What Is Bikram Yoga
Bikram Yoga is one of the different styles of yoga that is undertaken in a heated room. It consists of 26 asanas (postures) which include 2 breathing exercises. People whom practice Bikram Yoga claim that the heated environment provides distinct health benefits, although certain critics have questioned its safety. In this article we will take a detailed look at Bikram Yoga, as well as its advantages and disadvantages.
Bikram Yoga Explained
Bikram Yoga was first developed by Bikram Choudhury back in 1946, however, it did not become popular in the West until the early 197’0s. A normal Bikram Yoga class runs for 90 minutes and takes place in a room that is heated to 104 °F (40°C) with a humidity of 40%. In a 90 minutes Bikram Yoga class, each one of the 26 asanas is performed twice. The following, is a list of the 26 Bikram Yoga asanas:
1. Pranayama (Standing Deep Breathing Pose)
2. Ardha-Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)
3. Utkatasana (Awkward Pose)
4. Garurasana (Eagle Pose)
5. Dandayamana-Janushirasana (Standing Head To Knee Pose)
6. Dandayamana-Dhanurasana (Standing Bow Pose)
7. Tuladandasana (Balancing Stick Pose)
8. Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasana (Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose)
9. Trikanasana (Triangle Pose)
10. Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana (Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose)
11. Tadasana (Tree Pose)
12. Padangustasana (Toe Stand Pose)
13. Savasana (Corpse Pose/Dead Body Pose)
14. Pavanamuktasana (Wind Removing Pose)
15. Pada-Hasthasana (Sit Up Pose)
16. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
17. Salabhasana (Locust Pose)
18. Poorna-Salabhasana (Full Locust Pose)
19. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
20. Supta-Vajrasana (Fixed Firm Pose)
21. Ardha-Kurmasana (Half Tortoise Pose)
22. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
23. Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)
24. Janushirasana With Paschimotthanasana (Head To Knee Pose With Stretching Pose)
25. Ardha-Matsyendrasana (Spine-Twisting Pose)
26. Kapalbhati In Vajrasana (Blowing In Firm Pose)
The Benefits Of Bikram Yoga
Due to the hot and humid atmosphere that Bikram Yoga provides, it also offers additional benefits. Not only does it offer all the benefits that other styles of yoga provides, listed below are 10 of the additional benefits Bikram Yoga provides:
1. Better Balance: Due to a number of Bikram Yoga’s poses requiring you to support your body on one leg or on the tips of your toes, this this certainly helps to develop a strong sense of balance.
2. Better Breathing: Bikram Yoga features many exercises that open up your lungs and promote proper breathing.
3. Detoxification Of The Body: The combination of both a hot and humid environment for training, as well as fast paced exercises, results in plenty of sweat which helps carry toxins out of your body.
4. Enhanced Circulation: Both the heat and the exercises in a Bikram Yoga class help to loosen up your blood vessels and promote proper circulation.
5. Enhanced Flexibility: As with all styles of yoga, Bikram Yoga involves poses that stretch out your muscles and joints in various ways and maximize your overall flexibility.
6. Healthier Mind: Bikram Yoga isn’t just a physical practice and a 90 minute session will help to calm and clear your mind and make you feel much more relaxed.
7. Increased Fat Burning: When it comes to fat burning, Bikram Yoga is the best choice by some distance. It blasts through a substantial 630 calories per hour which is over 3 times more than the moderate 175 calories per hour burned by traditional Hatha Yoga.
8. Improved Posture: Many of Bikram Yoga’s poses stretch out your spine and back. Over time this has a permanent positive impact on your posture.
9. Protection Against Chronic Disease: The improved physical fitness and reduced stress levels that come from practicing Bikram Yoga on a regular basis offer significant protection against chronic disease.
10. Stronger Muscles: Bikram Yoga works all the muscles in your body and this boosts your overall strength levels.
The Drawbacks Of Bikram Yoga
Despite its many benefits, Bikram Yoga does have some drawbacks compared with other styles of yoga which are highlighted in the list below:
1. Heat Related Complications: The higher temperature and humidity levels in a Bikram Yoga class can potentially lead to a number of complications including dehydration and hyperthermia (overheating of the body). It can also exasperate existing health conditions and interfere with certain medications. Therefore, it’s essential that you consult your doctor before starting Bikram Yoga and consume plenty of water during each session.
2. Increased Injury Risk: The heat in a Bikram Yoga class naturally loosens your joints and muscles and allows you to stretch that little bit further. However, this can actually be a blessing in disguise and make you more likely to overstretch and injure yourself compared with other styles of yoga.
3. Not Suitable For Beginners: The high heat, humidity levels and fast paced nature of a Bikram Yoga class can be a shock to the system. Therefore, if you’re new to yoga, Bikram Yoga probably isn’t the best style to start with.
If you enjoy the heat and want to boost your flexibility while also getting a sweat on, Bikram Yoga is definitely something you should try. Just make sure you drink plenty of water before, during and after the class to keep your hydration levels high and avoid any potential complications related to the heat. Most of all enjoy your Bikram Yoga!