DAY 65: Bikram's Advanced Series.

Author: Heather Molina /

...Or How To Scare People Away
When Trying To Motivate Them

By Johan (while in Barcelona, Spain)

So you want to know about Bikram's advanced series?

Right let's get down to business... Learn the beginners' series. Really it's that simple. Once you are comfortable with the beginners series you can start looking into advanced.

However there are a few caveats:
  1. First of all, you'll need to be able to do back to back doubles. You'll need to warm up by doing a beginners class before each advanced class.
  2. Secondly, you'll want to be able to do a beginners class with minimum fidgeting. You will not have the time move things around in the second you've got between triangle and standing separate head to knee. As an example half-moon posture... Same as in beginners series, but here the entire sequence is 20 seconds, not 4 minutes (arms over your head, stretch to the right, come up, stretch to the left, come up, head back, arms back immediately, fall back, come back up, lean forward, lock the knee, come back up, relax).
  3. Thirdly, learn to balance. You will need those balancing skills, both for when the speed picks up and for all the newly added balancing postures.
  4. Fourth, but not least, learn to listen to your body and react accordingly.
Other than that it's all easy peasy. As Bikram says there is nothing "advanced" about the postures in the advanced series, they are easy. Anyone can do it.

Okay. I'm clearly glossing things over there. The advanced series will make you feel like a complete beginner again. It will knock you over sideways and kick you in the stomach and all other kinds of things. But as Bikram is fond of saying (and Emmy will just roll her eyes at): "The advanced postures are easy, once you know how to do them."

Well thanks Boss! However, back in reality, it'll be just like in the beginners class, there will be postures you can do more or less of. But there will be something you can try in almost every posture (if you know your beginners series).

Just remember it's a lot easier to injure yourself in advanced, so take it easy.

Finally, don't think doing advanced will help your beginners series. It's a one way street the other way; beginners helps advanced. All the magic is there in the beginners series, there is no added healing benefit in the advanced series. So unless your goal in life is to put your leg behind your neck you will not need it. But if all you want is some variation to your daily practice, advanced every now and again can be a great compliment.

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Johan lives in London, UK and has been practicing Bikram for about a year. He's doing his 101 challenge at Bikram Yoga Fulham. When not in the hot room he can often be found travelling the world. You can follow his challenge at Johan's – Bikram 101.

3 comments:

thedancingj said...

"How to scare people away..." HAHA.

I like your report! And that's very true that some of the postures in the advanced series are actually pretty easy. Names can be misleading!

(I wouldn't say it's COMPLETELY a one way street - regular advanced practice sure does have some HUGE effects on your body - but that's a story for another day. I agree with your principles! I think the biggest way that advanced practice benefits the 26+2 is that it gives you a much deeper UNDERSTANDING of the beginner's series, where it comes from, and why it's put together the way it is. :) )

Johan said...

J, yes the beginners series is like Tai chi. You do everything in slow motion so it's easier to find the problems in your practise. I've got a totally new respect for pranayama breathing for example. Fine tune, perfect. Frequency, precision. :-)

rockanrollr said...

Hi, I just did my first advanced class today- I totally loved up until I was finished and everything started to hurt. he he.
You are completely right about feeling like a beginner again. But that's a good thing in a way, very humbling.
I do have a question though. Is there any good literature out there regarding the advanced postures? I remember when I started doing Bikram I would just go online and find blogs, books videos, etc.. but I can't seem to find so much about advanced.

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