Bikram yoga, created by Yogiraj Bikram Choudhury. Bikram yoga is a great way to tone your body and revitalise your mind.
Bikram yoga is a great way to tone your body and revitalise your mind. It’s practised in a heated room to maximise flexibility and circulation, which means you can keep warm in winter and keep fit and healthy at the same time! Drawn from traditional yoga techniques, Bikram yoga is known by its devotees and practitioners as being much more than exercise. It is regarded as a form of therapy that benefits the body, calms the mind and rejuvenates the soul. By creating an alliance of the mind, body and spirit, Bikram yoga promotes a conscious feeling of “oneness” that is said to promote wellbeing, reduce stress and optimise the body’s internal systems.
What is Bikram yoga?
Bikram yoga, created by Yogiraj Bikram Choudhury, consists of a demanding yoga series of 26 postures (asanas) and two breathing exercises (pranayama), all completed in a specific order. Each asana is done twice, each one stretching and strengthening specific muscles, ligaments and joints that are needed for the next posture. Known commonly as “hot yoga”, the series of poses was designed by Bikram to be practised in a room heated to 39 degrees in order to assist circulation and promote detoxification. The heated room provides not only a tempting place to work out when the temperature drops below 15 degrees, but also an environment that increases strength, concentration and endurance. The series of 26 postures takes 90 minutes to complete.
The heated environment allows your body to work more deeply into the postures and lessen the occurrence of potential injuries such as muscle strains common in other forms of exercise.
What makes Bikram yoga different?
Bikram yoga is different from other types of yoga for a number of reasons. The most obvious difference that sets Bikram Yoga apart from others is the heated room, which provides practitioners with a challenging yet beneficial and rewarding environment to work in. The heated temperature leads to heavy sweating, which helps to release toxins and purify the body.
Weight loss can be made easier as warmed muscles can burn fat more easily. The output of cells that fight infection also increase while the heart rate is elevated.
All classes are beginner-friendly and the sequence of the postures is done in the same way every time, making them easier to commit to memory and allowing for a sense of comfort in knowing which pose is coming next and why.
All Bikram teachers are required to train intensively for nine weeks with Bikram himself and have to recertify every three years. Each Bikram yoga teacher is committed to teaching and the practice of the series of poses, so you will always know you are in good hands when attending a Bikram yoga class.
It’s also good to know that in Bikram yoga there is not such thing as a perfect pose. The emphasis is on what you put into the series of asanas and the effect they have on the individual.
About 10 Bikram classes are usually recommended over a period of a month to maintain maximum benefit and after 13 classes you will most likely notice and feel significant results inside and out. All in all, Bikram is the most intensive yoga any enthusiast can partake in. As challenging as it is rewarding, Bikram is one winter workout worth exploring.
For the body
Bikram yoga works by contracting and stretching muscles, which increases circulation by moving fresh, oxygenated blood all over the body. The series of postures work each muscle, joint, ligament and tendon as well as internal glands and organs. Joint mobility and range of motion are increased and working against gravity for balance serves as strength training. Flexibility and energy levels are enhanced, as is cardiovascular strength and respiratory balance through the series of structured poses.
As Bikram promotes such positive outcomes on the inside, noticeable results are also evident on the outside, which is a nice incentive to being fit and healthy. By toning and strengthening all major muscle groups, Bikram yoga promotes weight loss and muscle tone and is said to give a healthy glow to the skin. Detoxifying the body and boosting the circulatory system — known to have a positive effect on the metabolism — also promotes weight loss and muscle tone.
Practising Bikram yoga enables bodily systems and functions such as digestion, respiration, endocrine and elimination to work in harmony, resulting in a heightened state of wellbeing.
Bikram Yoga Benefits
The Bikram school of yoga offers many advantages, and has been said to be life changing. It can change your perspective, and make your body feel a lot different. Bikram Yoga has been referred to as “hot yoga”. This is because it’s performed in a very warm room. It’s meant to improve both physical and mental strength, as well as balance and flexibility. It has roots in the older practice of Hatha Yoga, a technique intended to heal both mind and body.
The founder of Bikram Yoga is Bikram Choudhury, a yoga practitioner who created this branch of practice after becoming injured in a weightlifting accident. He discovered that certain exercises improved his ability to heal, so he developed them further. Many other people also found that they could benefit from Bikram Yoga, and the practice has spread ever since.There are a number of different reasons for performing this type of yoga. Some do it for reasons of physical healing, or for physical therapy. Others use it as a spiritual or holistic practice. In one incident, involving a man who had recently suffered from an injury to his knee, the practitioner began to feel better after only six weeks of practice. The pain and movement difficulty he suffered began to disappear. To get the most out of Bikram Yoga, it’s important to practice on a regular basis. That way, you’ll get the best effect, and be able to do more advanced work.
Alternate ways to get fit and warm up with yoga
- Hatha yoga is a very general term that encompasses many of the physical types of yoga. Hatha yoga classes are usually slow-paced and gentle. Hatha is a great way to ease into yoga through basic poses.
- Vinyasa, which means breath-synchronised movement, is a more vigorous yoga style that is based on a series of sun salutation poses, which the class will typically begin with before moving into more intense stretching.
- Ashtanga, often called “power yoga”, is a fast-paced, intensive style of yoga that consists of a set series of ordered poses. Ashtanga is physically demanding due to its constant flowing movements.
- Iyengar yoga is based on the teachings of the yogi B.K.S Iyengar and has an emphasis on bodily alignment. Iyengar practice usually emphasises holding poses over long periods of time as opposed to other styles such as Ashtanga.
- Kundalini yoga has a focus on breathing in conjunction with physical movement, with the purpose being to free energy in the lower body and allow it to move upwards. All asana practices use breath control, but Kundalini uses rapid and repetitive movements as well as chanting.