A story: A student woke up one morning at the age of 25 and was completely blind! The doctors had no idea why. Tests, drugs, etc. for over a year and no change. They told her not to do the yoga because the heat could exacerbate the problem.

Too much pressure, swelling, etc. But after a year of doing nothing she was dying to come back.

?So she met with Bikram and asked what he thought. He told her to do the yoga. Why not? She’s already blind. What could happen? So she came back. After 2 months, she started to get her vision back. An MRI showed that the lesions that caused the blindness were shrinking. She continues to get more vision every day, and continues to come to class. Her doctor thinks it must be the yoga, since nothing else in her life has changed.

Circulation perhaps?

I cannot tell you how grateful she is for the yoga, and the amazing healing benefits. People come for lots of different reasons–to lose weight, for a good workout, for peace and quiet–but the one thing that is unavoidable is the healing. Everyone gets it?

Of course, this is not glaucoma, and I cannot speak to that- but the standard medical answer to avoid hot yoga with vision/eye issues turned out to be completely wrong!

Wow, I love this story. Bikram is SO practical – what did she have to lose?

Please use this topic for further discussion about blindness and hot yoga.


Eldridge Vanderlip on November 23, 2013 at 7:14 am.

Any thoughts of how to approach instruction of a blind person new to hot yoga?


Estela on December 5, 2013 at 4:59 pm.

I’ve done this – taught to a blind first-time student – and I know that several others on the board have done it, too.

It was actually REALLY cool and interesting. You just say the dialogue. Think how lucky we are that we don’t teach by demonstrating – it’s perfect for blind people.

When I watched the blind student in his first class, it made me realize how much the other students are able to “cheat” in class. We THINK they are listening to us, but really they are just watching everybody else! Hey… whatever works.

So there were a couple of times when I repeated lines that I wouldn’t usually repeat – stuff like “arms up!” and “arms down!” – because he’d missed them the first time. One time he got himself turned in the wrong direction, and I just hopped off the podium, stood next to his mat, and told him, “Turn and face where I’m standing,” because he could tell that direction by the sound of my voice.

But really, just dialogue, and don’t expect it to be pretty or perfect. None of our new students get everything right in one class! Just tell them that we say the same stuff in every class, so they can keep coming back and they will pick it up better every time.

What else, guys?


Kimiko on December 8, 2013 at 6:41 am.

Put them near the ballet barre so they can use it for balance if they need it.

Be patient.

They are excellent listeners.

No different advice – try the right way!


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