What is Bikram Yoga?
There are many benefits of Bikram Yoga. But first, what it Bikram Yoga? This sequence of 26 poses designed by Bikram Choudhury is completed in 90 minutes in a room heated to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and 40 percent humidity.
What are the benefits of Bikram Yoga?
Bikram Choudhury speaks to the many benefits of Bikram Yoga, saying,
“Bikram Yoga’s twenty-six posture exercises systematically move fresh, oxygenated blood to one hundred percent of your body, to each organ and fiber, restoring all systems to healthy working order, just as nature intended. Proper weight, muscle tone, vibrant good health, and a sense of well being will automatically follow.”
On the Bikram Yoga site, you can read the full benefits for each of the 26 poses.
There are many contraindications (including pregnancy) for yoga poses, which is why consulting your doctor before practicing yoga is essential. You should also have a certified yoga teacher that learn and practice under in person. These poses are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Some of the benefits include:
Standing Deep Breathing: improves blood circulation and focus and helps transfer more oxygen to organs and muscles
Eagle Pose: improves flexibility in hips, knees, ankles, helps blood flow to sex organs and kidneys
Standing Bow: moves blood from one side of the body to the other, improves balance, patience, determination, and concentration and helps flexibility and strength of the lower spine
Tree Pose: improves posture, balance, and flexibility
Half Moon Pose: strengthens the core, increases flexibility in the spine
Awkward Pose: tones legs, helps with cold feet
Standing Head to Knee Pose: strengthens hamstrings and leg muscles
Balancing Stick Pose: strengthens heart muscles and concentration
Things to Watch Out For
- In my opinion, this is not a class for beginners. If you are really athletic and just new to yoga, you may be fine. However, the fast pace, challenging poses, and the extreme heat make this a very challenging class.
- Stay hydrated. Coming to this class when you are dehydrated is not going to be fun. That being said, don’t chug a bunch of water right before class. You will probably end up feeling sick. It’s best to keep your hydration up for a day or two leading up to the class. Obviously, it’s best to always be well hydrated. Don’t like drinking water? Read Five Ways to Trick Yourself Into Drinking Water.
- Don’t wipe the sweat off. Sweat is your bodies way of regulating your temperature. If you wipe it away constantly, you aren’t giving it a chance to evaporate.
- Be early to class. This is not a class that you want to run into at the last minute. It’s best to be a little early to let yourself acclimate to the heat before diving into the postures.
- Listen to your body. During this 90 minute sequence, your core body temperature and heart rate will rise. If you are feeling dizziness, headaches, a drop in your blood pressure or nauseous, take a break. If you are diabetic, have hypertension, or obesity you are more at risk for these symptoms. I would highly recommend talking to your doctor before starting this type of yoga (or any yoga for that matter) regardless of your level of health.
Want to give Bikram a try? This video will lead you through the complete sequence.
Bikram Yoga is obviously really intense. A Yin or Restorative Yoga class would be a great compliment to a Bikram practice. You can read about the difference between yin and restorative in Yin Restorative Yoga: What is the Difference?