Bikram Yoga, also known as hot yoga, is a unique practice gaining popularity worldwide.
Developed by Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s, Birkram Yoga is a 90-minute class conducted in a heated room, typically set at 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40 percent humidity. The practice involves a series of 26 yoga postures and two breathing exercises, which are performed in a specific sequence.
Bikram Yoga vs. Other Yoga Styles
Unlike other yoga styles such as Hatha or Vinyasa, Bikram Yoga is always practised in a hot room. The heat and humidity are believed to increase flexibility and range of motion, promote profuse sweating for detoxification, and enhance physical fitness.
Is Bikram Yoga for Everyone?
While Bikram Yoga offers numerous benefits, it may not suit everyone. The intense heat and humidity can be overwhelming for some, especially those new to yoga or with certain health conditions. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider before trying Bikram Yoga.
Jacinta Smith ~ Yoga Holiday Co-Founder.
The 26 Bikram Yoga Poses: A Snapshot
The 26 Bikram Yoga poses, also known as asanas, are a mix of standing and seated postures. Each pose is designed to target specific parts of the body, promoting overall strength, flexibility, and balance.
Let's Explore the 26 poses in Bikram Yoga
- Pranayama Series (Standing Deep Breathing): This pose helps improve lung capacity and circulation.
- Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose): This pose strengthens the core muscles and improves flexibility in the spine.
- Utkatasana (Awkward Pose): This pose strengthens the legs and increases knee and ankle circulation.
- Garurasana (Eagle Pose): This pose enhances joint flexibility and improves balance.
- Dandayamana-Janushirasana (Standing Head to Knee Pose): This pose improves balance and flexibility.
- Dandayamana-Dhanurasana (Standing Bow Pulling Pose): This pose enhances balance and increases lung capacity.
- Tuladandasana (Balancing Stick Pose): This pose strengthens the heart muscle and improves circulation.
- Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasana (Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose): This pose improves digestion and flexibility.
- Trikonasana (Triangle Pose): This pose strengthens muscles and improves cardiovascular function.
- Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana (Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose): This pose improves digestion and metabolism.
- Tadasana (Tree Pose): This pose improves posture and balance.
- Padangustasana (Toe Stand Pose): This pose strengthens joints and improves balance.
- Savasana (Dead Body Pose): This pose relaxes the body and prepares it for the floor series.
- Pavanamuktasana (Wind Removing Pose): This pose improves digestion and flexibility in the hip joints.
- Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): This pose strengthens the spine and improves digestion.
- Salabhasana (Locust Pose): This pose strengthens the upper spine and improves flexibility.
- Poorna-Salabhasana (Full Locust Pose): This pose strengthens the middle spine.
- Dhanurasana (Bow Pose): This pose strengthens the lower spine and improves flexibility.
- Supta-Vajrasana (Fixed Firm Pose): This pose strengthens and improves flexibility in the lower spine, hips, knees, and ankle joints.
- Ardha-Kurmasana (Half Tortoise Pose): This pose relaxes the body and improves lung capacity.
- Ustrasana (Camel Pose): This pose improves flexibility in the neck and spine.
- Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose): This pose improves flexibility in the spine.
- Janushirasana with Paschimotthanasana (Head to Knee Pose with Stretching Pose): This pose improves digestion and flexibility.
- Ardha-Matsyendrasana (Spine Twisting Pose): This pose improves spine flexibility and aids digestion.
- Kapalbhati in Vajrasana (Blowing in Firm Pose): This pose improves digestion and circulation.
- Savasana (Final Dead Body Pose): This final pose relaxes the body and concludes the practice.
Note: Each pose is performed twice in a Bikram Yoga class.
For a more in-depth discovery into the 26 Bikram Yoga Poses you can read our Ultimate Guide to the 26 Bikram Yoga Poses.
The Power of Heat: Benefits of Bikram Yoga
Practising hot yoga regularly can lead to numerous health benefits. It can improve bone density, enhance glucose tolerance, and boost physical fitness. The heat also helps in improving flexibility and range of motion.
Jacinta ~ Yoga Holiday Co-Founder.
