Bikram Yoga, Question for Judy



I've read your posts that you're finding Bikram yoga helpful. I did Bikram yoga from 1994 to 2001, then switched to Iyengar. I'm a yoga teacher, specializing in restoratives and have found the restorative forms to be very helpful. I haven't been doing nearly the amount of active yoga as I used to because I know that some poses can be detrimental. I wanted to ask you, do you wear a pessary when you do the Bikram series? Do you do the whole series? Each pose repeated twice? Do you ever find that any of the poses make the celes feel worse? What degree are your celes?

Thank you,



No pessary; I'm claustrophobic with anything that touches me, so I just couldn't. I'm hyperactive, and ... put it together.

I do the whole Bikram series repeated twice if I practice in the morning which I do on weekends. Otherwise with a ten hour day behind me, I do the twice series but sometimes skip tree, which I find hard on the bladder and camel which I also find hard. I do most of locust. The room is about 101 degrees.

During menopause, my tendons let go and I have some permanent damage in my legs, so standing head to knee is still tough. Separate leg stretch is the best exercise for the bladder.

What I add to the practice is a long kagel that I also begin before getting into every pose. If I pull up, I can feel the energy and pull to my face. This took some practice. I had to learn to pull those muscles all the way to my nose. This way I can control the descending celes from the beginning while in the pose. It's tough, but the whole pelvic wall has strengthened for me.

The problem I think most people would have is the poses are difficult in the first place, as you know, and most women would push down in order to be able to do them. By conscientiously pulling up instead and engaging the abdominal muscles, it works.

Celes began at 1.5 stage and are now about .5 and getting better all the time. My goal is to "fix em" by Christmas.

I know back bends are not recommended, but if you kagel to your eyebrows first, it works.

When you do yoga, are you very aware of your celes all the time?


Change what you can change; be happy with what you cannot.

Thanks for all the info. I am in the category of people who have done years of yoga while slightly bearing down rather than "pulling up" to compensate for lack of core strength. When I do plank pose (not in the Bikram series) for instance, I have a sense down of "pushing down" through my heels. I've been working very hard to reverse this.

I don't feel the celes while doing yoga, but if I do a lot of lunge poses (warrior) I feel them afterwards.

For me, heat is very therapeutic. So, I'm considering taking on a modified version of the Bikram series. Some of the ways they ask you to do those poses just isn't good for your body, in general. But it sounds like you know what you're doing.

Thanks for the info!


When I started yoga after the menopause, my first time I was as stiff as a newcomer. I tried everything out as if I had never done it before because I was scared I would do more damage. As I began to relax, I began to see what the moves and poses were really asking for. Before menopause, I was bruting my hyperactive personality through the postures like an athlete -ready and willing to achieve. Now, I do every pose for myself, slowly and carefully, and not for the instructor.

I have a great yoga group. These women tell every class: it's your body, so you need to feel comfortable. It should never hurt, just be challenging. They continue to say, all of us need to explore our own body's ability to do each pose. I like that because it allows me a freedom to let my older body work confidently. I may not be able to do what some of the younger women do, but that's OK.

There is an integrity to the class which I really respect, but I wouldn't be there if I didn't do it for myself with my own needs satisfied. That's why I pull up first.

There is actually a word for pulling up and creating core strength. Everyone on earth should have some core strength. It allows us a tremendous freedom of movement and prevents things like prolapse. Core strength comes slowly but it does come, and from what I've read lately, it takes twice as long to lose muscle tone as it takes to gain it. That's encouraging.

When you do Warrior pose, try lessening the leg stretch and before you tilt into triangle, pull up then and hold it. Reach up with your ceiling hand while you pull your whole body up.

I work with children and we do yoga at school to increase core strength. It's hilarious!

Change what you can change; be happy with what you cannot.

I love everything you describe below. The idea of doing the yoga with integrity, for yourself, not for the teacher, and most of all, starting with pulling up.

I have been doing yoga for YEARS and have ironically never developed core strength. I have hypermobile joints (loose ligaments) and very good balance, but very little strength. This is a bad combination if you're not working with a good instructor. They'll see all this as an ability to do the poses "perfectly" but a good instructor will see right through it. I had a class with Rodney Yee once, and he told me that my flexibility was going to work against me if I didn't develop more core strenght. So, I tried and tried, and then got pregnant.

I did prenatal yoga and told my teacher that I felt I was "bearing down" in plank pose. As my pregnancy progressed, I didn't use a chair in class, even though I felt a heaviness in my pelvis in warrior poses. I often wonder if this as well as my loose ligaments and hyper-mobile joints contributed to my prolapse. The big baby and vacuum extraction may have been the final straws.

Anyway, what you describe sounds like a very enlightened yoga community. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


I thought about you this morning when I was practicing yoga. I made sure I got into each position slowly and pulled up as a first, first. I practiced the slow energy breathing and was able to bend better. I too am a Gumby. I can stand with straight legs and nearly reach the floor with my elbows. I think the flexibility encourages prolapse.

When we got to Standing Separate Leg Stretch Head to Knee, I found myself squeezing my buttocks while I pulled up and held. I felt the pull into my eyebrows which were near my knee. It was easier to do this morning...I suppose I was rested. I think this pose is very useful for strengthening the rectocele.

I spent the day driving out to the country and antiquing in old barns, and then touring an old town. While I was driving, I did the same buttocks tightening and pulling up several times, but remembered not to tire out the muscles. I noticed I had a lot more stamina today. I noticed that I felt only a slight bulge while I was walking around.

Tonight I found everything back in place and I felt normal for the first time since April. I didn't have that thick feeling while I was sitting in my new Kentucky Primitive rocking chair. I know it probably won't last, but it is a start, and I'm cheered to think I've made a certain progress. I know that the more hours I feel normal and without the celes, the closer I am to my goal.

Enlighten me if I'm wrong, but the failure of my body has been a failure of the muscles that hold up the bladder and hold in the bowel. By strengthening these muscles, the repair can be accomplished eventually.

Wishing you the same success,


Change what you can change; be happy with what you cannot.