BLOG: Turn Up The Heat With Lahaina’s Bikram Yoga

June 8, 2011, 2:30 PM HST
* Updated June 8, 5:05 PM
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By Laura Greene

Studio owner Jason Tepora. Image by Laura Greene.

I have always loved pushing myself when I work out and when it comes to exercise and sports I am quite a tomboy at heart; soccer, outrigger canoe paddling and running are some of my favorites and if I’m in the gym, I like to push myself by taking a kick-boxing class, lifting weights, or going for a spin session.

My idea of exercise boredom was always yoga, Pilates or anything ‘gentle’ that didn’t involve jumping around like a mad woman until I was sweaty, red in the face and feeling totally exerted. I tried a couple of yoga classes and I always found my mind wandering – more interested in what I was going to do after the class that what was going on inside it. I didn’t get what my yoga-advocating friends loved so much. That is, until I recently tried Bikram Yoga.

The class was recommended to me as a great way to get a cardio workout, to detox and to stretch out the muscles. I have to admit, I was dubious at first but I thought I’d give it a try. So I went to West Maui’s only Bikram studio to see what it was all about.

This particular type of yoga incorporates a series of 26 postures and takes place in a heated room. The heat is only slightly warmer than your body temperature but it feels very hot! Living in Lahaina, the idea of getting any hotter than normal was daunting but the temperature really helps. It enables your muscles and connective tissue to become like elastic – allowing for greater flexibility and it promotes sweating, which flushes your body of toxins.

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About halfway through my first class the heat started to get to me and I wondered why on earth I was doing yoga. In a heated room. On Maui. But, with the support of the teacher, I started to break through that wall. I began to feel like my body could bend in ways that I didn’t think were possible and as my towel and clothes started to get drenched in my own sweat, I felt the ‘buzz’ and enjoyed it more and more.

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By the end of the class I was so red I looked like I had been left out in the sun for days and so sweaty I could have just been soaked with a pail of warm water. As for how I smelt, it’s probably best left unsaid. But more importantly, I felt incredible. I was hooked and I wanted to know more.

Bikram Yoga Lahaina owner/director Jason Tepora. Image by Laura Greene.

Bikram Yoga Lahaina is owned by native New Yorker Jason Tepora and he runs the studio with his sister Jess, both of whom are certified teachers. After the recession prompted a change of direction from working in the NYC music industry, Jason fell in love with Bikram after his first class, recommended to him by his sister.

When I first tried yoga I actually fell asleep in the class. I found it boring. Bikram made me feel the exact opposite – I was engaged, encouraged, rejuvenated and I loved the hard work and sweat. I knew I’d found my calling.” he said.

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The siblings soon became certified as teachers and in May 2010, they came to Maui. “We wanted to come here together,” Tepora added.

“We knew we could teach Bikram the right way and everyone feels the love we have for yoga, for family and for the community. Maui felt like the perfect place to do this.”

And it’s the Teporas’ personal touch that makes their studio so welcoming. On my first visit there I felt part of the family – completely at ease, not inhibited or at all embarrassed.

“People can be fearful of the unknown.” He told me. “We want them to come here with no preconceptions. Let all your other yoga experiences go and try out Bikram in a safe and supportive environment with us – no matter what shape or size you are. Even if you’ve got a broken leg in a cast or a limited range of motion for any reason, your goals can still be attained here.

“We have no gimmicks, no props, no excuses. We’re here to work on the power of the mind, the body and its will. You might be nervous about the heat, I was! But you’ll soon embrace it, you will overcome the feelings of ‘fight or flight’, learn to get past the heat and  experience your body and who you are. That’s a powerful thing.”

For class times, prices and more information, visit: http://www.bikramyogalahaina.com/index.html

Bikram Yoga Lahaina
900 Front St, Suite F17
Lahaina, HI 96761
(808) 661 – 6828

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