Key benefits of practising Bikram Yoga:
- Enhanced Flexibility: The heat in a Bikram Yoga class helps to warm up your muscles, making them more pliable and flexible. This allows for deeper stretches and can improve your overall flexibility over time.
- Detoxification: The intense sweating experienced during a Bikram Yoga class helps to flush toxins out of your body. This detoxification process can improve skin health, better digestion, and a boosted immune system.
- Improved Bone Density: Bikram Yoga poses often require you to bear your body weight, which can help improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Increased Heart Rate and Cardiovascular Health: Combining heat and continuous movement in Bikram Yoga can increase your heart rate, providing a cardiovascular workout. This can help to improve heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Stress Relief and Mental Health: Like other forms of yoga, Bikram Yoga can help to reduce stress and anxiety. The practice encourages mindfulness and focus on the present moment, which can positively impact your mental health.
The Controversy Surrounding Bikram Yoga
Despite its popularity, Bikram Yoga has been surrounded by controversy due to its founder, Bikram Choudhury. However, many studios worldwide continue to offer this form of yoga, focusing on the practice itself rather than its origin.
The Future of Bikram Yoga
Despite the controversies, Bikram Yoga continues to thrive, with studios worldwide offering classes. Its unique combination of heat, humidity, and set series of poses offers a challenging yet rewarding yoga experience many practitioners swear by.
Bikram Yoga is a challenging yet rewarding practice promoting overall wellness and physical fitness. Here are some key points to remember:
- Bikram Yoga is a 90-minute class conducted in a heated room, involving a series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises.
- The heat and humidity in Bikram Yoga increase flexibility, promote detoxification, and enhance physical fitness.
- Bikram Yoga offers numerous health benefits, including improved bone density and glucose tolerance.
- Preparation is key for Bikram Yoga. Hydrate well, wear comfortable yoga clothing, and bring a towel and a yoga mat.
- Bikram Yoga may not be suitable for everyone due to its intense heat and humidity. Always consult with a healthcare provider before trying a new fitness regimen.
Frequently Asked Questions - Bikram Yoga
Q: What is Bikram Yoga?
A: Bikram Yoga is a form of hot yoga consisting of 26 yoga poses, also known as asanas and two breathing exercises. It was developed by Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s and is practised in a room heated to approximately 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40 per cent humidity.
Q: Does Bikram Yoga help with weight loss?
A: Yes, Bikram Yoga can help with weight loss. The intense heat and humidity in the room can increase your heart rate and metabolism, resulting in increased calorie burn. Additionally, Bikram Yoga can help build lean muscle mass, further aiding in weight loss.
Q: Can beginners practice Bikram Yoga?
A: Yes, beginners can practice Bikram Yoga. The sequence of 26 postures is designed to be accessible to people of all fitness levels. However, listening to your body and taking breaks as needed is important. It is also recommended to start with shorter class times and gradually work your way up to a full 90-minute session.
Q: Is Bikram Yoga suitable for people with injuries?
A: Bikram Yoga can be adapted to accommodate people with injuries. However, consulting with a qualified instructor before starting the practice is important. The instructor can provide modifications and guidance to ensure a safe and effective practice.
Q: Can I practice Bikram Yoga if I don’t like the heat?
A: Bikram Yoga may not be your best choice if you don’t enjoy being in a hot and humid environment. However, other types of yoga, such as Vinyasa Yoga or Hatha Yoga, can offer similar benefits without extreme heat.
Q: How often should I practice Bikram Yoga?
A: Your Bikram Yoga practice frequency depends on your individual goals and fitness level. Some people may choose to practice several times a week, while others may prefer to practice once or twice a week. Listening to your body and giving yourself adequate rest and recovery time is essential.
Q: Where can I find Bikram Yoga classes?
A: Bikram Yoga is taught at various Bikram Yoga studios worldwide. You can search online for a Bikram Yoga studio near your location. Some yoga studios may also offer hot yoga classes that follow a similar style to Bikram Yoga.
Q: Can I become a certified Bikram Yoga teacher?
A: Yes, you can become a certified Bikram Yoga teacher. The Bikram Yoga College of India offers the official certification program. To become a certified teacher, you must complete an intensive training program and pass the required exams.
- A Guide to Bikram Yoga: Sweat Your Way to Wellness - August 10, 2023