Bikram Yoga

Yoga is a wide realm of an ancient practice. The benefits of yoga for health have been established over centuries of practice and even modern science is validating its benefits. Yoga practice is a way of life and many different kinds of yoga exist. Most styles of yoga are based on the same basic asanas, however, the experience of a style can be quite different from another. One such branch of yoga is known as Bikram yoga.

What’s Bikram Yoga?

Bikram Yoga is a system of yoga founded by Bikram Choudhury and popularized in the beginning of the early 1970’s. The 66-year-old, yoga guru of Indian origin, took the long existing practice of yoga and modified it to create a uniquely packaged fitness franchise.

Yoga Bikram consists of a precise sequence of 26 Bikram yoga positions and 2 breathing exercises to be performed within 90 minutes in a 35-42 degree heated room with a humidity of 40%.

Bikram yoga training centers hosting Bikram yoga classes are present in most major cities of the world that are taught by certified Bikram yoga instructors. The first official Bikram yoga studio to be established was in New York City, in the year 1999.

Bikram yoga online can be learned from Bikram yoga DVD and free yoga videos which are easily accessible on the internet, where yoga instructors demonstrate various Bikram yoga asanas and the multiple benefits of Bikram yoga.

However, it is advisable to take up this form of exercise in your local yoga classes in a proper studio dedicated to this practice. But if you choose to try it at home, you’ll have to find a steamy sauna like a yoga room and a Bikram yoga DVD for beginners to assist and instruct you through the process.

What is Hot Yoga?

Original hot yoga refers to yoga exercises performed under hot and humid conditions to increase a person’s flexibility in the poses. Bikram Yoga so happens to be the original form of hot yoga, although hot yoga has since then expanded to the following types as well:

  1. Forrest Yoga: Combines hot yoga exercises with Native American spiritual practices in a hot yoga room.
  2. Power Yoga: Uses heat to replicate environmental conditions in Mysore.
  3. Tribalance Yoga: Performed in a slightly warmer hot yoga room but with less humidity than Bikram yoga.

Hot yoga classes, which are normally held in a hot yoga studio, teach hot Bikram yoga as Bikram yoga is officially used as a formal name for hot yoga. Hot yoga at home can be practiced if you have access to a room where you can maintain a 100-105℉ room temperature, while the hot yoga poses can be learned from free online yoga.

Bikram Hot Yoga Benefits

Bikram Yoga can be used to gain many health benefits for both the body and the mind. Here are a few benefits of Bikram Yoga:

1. Bikram Yoga to Improve Your Flexibility

Bikram yoga poses are designed in such a way that the heat will allow you to safely reach new levels of personal flexibility which is meditative for your body.

2. Increase your Strength with Bikram Yoga

Bikram poses push you to use muscles you never even knew you had! A prime focus of this hot room yoga is on spine strength, which is crucial for a healthy body.

3. Regulate your Breath using Bikram Yoga

One of the most vital Bikram yoga benefits is that it regulates your breath and allows you to concentrate on your breathing. With regular practice, you will eventually learn to breathe in a full and controlled manner.

4. Detox with Bikram Yoga

Heat yoga helps you to stretch more and get your cardio, and it also helps you sweat profusely. Sweating is one of the best ways to eliminate toxins from your body. The more you sweat, the more you detoxify.

5. Bikram Yoga Weight Loss

Hot yoga weight loss is a matter of burning more calories than consumed. The Bikram yoga poses for weight loss aim to burn up to 1000 calories in a 90-minute workout class. The 26 hot power yoga poses helps you to tune into your body more effectively and repeated sessions will make your body more fit and lean.

6. Bikram Yoga during Pregnancy

Yoga in pregnancy is risky for beginners, so it is advisable to have an established regular hot yoga practice prior to pregnancy, so your body is already adjusted to the hot temperature and postures. Since this practice increases your physical strength, flexibility and keeps you feeling energized, it decreases stress, pain, and anxiety through and post-pregnancy period.

Separate pregnancy yoga classes are found in many cities around the globe, that have come up with various modifications of the hot yoga poses depending on the stage of pregnancy.

Hot Yoga for Beginners:

Before you try your hand at Bikram yoga, it’s essential to prep yourself up for what to expect since this is not like conventional yoga. The good news is that every Bikram yoga class cycles through the same 26 beginner friendly hot yoga pose so with each class you’ll be able to perfect your postures and gain confidence as you go through it session by session.

We have enlisted the 5 starting  Bikram yoga postures and their respective benefits you can practice at home so that you’ll be confident and at ease before your first Bikram yoga class:

1. Pranayama

A Bikram yoga sequence starts with this deep breathing exercise which enables maximum oxygen to reach your muscles and organs and improves blood circulation such that it prepares you for the upcoming exercises.

How to:

  1. Stand straight, keep your spine erect and legs together.
  2. Interlock your fingers and place them along the arc of your neck.
  3. Inhale, pull up your arms with your wrists slightly touching your ears.
  4. Exhale slow and deep, tilt your head back and let your hands follow the movement.

2. Half Moon Pose

This yoga posture strengthens your core. It increases the flexibility of your spine, improves kidney functioning and tones your lower body.

How to:

  1. Stand in an erect position and lift your arms up.
  2. Join your palms to form the prayer mudra right above your head.
  3. Without bending your elbows, flex your hands towards the right hip.
  4. Repeat the same on the other side.

3. Awkward Pose

This pose is designed to tone and shape your legs. It has proved effective in curing slip discs and other spine related problems. It strengthens your torso and relieves joint and back pains.

How to:

  1. Stand straight and keep your feet arm length apart.
  2. Stretch your arms forward keeping them straight, with your palms facing downward.
  3. Now bend your knees and take a squat position.
  4. Hold the pose for a few seconds.

4. Eagle Pose

The hot yoga pose opens up the largest joints in your skeletal system. It improves the flexibility of your hips, knees, and ankles. It also increases balance and flexibility.

How to:

  1. Stand straight and bend your right knee.
  2. Wrap your left knee over your right knee and wound it around.
  3. Raise your arms forward to the shoulder level and bend them at a 90-degree angle.
  4. Wrap your right hand over your left.
  5. Repeat the same on the other side.

5. Standing Head to Knee Pose

This pose strengthens your hamstrings and leg muscles. It improves your flexibility and tones the muscles of your back, biceps, and triceps. Additionally, it builds mental strength and tightens the abdominal muscles.

How to:

  1. i. Stand straight with your feet together. Form a cup with your arms by interlocking your fingers.
  2. Bend at your waist and lift your right leg up towards your chest by bending at the knees and cupping your palms along the sole of your foot.
  3. Slowly straighten your right leg, taking your hands with it.
  4. Bend your torso further, making your chest touch the knee of your right leg.
  5. Hold the pose for some time.

*Disclaimer: The thoughts and views expressed in this article are of the author alone. The article is based on research and the viewers are requested to use your discretion before taking any decisions regarding the information provided in this blog.