Sivananda style: A decade ago I went round the corner to the Sivananda studio. It was winter time. This didn't prevent the yoga teacher from opening the window. First I thought there was bad smell from a yogi or yogini. 10 min later the teacher opened again the window. In winter time it's cold here. The air in the room got rather fresh. Later I learned that fresh and clean air should come in. Brrrhhhhh......I doubt that the air in big cities is really clean, but cold it can be, for sure. The yogis were dressed warmly.
Ashtanga yoga: Sweating is part of Ashtanga yoga. It's wished and even mentioned in the "Yoga Mala" by P. Jois. Sweating helps to detox the body. The shalas are usually warm therefore. When several yoginis and yogis exercise this challenging practice in one room it can happen that the temperature goes up. This is wonderful, as this makes the body flexible. The danger to injure oneself when going to ones limits is reduced when the room is warm and wet!
The wish to open the windows during a Mysore class has nothing to do with the room temperature, not in a cold country like Germany. It's because the mind has difficulties to focus on the practice. Concentration needs energy. I know this too well. I've my own habits to interrupt my flow and focus. At home I check my emails sometimes. It's not really important to do this during a practice. It's lack of focus. Knowing that concentration is what can be learned during the practice helps to get better here. To exercise the mind is as important as to exercise the body. It can be seen if someone is present.
I remember a story from India, Gokulam. I had spent the afternoon with an English lady. The next day I saw her in the shala and I greeted her silently, it was more a gesture, a smile than saying "hello". Afterwards she scolded at me: "Don't greet me next time, this bothers the others." Me: "I won't do that anymore."
Focusing on the breath, using the bandhas and sweating is not a burden, but tools that support the yoga practice.
Having made concentration as a topic improved my practice and my life off the mat. I experience flow also off the mat for the time being. My book is growing. The group helps me a lot to stay committed. I get up in the morning and I feel full of energy that wants to manifest. I want to deliver another chapter to get it reviewed and I deliver it. I forget to eat and to nap. I work concentrated 25 min, and again 25 min. Being focused creates flow and this feels great. Exciting times. Something is moving.
Bikram yoga: The rooms are heated, the temperature is supposed to be 40° Celsius. This is much less than in a sauna, but much more than we have on a hot summer day. It's known that heat makes the body flexible.
At night in bed my bf to me: "It's so hot here."
He stood up an opened the balcony doors and the window. Oh, NO!
PS: The "Yoga mala" is a classic. You can click on the link in the text above to get it (amazon.com). Further links to amazon.de and amazon.co.uk are on the right side of this blog. Thank you for buying via my blog.