Last night was the first time I have been to Bikram since last weekend - on account of getting sick earlier in the week. I was a little trepidatious because I hadn't been in almost a week, but I figured it was going to be Jim teaching so it wouldn't be so bad.
Usually I go to the Friday 6 pm yoga because that is the class that Paul teaches. Paul is a really good teacher - but he is also really hard. He holds the poses longer than Jim and he is just hard-core. So hard-core that he is gone to compete in the championships this weekend. Paul is great at explaining the postures and answering questions - so I almost always ask him all of my "fine-tuning" questions.
Jim is an old man and one of Bikram's senior teachers. He is an ex-army Ranger so he plays up the gruff, tough guy act; BUT he is actually an extremely gentle teacher. He is very hands on. He will come over and physically move you into the correct position if you are doing it wrong. He also knows how to modify any posture to any level. In short he is a phenomenal teacher. And I feel so fortunate to practice under him so often. (After going to so many classes with Jim, William now ignores her teachers in Minneapolis, because she "knows" the point of postures.)
So my current mix of 3 Jim classes and 1 Paul class each week has been really good. Now however, with Paul at the competition and on vaca after that for a few weeks, there is a new lady teacher at my Friday night class. She was tough. She held all of the postures longer - with very little space between the postures and sets, our class was still 105 minutes rather than 90. She gave some good tips on postures that often get over looked - like the sit-up. She also corrected me on my back bend at the beginning - she said I was doing very well, but need to put the weight into my heels. (I still can not quite wrap my head around the idea of bending backwards as far as you can *and* simultaneously leaning backwards onto your heals - I think I might ask Jim to spot me on that this evening.)
I was pleasantly surprised that after nearly a week off, my body was able to go deeper into almost every posture - which felt fantastic. But, holding each posture longer... I am so sore today.