Numerous schools of yoga have become popular in the US over the past few years. Bikram Yoga, or “hot yoga,” is one approach to this ancient art that has received much attention of late.
What Is Bikram Yoga?
Developed by Bikram Choudhury, Bikram yoga is practiced in a specific environment. Classes are given in rooms heated to 104 degrees, with humidity maintained at 40 percent. The sequence of poses used in a Bikram class is always the same, and consists of 27 poses and 2 breathing exercises.
The heat and humidity of a Bikram class encourages a great deal of sweating, which according to yoga principles helps remove toxins from the body. The heat also helps the body become and remain very flexible throughout the class. Some adjustment is required, and many students experience dizziness and other issues for the first few sessions.
Results of Bikram Yoga
The sequence of poses practiced in Bikram Yoga is structured to control the flow of oxygen to various areas of the body. This oxygenation can also help eliminate toxins, strengthen the body, and increase overall health and well-being. As with any yoga practice, Bikram Yoga also helps balance emotions and brings a sense of peace and well-being when practiced regularly.
Yoga teaches strong focus on the present, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. By requiring intense concentration on the body and balance, yoga brings attention inward, which often produces a meditative state that can be maintained throughout the practice. This meditative state helps quiet the mind, allowing it to let go of worries and anxiety that might otherwise multiply and produce stress throughout the body. Yoga, in its ability to quiet the mind, also helps lower blood pressure and increases emotional control.
With any yoga practice, and with Bikram Yoga in particular due to the specific conditions required for the practice, it is important to consult with a medical professional to prevent injury or other potential problems.