Good morning - I've been thinking about exploring Birkram Yoga for some time, and have two sets of questions. The first may seem silly, but here goes: I wear glasses, do not have contacts, and really can't see all that well without my glasses. How do folks who wear glasses participate in Bikram Yoga? How can you see what's going on? Isn't it too hot and steamy to wear your glasses? So that's part one. The next question(s): which is your favorite studio in the Berkeley/Solano/El Cerrito area, and why?
Ready to Schvitz
Hi there, #1 I do Bikram and I wear glasses 24/7. Glasses are not a problem for the first part of the class, the standing series, with the exception of two postures that require that you touch your head to your knee. I just put them on my mat for those. The second part of the class is the floor series. I take my glasses off for that as you have to lie on your ears, first one side then the other and glasses really get in the way. The only other problem with the glasses is that when you first walk in to class on a cold day the glasses really steam up, but I find that more entertaining than problematic. I have been doing Bikram for 4 years now and have my glasses system worked out; it has never felt onerous.
#2 I use the Funky Door studio in dwntwn Berkeley as it is the closest to my house and it offers a lot of classes so I can fit it into my schedule better. It is pretty rigorous and by-the-book and during the school year there are a lot of Cal students so it can get crowded. The only other one I have tried is the one on San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito. It is more laid back than Funky Door and the clientele tends to be more middle aged. Both are good though, I wouldn't hesitate to try either, glasses and all.
4 eyed sweat junkie
Regarding wearing glasses in Bikram classes: they aren't really a problem-they don't steam up etc. My husband has been doing Bikram for years and he wears his glasses for the standing series and takes them off for the floor series. If you're worried about not being able to see without them, go to the front of the studio where you will be close to the mirror. There are lots of great studios in the area, including Funky Door on Shattuck. It's super clean and very large. Don't worry about your glasses.
Re: Yoga Class in El Cerrito
On San Pablo Avenue and Central Avenue, there is a Bikram Yoga studio, adjacent to Suhaila Salimpur's Dance Class studio.
I'd like to second the recommendation for the new Bikram yoga studio on San Pablo in El Cerrito (kitty corner from Burger King). My husband has been taking classes from the owner and teacher, Mary, for a couple years now, first at her former studio in Orinda, and now in the new facility in El Cerrito. She is a fabulous teacher, and he always comes home VERY glad he went to the class--tired and sweaty, but feeling great. Heidi
Hi I take Bikram Yoga classes at Funky Door Yoga on Shattuck Avenue in downtown Berkeley. There's also a Bikram Yoga studio on San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito. There are people of all ages and body shapes in my classes. And yoga requires so much concentration that everyone in the class should be focused on themselves and not on you!
Bikram is a series of the same poses done in a 90 minute period in a very hot room. Don't let this scare you. The heat is great for people who have a hard time stretching. And on your first class, your goal is simply to stay in the room. If you have to take lots of breaks and watch your classmates, the teacher is OK with that.
For your first class, do not eat two hours prior to class. Wear what you would wear to the beach. Swim shorts are fine. At Funky Door, they have a towel and mat available for free at your first class. Or you can also bring your own. They have a special of one month of unlimited yoga for just $29. Be sure to drink plenty of water before you come to class. You can bring a bottle of water for class, you can purchase water and sports drink at the studio.
Good luck in your yoga search. There are so many types of yoga in the Bay Area that I am sure you will find the type that's right for you! Namaste! Bikram Yoga Fan
Re: Acupuncturists for Carpal Tunnel? (July 2003)
You did mention you are interested in ''other alternatives'' to surgery also. Several people I know have found relief for severe carpal tunnel by doing Bikram yoga (''hot'' yoga done in a heated room). Being a very nervous first-time nursing mom, I also had extreme pain in my wrists (but didn't have time to go to the doctor, so I don't know if I had carpal tunnel problems or not) which this yoga helped considerably. There are several positions in particular that are very helpful for wrist and arm problems. The yoga can be quite athletic, although anyone of any age and any ability and flexibility level can benefit (Even my aunt with scleroderma found some relief by going to class in the heated room and moving as much as she could). I have been going to studios in Berkeley, Oakland, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 1998. Try it; it is great for you and addictive (even though the heat is somewhat overwhelming the first time you go). See the following websites for more information:
Orinda/Walnut Creek: http://www.bikrameastbay.com/ Berkeley: http://www.funkydooryoga.com/berkeley.html Oakland: http://www.oaklandyoga.com/ In general: http://www.bikramyoga.com/