1. The Devotees
Mantra: I bend, therefore I am
Definition: Bikram yoga is a way of life for the Devotees and they take it seriously. Very seriously. Their bodies may be supple but their commitment is unyielding. They practice yoga almost every day and have the strength and flexibility to do most, if not all, of the postures correctly. Just as you shouldn't get between a hippo and it's calf, it's best to avoid coming between a Devotee and the mirror, lest you find yourself on the wrong end of a Devotee's Standing Bow Pose.
Key Characteristics: Sporting coordinated yoga gear and a smug attitude, these bendy folks sometimes exhibit substantial tattoos across the torso, possibly to direct attention towards their rock hard (and enviable) bodies.
Noted behaviour: The Devotees are prone to arriving early to save a prime piece of real estate in the front row. They also enjoy staying back in the room after class to do some additional advanced stretching as a cool down while everyone else remains panting and fatigued in Shavasana (the aptly named 'Dead Body' pose).
What they are thinking (actually, no; what they are saying): 'SSSHHHHHH!' [in relation to people gently rolling up their mat at the end of class], 'Leave the door open, it reeks in here!' [while glaring at a nearby Muscle - see #4]
2. The Famished
Mantra: I'm skinnier with every breath I take
Definition: It has been reported that one Bikram Yoga session can burn up to 1000 calories, and The Famished are doing their darndest to achieve this. Word on the street is Bikram has a dedicated following among weight watchers, on account of it being a low impact, high fat burning form of physical activity. Although it looks like their limbs could snap at the slightest application of pressure, The Famished are semi-regular practitioners of Bikram Yoga. They are a stand out during the warm up breathing exercises, which nicely showcase their hollowed out abdomens.
Key Characteristics: Possessing a skinny frame with a clearly defined ribcage, the Famished often wear a look of steely determination. Girlfriend's got grit.
Noted Behaviour: These pint-sized pixies tend to rest a lot, their bodies potentially lacking the necessary fuel to successfully keep them upright during the standing postures.
What they are thinking: 'I wonder how many calories I burned?' and 'Man, I could so go a pie right now'
3. The Golden Oldies
Mantra: I'm going to live forever
Definition: Bikram Yoga is very advantageous for those who have back pain, injuries or sore muscles, so it does attract its fair share of adventurous senior citizens. Satisfied in the knowledge that they are dramatically improving their overall health, they also no doubt take comfort in the fact that they are probably increasing their life expectancy exponentially.
Key Characteristics: These grey-haired go-getters quietly go through the motions without ado.
Noted Behaviour: Sometimes they bring along their partner to do a session together which is super cute.
What they are thinking: 'I'm too old for this sh*t' and 'I'm over twice your age but I can touch my toes and you can't, suckerrrrr!'
4. The Muscles
Mantra: Muscles are Might
Definition: The Muscles come along to Bikram Yoga sporadically, possibly to tick off one of their cross-training requirements for the week. The self-appointed peacocks of the Bikram studio, the Muscles rarely take their eyes off the enigmatic reflection of their glistening ripped chests.
Key Characteristics: These massive units like to show off the rig and are easily spotted on account of them wearing nothing but shorts. Short shorts.
Noted Behaviour: The Muscles sometimes become agitated in postures where it is necessary to lock the elbows, on account of their guns getting in the way.
What they are thinking: 'My abs look amazing' and 'I wish my gym had this sick floor to ceiling mirror across the entire wall'
5. The Dilettantes
Mantra: Hang in there
Definition: The Dilettantes see the benefits of Bikram and may even be regulars of the studio, but these guys are probably never going to go pro. Rejoicing in small wins such as being able to lock the knees while touching their toes or being able to balance on one leg, the Dilettantes are just happy to get through a session without feeling overcome with dizziness.
Key Characteristics: The Dilettantes have no misconceptions – they are often huddled in the back row out of the line of fire, wearing a mis-matched yoga ensemble and a resigned expression.
Noted behaviour: They can often be observed doing the postures half-assed while the yoga teacher's attention is elsewhere.
What they are thinking: 'I'm back here again… I deserve that ice cream cone when I get home' and 'How does that chick in the front row bend her back like that? And I wonder how much pain she had to endure when she got that tattoo down her side?'
6. The Virgins
Mantra: It's just 90 minutes…
Definition: The Virgins are those who are completely new to Bikram Yoga. For many people, one session is enough to dissuade them from returning. In the evening sessions, there is usually at least one person attending for the first time which suggests many people out there are keen to find out what Bikram entails. At the start of the class, they seem expectant and curious but by the end of it they are wearing quite a different expression. One that suggests that their experience was not what they had in mind, and that they will require 5 litres of water, a bucket of ice and three days of bed rest to feel normal again.
Key Characteristics: The newbies sometimes arrive ill-prepared, lacking towel and or water, both of which are necessary to endure the class. Sometimes they wear 'normal' yoga clothes such as comfortable elastic tracksuit pants, mistakenly thinking that they signed up for a relaxing meditation experience.
Noted Behaviour: The Virgins can frequently be seen staring at the door as if willing it to open to let in some cool air. They can also be seen kneeling/laying down while gasping for fresh air.
What they are thinking: ''Embrace the pain sensation' - the f*ck you say?' and 'I'm going to pass out and throw up simultaneously' and 'I am going to strangle my [insert friend/partner/acquaintance] who recommended this to me' and 'It's hot as hell in here'