Bikram Yoga is a hot yoga style and is ideally practiced in a room heated to 35–42 °C (95–108 °F) with a humidity of 40%. All Bikram Yoga Beginning Series classes run for 90 minutes and consist of the same series of 26 postures, including two breathing exercises. The instructors do not work out with you, they only use verbal instructions. This way you are concentrating on their voice and your mind is not wandering.
The Benefits of Using Bikram Yoga
Bikram Yoga training is a comprehensive training which includes all fitness components: muscle strength, durability, flexibility and weight loss. The series of Bikram Yoga exercises stimulate the internal organs, glands, and nerves, bringing freshly oxygenated blood to all parts of the human body, promoting health. Bikram Yoga is a fantastic method for reducing stress and tension in the body, burning fat, toning muscles, increasing flexibility and strength. It is particularly important that the Bikram yoga exercises are designed to activate the entire spine, help relieve pain in the back and recover from spinal injuries. A healthy spine is a prerequisite for a healthy body. One of the largest group people using Bikram yoga are businessmen trying to get rid of stress after a full day’s work. This is a prerequisite for spending a more productive rest of the day.
Bikram Yoga helps increase the capacity of the lungs significantly. This leads to receiving a higher amount of oxygen to the body. It also significantly helps regulate the body weight, strengthen the immune system, cope with stress and fatigue, as well as diminish the negative effects of the modern lifestyle.
As with other yoga practices, this allows your body to take full advantage of its strength and vital energy reserves. It improves your concentration as well.
Why Bikram Yoga Is Preferred Over Other Yoga Styles
This unique yoga system was developed by Bikram Choduri. It is based on ancient knowledge of the healing techniques and positive effects of classical yoga. However, Bikram Yoga is a sequence of 26 poses and two breathing exercises that are practiced in a heated room. Why is the heated room important? Warm and humid air heat the body and thus greater flexibility are achieved. Risk of injury, especially in the stretching exercise is reduced. The sweating enables release of the accumulated toxins from the human body. Simply put, the heat allows deeper and safer stretching, providing a complete detoxification of the human organism. Exercising at a high temperature accelerates the cardiac activity, allowing complete cardiovascular training and easily bringing the body into fit form.
Bikram Yoga is also different from other yoga styles in that it must be practiced each day, in a precisely determined order. Furthermore, the teacher does not perform the exercises, but describes them, i.e. speaks to the participants. This type of training was created according to the abilities of a Western man who is always in a hurry. Therefore, the 90-minute Bikram Yoga training is suitable for anyone who is willing to spend some time for the sake of health.
Who Should Use the Bikram Yoga Style
The series of exercises called Bikram Yoga is designed for everyone. It is suitable for all age groups and all levels of physical ability. Bikram Yoga is especially suitable for those coping with stress and tension. Anyone who wants to look and feel great should use the Bikram Yoga Style. It is equally useful for both men and women. On the other hand, there are certain health conditions in which Bikram yoga is not recommended, as it is performed under high external temperature. This is why it is not recommended for people with heart disease.
The Quickest Way to Get Started In A Bikram Yoga Program
One or two days before your first Bikram Yoga training, you should hydrate your body with plenty of mineral water with lemon. Keep in mind that you will need about three training sessions to get used to a temperature of 105 degrees and 40% humidity. Furthermore, the apparel in which you exercise is very important. You should use natural materials, such as cotton so that your skin can breathe.
Beginners are slowly introduced into the exercises. If you are unable to make any pose, you can skip it and rest until the next exercise. Slow breathing will ease the exercising process. One of the preparatory positions, the Pranayama, enables mental and lung preparation for the other training exercises.
The time span for a Bikram Yoga workout is that you stay in the room for 90 minutes. This is only a suggested time frame, you are not obliged to do all the poses twice during the first few training sessions. If you are uncomfortable with the warmth and humidity in the room, it is advised to take a rest, lie on your back for as much time as you need.
Top 5 Bikram Yoga Poses
#1 Ardha Chandrasana pose
This, so-called “half-moon” pose is the starting position which prepares your body for the challenges of the rest of the training. It provides your body with energy, relief from pain, especially the back pain and tones your abdomen. This position is chosen as one of the top 5 Bikram yoga poses, as it is necessary for a successful training. If this pose is omitted, your body will not be able to take full advantage of the poses to come.
#2 Pada Hastasana pose
This position in which you hug your feet with your hands and arms is perfect for increasing spinal flexibility, exercising your skeletal and muscular system. This pose is one of the best ones because it prepares one of the most sensitive and crucial segments of one’s body – the spine – for the poses to come.
#3 Garurasana pose
This position resembles an eagle. It is one of the first exercises done during the training. It is very important as it prepares one’s body for difficult positions to come. The focus is on joints, the nervous system and improving one’s balance.
#4 Dandayamana Dhanurasana pose
This is one of the first demanding Bikram yoga training positions. It tests and improves one’s balance, flexibility, strength, joints health and elasticity. One grabs the ankle, raises the other arm up and then raises the ankle towards the ceiling in a kick while maintaining the balance by stretching the other arm in front of the body. This position stimulates both lungs and heart, reduces fat and strengthens the spine.
#5 Trikanasana pose
This triangular position is perfect for serious bi-lateral body stretching. It is beneficial for shoulders, joints, kidneys and glands, legs and buttocks. This position is chosen as one of the top 5 as it represents a stretch combo which positively affects the whole body.