Bikram yoga, also known as hot yoga, has gained popularity in recent years. It is a systematic yoga practice performed in intense heat. Bikram yoga is intended to work all muscles of your body, leading to greater health, muscle strength, balance and overall well-being.
What to Expect in a Bikram Yoga Class
Bikram yoga classes are taught by trained instructors. These 90 minute classes are held in special rooms that can safely maintain a temperature of 104 degrees. In Bikram yoga, you are guided through a sequence of 26 postures that exercise all parts of your body. Your internal organs, ligaments, tendons and muscles are all impacted by this form of yoga.
The intense heat helps to warm up your muscles and makes it easier to stretch. You will experience greater blood circulation from the combination of the heat and various postures. The deep and conscious breathing helps to oxygenate your cells. You will sweat profusely in a Bikram yoga class, which helps to cleanse your system and eliminate built-up toxins.
Research on Bikram Yoga
One study looked at the impact of Bikram yoga on the balance and strength of young adults. In this study, participants practiced Bikram yoga three times a week for eight weeks. The researchers concluded that Bikram yoga caused a significant improvement in balance and increased leg strength for all participants. It also increased, in some participants, their control over leg muscles.
Is Bikram Yoga for You?
The first question to ask yourself when deciding whether or not to practice Bikram yoga is if you can endure exercising in high temperatures. Strenuous exercise in high heat is intolerable for some people. It is also not recommended for pregnant women or people with some chronic health conditions who are sensitive to heat.
Because you will sweat a lot, you have to be willing to drink a lot of water before, during and after a Bikram yoga class. The sweating is also another deciding factor. Do you want to sweat so heavily while exercising? This may appeal to you if you are on a cleansing diet or wish to rejuvenate your skin. Sweating intensely, if followed by a skin cleansing regimen, can bring a nice, healthy glow to your skin.
People who try Bikram yoga tend to either love it or hate it. It involves a mind-body element that may or may not appeal to you. It can be a test of will to stay in a hot room while performing challenging postures and trying to balance on one leg. It will require mental tenacity and a belief in the effectiveness of this practice to attend a Bikram yoga class on a regular basis.
As the research on Bikram yoga shows, this practice will stretch and strengthen your muscles and improve your balance. Your internal organs will benefit from the deep breathing and circulation. Your skin may even glow from all of the sweating. If Bikram yoga appeals to you, it could be a healthy and rejuvenating practice for both your mind and your body.