What’s with the Bikram-Ashtanga battle lines?

Back in August, we posted a piece titled: “Ashtanga vs. Bikram: There’s no contest, Ashtanga wins.”

You can check it out here if you missed it. To date, it is still one of the most viewed of our posts.

David Swenson, from his webpage

My question is: Why? Why is it that Bikram and Ashtanga seem always to be set at odds with each other? (The earlier piece here was prompted by an elephant journal post that, true to about 62% of items at ej, was intended to rile readers up as much as possible.)

I ask, because a little blurb popped up online with much the same dichotomy: “Yoga Help — Ashtanga or Bikram?” The person asks, as you can surmise, which to try.

In my mind, this is a strange duality because, other than maybe both making you sweat, there doesn’t seem to be that much in common. (Yes, I guess there is the set sequence; but both are so different.) If someone wanted to know whether to try Ashtanga or a flow or power class, I’d get it. All have vinyasa. But there’s none of that in Bikram. Honestly, I think Bikram has much more in common with Iyengar than with Ashtanga.

So, is it just the sweat factor? And has it gotten to the point where it’s rooted in people’s minds so they think of it almost naturally?

Posted by Steve