let their imagination take over.

You can even decorate the reverse side if you wish. Now you have a quick Sunday project, kept the kids and the dogs happy…. enjoy.

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Sunday, July 8, 2012



Imagine a bitterly cold Swedish winter, on the bleak treeless coastal island, in an old manor house built from the wood of a wrecked ship in which scores of sailors drowned, where one's only neighbours are 2 lighthouses, one of which no longer works and is haunted. Is there any better location for a thriller/murder mystery?

The novel is set on the very real Swedish island of Oland, in mythical locations. This is the world that Joakim Westin has recently moved to, with his family of wife and two small children. The grand plans to renovate and rejuvunate the manor house is destroyed when shortly after their move, one of the family drowns not far from the house.

Joakim struggles to come to terms with the death, while others on the island become immersed in a struggle of their own. One is a young female police officer finding her feet in a new beat, and another is a young man involved in petty crimes, who becomes haunted by his the results of his misdemeanors. As Christmas approaches, a sageful relative of the police officer tells of an old Swedish folk tale where the dead come back to visit the living on the darkest night of the year. What does this mean for Joakim, and his family, isolated in the manor house during one of the worst blizzard's of the decade?

Atmosphere by the bucketload, is what you get from Theorin's spine- tingling novel. Whilst it remains a murder mystery, those who like supernatural touches or ghostly happenings would get their kicks from the story. Theorin weaves a mystery into believable occurences, yet manages to get the reader to sympathise with the bereaved man and hungry for the next chapter.

 Theorin also gets into the head of the protaganist and takes the reader on a psychological journey of grief. Themes of retribution/karma also simmer under the surface when it becomes clear what happened to Ethel.

Despite a head splitting migraine, I was determined to finish the book, such was the effect this story had on me. Be warned....

The good: Dark windswept landscape experty described. You are there... in the blinding snow with the characters.
The bad:   Would a father leave his children alone?
The ugly:  Depiction of alcoholic art tarts.......
Rating out of 10: 9

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

I Am Eleven Documentary -

I Am Eleven Documentary -
A interesting look at the world through the eyes of eleven year olds... A perspective uncluttered, in the main by politics, or at least political correctness, hidden agendas and jealousies.
Touches on culture, and environmental factors influencing the children's lives. This is the world that we have made for them, and what they will inherit from us. A window into a world where one is neither a child, nor a teenager, in which these people briefly linger... absolutely fascinating.

Can't wait to see it...

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