Posted by: kerryalina | 4 October 2012


Did you miss me?  Who am I kidding; of COURSE you missed me.  I missed you all like crazy too.  But it’s been really tough writing about the joys of Bikram lately because, well, there just hasn’t been much joy during Bikram.  And now there’s not much Bikram.

I’ve written before about my issues with tachycardia in class.  Eventually I reached the point where it was happening more often than not. I begrudgingly accepted that it probably wasn’t normal to have my heart jump from 60 to 200bpm during the very first posture, so off I toddled to the doctor… who promptly advised me to quit Bikram.  Which…  yeah.  Like that was going to happen.  Second opinion, here I come!

Second opinion was the same.

Third opinion; third time lucky… kind of.  This doctor just banned me from Bikram until I could get my heart checked out.  Which has been difficult for a number of reasons; not least of which is the fact that I started a new job fairly recently (and promptly flew off to America for a four week holiday).  Unfortunately, this means my ability to take a couple of half-days off work to visit a cardiologist is fairly limited right now.  There’s also the fun fact that the portable monitor they’d use to track my heart for 24 hours?  You can’t get it wet.  And the only place my heartrate reliably goes nuts is at Bikram.  Let’s think about the logistics of that for a moment.

So I begged and I pleaded and I gazed upon the doctor with puppy dog eyes, until he sighed and said that if I wanted to take risks with my heart there was nothing he could do to stop me, but PLEASE, for the love of god, take it easy in class and call an ambulance the second it happens again.

If there are two thoughts you don’t want to have going into Bikram, they’re “take it easy” and “call an ambulance if your heartrate rises.”  Way to harsh my buzz, dude.

So with this enthusiastic consent from my doctor, I struggled through a handful of unsatisfying classes; flopping to my mat gracelessly and making frustrated faces at the mirror every time my pulse started to rise.  And with all that extra time to think, I started focussing on how much more my hips have been hurting over the past few months.  They’ve always been dodgy – pretty much any movement will make them click and clunk in their joints – but lately it’s gone from “huh, that’s a funny noise” to “owowowowowow.”  I decided that since I had all this free time due to the severe lack of Bikram in my life, I might as well get it checked out.  And off I toddled to the physio.

Who promptly advised me to quit Bikram.

Not just Bikram, in fact, but yoga in general.  Apparently I have fairly severe hip dysplasia, and apparently yoga is the WORST THING EVER for hip dysplasia.  So, you know, it appears I have a talent for falling in love with life-changing activities that will completely ruin my body.  That’s something, right?


So I came home from the physio and cried into a plate of cupcakes.  Then I started working on my page full of exercises to try and get the right muscles working.  My physio is dangling in front of me the vague promise that maybe, one day, if I work really really hard, I might be able to go back to class.  As long as I don’t go too often.  And balance it out with pilates or something.  And (once again) if I take it easy.

I give it a fortnight before I decide that Bikram is more important than hips.



  1. Omygoodness! Be really careful if you do go back.

  2. I sounds like this may be an opportunity to find a new activity that you truly love. If Bikram is the only place that your heart goes crazy, it seems to me that you should take a break from it. Maybe you are getting depleted from so much intense exercise. Probably not what you want to hear. Take a step back and find the joy in life. Just my 2 cents.

    • Also, why would Bikram be more important than your hips? Aren’t you doing it for your health? What are you getting out of it that you need it that much? I understand that you love it and it is part of your identity, but it’s not worth destroying your body.

      • Bikram may well be more important than my hips, because there is much more to my body than just my hips. I have eleventy million other joints/muscles/ligaments, as well as my mental health, immune system, insomnia and even my digestion… all of which have improved to an unbelieveable extent with Bikram. To let everything else go to hell just for the sake of one particular joint – especially when I can (shudder) “take it easy” in the postures that adversely affect my hips – seems like a really strange idea.

      • Got it. Good luck getting back. Maybe there is some kind of yoga that would help your hips?

  3. *hugs* Oh honey. I have some idea of how you feel (having had to take time off from running due to injury). But first and foremost, you have to take care of yourself. You only get one heart, one body. Sometimes honoring it “where it’s at” means giving it a chance to rest and heal.

    • I am all for resting and healing! But what’s doing my head in right now is that it’s not a case of “stay away until your body gets better,” it’s a case of “you will NEVER have the right body type to do this.” I could handle it a lot better if there was a light at the end of the tunnel :(

      • Sorry, I didn’t mean to be dismissive of your feelings. I hope you feel better soon!

      • You weren’t dismissive at all! I’m just super sooky right now :)

      • I’m sorry you’re going through this. They’re saying “you will NEVER have the right body type to do this”… I wouldn’t take that too seriously. I think many people are very unfamiliar with Bikram yoga and make false assumptions as to what it is and how rough it is on the body. I agree that some time off is probably the best idea right now, but don’t let anybody tell you NEVER (or at least don’t believe them).
        Can you go into more detail as to what is wrong with your hips and why Bikram would make it worse?


      • Hi Simmm! I didn’t even get the chance to say “Bikram”… as soon as I mentioned yoga, she started shaking her head. It’s not about how rough it is on the body; it’s the fact that yoga is designed to stretch the muscles and connective tissues – which is the exact opposite of what’s needed for hip dysplasia.

