'Avoid touch, just tap if needed'

STAY CLEAR: At BYCH Hot Yoga, teachers refrain from touching students. Ms Diane Lee demonstrating how she corrects a student's pose. - TNP PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Bikram yoga is a style of yoga that Bikram Choudhury developed in the 1970s.

It involves a series of 26 postures, developed from the traditional hatha yoga techniques.

What makes it so hot?

The 40 deg C room that it is usually practised in.

Along with the heat, Bikram yoga is run with a dialogue that instructors have to recite verbatim. The dialogue is akin to instructions that guide the students into each position.


On top of ensuring the teachers are qualified to teach the poses properly, the director of BYCH Hot Yoga, Ms Diane Lee, also expects her teachers to know the dialogue.

She says: "If you don't understand the foundation of yoga, you are going to cause a lot of injuries."

She has 11 or 12 part-time and full-time teachers.

On the certification of her teachers, she says: "I don't want to sign that paper until I am sure they can teach."

She finds the discipline and focus a vital and much-appreciated aspect of Bikram yoga for her.

Her rules:

  • Avoid physical touch to correct students
  • If needed, tap, not tug

She has seen yoga instructors direct students into positions more forcefully, which is not a practice she agrees with.

"Our teachers are not super flexible either, so they understand how hard it is to get that flexibility.

"Sometimes we will tap the shoulders. Other styles of yoga may have physical touch involved, moving parts of their bodies here and there," she says.

"You have to be careful. In our studio, it is easier because we have mostly female instructors."