Bikram Yoga: Worth the Sweat?
What Is Bikram Yoga?
There is a reason why Bikram Yoga is also known as hot yoga: it consists of a 90 minute session conducted in 105 degree Fahrenheit, with a 60% humidity level! Bikram yoga requires its followers to perform a series of 26 asanas, incorporating deep breathing techniques and meditation into every posture.
The philosophy of Bikram Yoga accentuates the effect of heat on the human body. Unusually high temperatures enhance the body’s agility; the muscles and joints can assume the flexibility required to perform challenging poses faster in high temperatures. Hot yoga also highlights the importance of deep breathing. Thus, while performing each pose you are not only enhancing the flexibility and strength of your muscles and joints, you are also improving your breathing capacity and expelling harmful toxins from your body.
Health Benefits of Bikram Yoga
Let’s take a look at the numerous health benefits of this rigorous, sweat inducing yoga form!
- Bikram yoga focuses on the alignment of your body; it leads to a stronger spine and toned muscles.
- The high temperatures enhance the suppleness of your muscles and joints, allowing your body to contort into the physically challenging Bikram postures.
- Our body’s natural reaction to heat is sweat production. This continuous production of sweat for 90 minutes detoxifies your internal body and skin, flushing out harmful substances that could lead to illnesses and diseases.
- Bikram yoga can enhance your body’s metabolism rate, and can thus contribute to weight loss.
- It provides an excellent cardio workout by improving your body’s blood circulation and strengthening the heart muscle.
- By increasing your body’s core temperature, hot yoga increases the quantity of immunity providing T-cells in the body. High T-cell volumes can be beneficial for HIV/AIDS patients.
Possible Health Concerns – Just To Be On The Safe Side
Bikram yoga has numerous benefits, but before diving into this rigorous workout, there are some things that you should keep in mind:
- High temperatures coupled with a challenging exercise routine can dehydrate your body. To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of water before and after the session.
- Assess your health and fitness level before joining a Bikram Yoga class. The asanas are physically demanding and you may injure yourself. Additionally, make sure that your Bikram instructor is certified to teach this challenging yoga form.
- Some Bikram followers may experience short term side effects such as dizziness, muscle weakness, cramping and nausea.
- Bring your own towel and yoga mat to the Bikram session as you will sweat profusely during the class.
- Pregnant women should not practice Bikram yoga as it raises the core temperature of the body.
Background Of Bikram Yoga
Bikram yoga was designed and introduced by Bikram Choudhury in Los Angeles in the 1970s. He was a student of Bishnu Ghosh, and drew inspiration from what he had learnt from his wise yoga instructor.