A Functional approach to yoga requires you to target your effort on opening out the entire body to the framework of the postures, using a more functional dynamic use of breath giving you the capacity to tap into your inner functional strength.
This is the polar opposite to the standard approach of trying to stretch your body into a yoga posture while trying to maintain a pre-defined set of parameters, which only truly benefits one body type.
The nature of a Functional Approach allows all body types to discover it’s own unique dynamic expression of the postures, without any negative compressive forces.
A Functional Approach quickly and radically improves joint and spine health, developing a strong agile pain-free body, putting a stop to the typical range of yoga-related injuries which plagues all styles of yoga.
Another, intrinsic benefit of a Functional Approach is how everyone discovers a meditative state, reducing stress while developing a laser-sharp focused and aware mind.
No matter the style of yoga, everyone should adopt a more Functional Approach. When applied to the Classic Hot 26&2 yoga series you utterly transform the practice to a more dynamic expressive rewarding process.
Your class remains the same except now you have a more effective inner dialogue.
The Sohot Method enhances the power of the classic 26 & 2 Bikram Hot Yoga sequence, by utilising a Functional Approach.
Your Hot yoga class remains the same except now you have a more intelligent approach with a different headspace, focus and goals.
Due to the nature of the game, it outstrips the standard approach to Hot Yoga in three primary areas.
Firstly, it develops functional strength, which the standard approach fails to do.
Secondly, a Functional Approach restores joint and spine health. No more impingement or negative compressive forces.
Thirdly, it rehabilitates the body's entire fascia system, greatly improving proprioception, agility and posture.
If your yoga practice is giving you joint and lower back pain, or neck and shoulder tension, then you need to change your game. You need to practice smarter.
The Sohot Method is the application of modern-day science in sports performance and longevity. Physically its harder, mentally it's a walk in the park.
Whether you practice at home, the studio or both, the Sohot Method of Bikram Yoga will rapidly improve your physical and mental performance, particularly if you are injured or lacking Flexibility.
Senior Bikram Yoga teachers, Bill and Elaine Thwaites are the founders of the most successful group of hot yoga studios, or as one newspaper put it “London’s celebrity hot spots”. They are authors of an upcoming book “Perfect Freedom: How to Reach a New High in Mental and Physical Health” and which details the science behind why they changed the way they practice and teach Bikram yoga, known as the Sohot Method.
Starting out all they wanted was to get their mobility back. They had no intention of reshaping London’s yoga scene, raising the bar with their highly successful group of Bikram Yoga studios employing over 50 yoga teachers, teaching yoga to a whopping 80,000 students.
Then, having forged their way into the eye of the storm, personally teaching the likes of Lady Gaga, Benedict Cumberbatch and Olivia Williams, they found themselves standing back questioning why do so many yoga teachers, of all the various styles of physical yoga, end up with major joint and back problems in later life.
Waking up to this reality was a hard pill to swallow, forcing them to lift the veil over the yoga world. This was one of those almighty life-changing moments that forced them to step back and rethink.
Turning to the rapid scientific advancements in the field longevity and sports recovery, they were able to clearly see the problems with the standard approach to yoga and why so many teachers and students often end up with joint and back pain.
With the knowledge gained, they went on to develop the Sohot Method of Hatha yoga, a more dynamic Functional Approach that quickly restores musculoskeletal damage, eliminating Joint / Back Pain and muscle tension.
Applying this approach to the classic 26 & 2 Bikram yoga postures is breathtakingly powerful.
The construct of all the various styles of physical yoga is that you are to position / stretch your body into a yoga posture to the best of your ability. In Yin, you are to do this extremely slowly and in Ashtanga this is done more energetically, synchronising breath with the movement.
The Sohot Method is a polar opposite mindset, in that you are not to get into the postures. Instead, you are to open out the body to the framework of the postures. This requires completely different muscle engagement. The way you engage your body is entirely different. It's a totally different mind-body conversation.
The Sohot Method requires far more functional use of strength, developing the stabilisation muscles needed for everyday life, which we tend to lose as we age.
For experienced yoga students and teachers to utilise this technique, they have to go back to the start and let go of the mindset they created as a beginner. Naturally flexible students discover they can no longer hide behind their flexibility, this is purely about strength.
The book brings into focus how & why “hands-on-corrections” and the phrase “it’s all in the journey” simply masks bad teaching. What makes Bill and Elaine’s approach to yoga particularly outstanding is their understanding of the steps required to get the body & mind to master any activity in a rapidly short time, Whether that’s learning to play golf, the guitar, dancing or yoga. They have proved how, in just 4-weeks, someone with chronic mobility issues can achieve astounding improvements to their flexibility and strength, along with a shockingly enhanced awareness of mind.
The vast majority of people who come to yoga are just looking to break the cycle of pain and suffering that comes with musculoskeletal damage and to get their mobility back. As Bill & Elaine point out, the biggest sign they were heading in the right direction was just how many students commented how quickly they were able to heal their injuries, joint and back pain. This was when their class sizes really started to increase, with Bill's Sunday morning classes regularly selling out.