Let's cut to the chase: Bikram wins! By a landslide. Unanimous verdict. Not even close. No contest.
You see, my home Bikram studio was having some management issues at the time. I didn't renew my membership and joined a brand new Moksha studio. Loved the Moksha studio (oh those pretty new sinks, the cubbies for shoes, the showers!). Hated my Moksha practice.
- The intense, toaster-oven heat and humidity. Entering the Bikram hot room is like landing on a different planet--my home planet. Here, we're all barefoot and barely dressed, and our language is broken English.
- The mirror. My reflection under fluorescent lights. Most days I roll out of bed, go to the studio without an ounce of makeup on, and grey ponytailed hair barely brushed. I'm a scary sight. But somehow, after sweating profusely for 90 minutes, I think I'm beautiful. Goddamn miracle.
- The sameness. No matter who teaches, the 26 poses and dialogue are exactly the same. It's comforting.
- The repetition. If I didn't get it 'right' the first time, I get a do-over. And I can come back and try again.
- The regular students. I'm not an outgoing or friendly person, but I feel a certain camaraderie with my fellow diehard Bikram yogis. We're kindred spirits--addicted, type A, perfectionists in the guise of hippie health freaks.