        My hip sockets are inordinately shallow and I’m naturally hyper-mobile, so my joints move around a LOT. My hips are starting to get to the point where they’re rubbing against cartilage, which is why the pain has increased so dramatically lately. Right now I’m working with my physio to tighten the muscles in that area to help hold everything in place, but as you can imagine, stretching the joints out in Bikram is going to undo a lot of that hard work! I could theoretically go to class and skip anything that’s going to stretch out my hips, but that means I’ll be sitting out Standing Head to Knee, Standing Bow, Balancing Stick, Standing Separate Leg Stretching, Triangle, Tree, Toe Stand… you get the idea.

        Thank you for hugs!! Hugs are ALWAYS appreciated :)

  4. I see what you mean. It reminds me of what some teachers say in class sometimes: The naturally flexible work on strengthening, the naturally inflexible work with their strength on their flexibility. So both body types have work to do to balance out their natural tendencies. But I know you’re saying that your hypermobility is preventing even careful yoga right now.

    If I were you, I’d concentrate on other things that can help your well-being, physio as you’re already doing, eating habits, meditation. Have you looked into raw foods? I think you’ve mentioned a fructose intolerance or something in the past, so it might be harder to find raw food that work for you. I just know that increasing my raw food intake drastically has helped my mood and physical health SO MUCH! It’s crazy and my colleagues even noticed that I look so healthy and energetic (and I don’t practice BY nearly as much as I did in the past). They say that for weight loss, the importance is 80% diet and 20% exercise and I am beginning to see the same is true for our health in general.

    You can have as many hugs as you need! Hope you have a good weekend!

  5. Wow. I totally get it. I’ve been doing Bikram for 12 months. It has healed me in so many ways physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I have a knee that gives me issues do I have to go easy when trying toe stand and a few other postures. Could your anxiety about Bikram and your hips be causing the heart issues? Have you considered purchasing the Bikram CDs and trying it in your home without the intense heat? Maybe create your own series that works for you, incorporating Pilates like you mentioned. If I come upon anyone or any resources that could help you, I will pass them along. :)

    • I wasn’t really anxious about the hips, per se – I just thought I should get them checked out as they were getting painful. I never doubted it would be easy to fix (more fool me)! But I very much doubt they were causing the heart issues. The tacchycardia seems to be triggered mainly by backbends – even in workshops without heat, the backbend in half moon can bring it on. It’s definitely not anxiety based – my breathing is fine and my brain is always halfway between confused and frustrated, but never panicked!

  6. It is just the most frustrating thing when your health stops you from doing something so important to you. I totally get it. If I’ve learned one thing from Bikram, though, it’s that sometimes knowing when not to practice is part of the practice.

    Hang in there!

    • Thanks C :) I’m a big believer in taking a break when your body needs it… but that’s a fair cry from being told to never go back to class again! Not quite sure how to reconcile myself to that… or even if I should!

  7. Kerry: Sorry to hear of your challenges — not problems, challenges. I believe in you and I believe you can overcome these challenges. Simmm was correct: those who are strong need flexibility, and vice versa. DO take it easy if you can take a class, DO continue to strive for a healthier, happier you! Even though this post was on the sad side, it is great to read you again!! Sending a good thought your way!!

  8. Give me until tomorrow, and I’ll find you a youtube video that’s good for opening up/relieving tension in your hips. It used to be on my weekly rotation, but it’s gone now. It’s not nearly as endorphin-releasing/challenging/sweaty as Bikram, but it may very well get you where you need to be to practice Bikram again. Also, my teacher swears by yin yoga because it opens up the connective tissue. My brain is typically on warp speed and can’t handle the slow pace of a yin yoga class, but taking a more restorative approach might be a good compromise in the meantime.

    I hope everything works out okay for you. I’m glad you’re posting again!

    • Thanks Carrie, but my hip muscles are actually too relaxed! My problem is that apparently the muscles are no longer holding my hips in place in their sockets. Anything that opens up the hips and/or stretches the connective tissue is exactly the opposite of what I need right now ;)

  9. Quite the predicament. Maybe partner yoga would be best then. This way, you’d have someone to always “spot” you, and on certain poses, you’d have a guaranteed assist to keep your hips square and in proper placement. Are private lessons way expensive there? (They are here.) I would say that with that issue you don’t want to be in a regular “class” because the teacher has to be focused on everyone, and I think you need more direct attention. Some teachers do a work exchange or practice karma yoga. I’d check those options out. I am a firm believer that yoga is for every body, regardless of your issues. You may not be doing Bikram right now, but that doesn’t mean that with the necessary conditioning, you can’t get back into it. Lots of luck!

  10. Dude! Every time I read your blog, you’ve found out something disastrous! First the diet, then the heart, now the hips… You’re falling apart! Maybe I should stop reading your blog.. that’ll keep you together! ;)

    In all seriousness though, I started writing a response and realised it’s as long as a blog, so I’ve posted my response as a blog and I will link you to it.

    In the meantime, sending love and positive energy for your health and well-being xox

  11. […] may want to read Kerryalina’s post which I’m responding to first so you know what this comment relates to.  I posted the […]

  12. I’ve always had clicky hips and recently diagnosed by my physio as having hip dysplaysia. I’ve been doing Bikram yoga for about 5 months and my left hip has starting hurting when running 4km or more which has never been the case before. Hmmmm, I wonder of Bikram us the cause. I love it and don’t want it to be but reading this and doubts in my head make me wonder. Thanks for the great blog

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