Bikram yoga is a series of 26 hatha yoga postures and two breathing exercises developed by Bikram Choudhury performed in a hot environment. It is the original “hot yoga”. The temperature in a Bikram class tends to be between 95 and 100 °F (35 and 38 °C). The dual purposes are an increase in bodily strength and flexibility and a move towards the closer union of the physical and spiritual selves.
How many postures are there in Bikram yoga?
Bikram yoga is made up of 26 asanas, or postures, and 2 breathing exercises. The word “asana” translates to “seat” (Source) in English and refers to the relationship between an individual’s spirit and God. Do not begin your Bikram practice with a full stomach, but do drink a glass of water. The workout is usually started from a meditation posture. While performing the 26 asanas, breathe through your nose, not your mouth. Breathe slowly and naturally, but don’t force the breathing. You are consciously releasing all the tension in your muscles as you do the asanas. The eventually leads you back to a sitting meditation posture.
So why the heat?
Bikram Yoga is a derivative of traditional Hatha yoga which was brought to the US by yogi Bikram Choudhury. It combines stretching and strengthening postures with breathing exercises. Performed in a heated room, Bikram Yoga has become popular over the years because of its benefits to the entire body, inside and out
The heat and humidity make you sweat, and sweating removes toxins from the body. Doing the asanas in a room heated to near or above body temperature allows the muscles to relax and achieve postures you never thought they could. You can get deeper into a posture. And best of all, the heat actually prevents injuries and minimizes the aches you feel after any new exercise program.
Bikram Yoga Health Benefits
There are many benefits of hot yoga include maximum stretching, detoxification, and stress reduction. Maximum stretching decreases the risk of injury to soft body tissues and increases blood flow and range of motion without putting stress on muscles or joints. Detoxification helps your body’s natural waste disposal system function optimally, preventing illness. Stress reduction lowers cardiovascular disease risk factors like blood pressure and cortisol levels.
Due to the different range of motion applied in Bikram Yoga, muscles and tendons are lengthened, loosened and strengthened. This is excellent for anyone suffering from arthritis and stiff joints. The heat amplifies the effects of poses, making them more effective. Poses are held longer to increase flexibility which improves your performance in other activities.
Yoga is seen by most as a way to achieve a balance between the body, mind, and spirit. It helps us towards optimum health and rids our lives of stress.
Whether you’re focused on losing weight, increasing flexibility or working on your core strength and toning muscles, Bikram yoga offers a wealth of benefits for people of all fitness levels.