30 November 2012

The Sumits Experiment -- Part 1

As I wrote last time, I am spending this vacation by getting back into a hot room. I purchased a two week introductory package at Sumits Hot Yoga . Developed by Sumit Banerjee , this practice combines some Bikram poses with Ashtanga or Vinyasa flow. One of the guys I practiced with in my first class called it "Bikram on steroids".  I don't know about that, but I do know that I am enjoying the challenge of the practice.

I'm still trying to wrap my brain around all the "flow" parts of the class. I can tell you that in the class you will do Sun Salutations, Upward and Downward Dogs (a lot of those), planks, tabletops, side planks, just about every version of Warrior Pose (even more of those), Triangle (simplified), lunges, crunches, sit-ups, one inversion (which I am too weak to do yet) and maybe ten discernible Bikram poses -- but some of those have modifications (Triangle is slightly easier.)

The biggest difference is that it seems you are moving almost the entire 75-80 minutes. There is a "party time" early on, a 60 second Savasana at maybe 35 minutes, and a full two minute Savasana at perhaps 50 minutes, plus the final Savasana. You are moving almost all the time. In that respect, it is more challenging than a Bikram class where there are definite starts and stops. I am fighting to keep up but getting better with each class. Another big difference is that music is played during the flow segments, and it's not just instrumental. So far, I have heard John Lennon, Tears for Fears, Tom Petty, Run D.M.C., even Cameo (this morning). At first it bothered me because it distracted me and prevented me from hearing some of the instruction, but with each class it moves more into the background. Our instructor this morning told me that sooner or later, as I become more familiar, the instructions fade away and you simply move with the music.

Speaking of the instructors (I have only taken class with two of the staff), they are really great. The dialogue is the same each day, and they will assist you with a pose. There is no podium -- the instructor paces the back of the room calling out instructions and making sure everyone is practicing safely. I have yet to encounter a "drill instructor" type -- they continually tell us to have fun with the practice, to enjoy the challenge, and are always quick to answer questions. The studio is immaculate, and the heating system is state of the art. I don't know the exact temperature of the room -- I would guess it's 95 to 100 degrees -- but it is enough to where everyone is drenched by the end.

Since starting on Monday, I have improved each day in one area or another. I can keep up better with the flows, and I have been surprised by how well I can still do some of the Bikram poses -- especially Standing Bow, Cobra, and Floor Bow. Even my Camel is respectable. It is now Friday afternoon, and I have completed five classes. I feel MUCH better than I did on Monday. I am sore, and in this morning's class I did get a visit from the "yoga truck" but it still wasn't too bad. I will be back tomorrow and Sunday before heading back to work. Then, attending class will be more difficult.

Signing off for now. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask and I will try to get you an answer ASAP. All in all, it has been a really fun week!

I hope you can get into a hot room soon!!



  1. Oh yay! So good to read that you have enjoyed your yogacation! You said the dialog is the each class. So that means each class you do the same postures in the same sequence?

    The class sounds pretty cool. I like the music selection too. I would be tempted to try a class, but I cannot put any pressure on my wrists due to injuries. Part of the reason I do Bikram specifically actually -- no down dogs, planks, etc.

    1. Yes. Same warmup, same postures, same flows. Just like Bikram, the sequence never changes. If you can ever get your wrists stronger, I think you would love the class. Thanks for reading!!