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Bikram Yoga or Antigravity Yoga-Which is Right For You?

Updated on May 29, 2012
The 26 poses of Bikram yoga.
The 26 poses of Bikram yoga. | Source

"Hatha Yoga… It’s just you and nothing but you, standing in one spot frozen like a statue with no place to go for help or excuse or scapegoat except inward." -B

Many people are becoming more familiar with specific types of yoga such as bikram yoga and antigravity yoga. Usually these kinds of yoga are best for those who have been practicing for a while and are able to adapt to new styles and demands that these forms of yoga require, but bikram and antigravity forms may actually help beginners. Of course, it is very important that you know what each style encompasses as well as the potential benefits and disadvantages of each style before beginning.

What is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram Yoga has been around since the 1970s when Bikram Choudhury developed the 26 postures that systematically work every part of the body including the internal organs, ligaments, muscles and veins. While each individual component of this workout benefits different areas of the body, this method creates a synergy that helps each component contribute to all the others, so the body can attain its maximum function along with the most in health benefits.

A key part of bikram yoga is the proper room temperature. The temperature must be set at 105 degrees in order to make the body softer and more flexible. With the heat, the body can be shaped into any form, which is essential in yoga practices. Furthermore, the heat from this particular strain of yoga contributes to the cleansing process that all yoga techniques promote, particularly with sweat flushing out impurities through the skin.


Source

What is Antigravity Yoga?

One of the easiest ways to describe antigravity yoga is to compare it to Cirque du Soleil type acrobatics but without the fancier tricks of the trade. This style of yoga was developed by Christopher Harrison, a former gymnast and dancer. This particular workout helps to stretch and strengthen the body in such a way that does not compress the vertebrae or overstress the joints.

The thing that most differentiates antigravity yoga from other strains is the use of the AntiGravity hammock. Furthermore, this type of yoga does not focus on breathing, which some critics will say does not make this an actual yoga. In fact, there is a combination of calisthenics, dance, Pilates and yoga that make this a challenging fitness workout with enough acrobatics to keep it interesting. Also, the silky fabric hammock swatch may make it easier for some of the positions with its support.


Pros and Cons of Bikram Yoga

Of course, the largest benefit of bikram yoga is the flexibility you can achieve with this form of yoga. Those who find some positions difficult may become suppler and also find the cleansing process beneficial. However, it may take some getting used to the heat. There are a few who may find it intolerable and some may even become lightheaded or dizzy until they get used to it.


Pros and Cons of Antigravity Yoga

Like with the bikram form, there are some who may find antigravity yoga easier to perform because of the support, which can help those who have trouble with backbends and forward bends. With its combination of features, there may be a few who appreciate the kind of workout it provides. However, as stated previously, there are also those who question its validity as an actual form of yoga.

Both bikram yoga and antigravity yoga have their advantages and disadvantages. However, some people may welcome the challenges of bikram or the additional support of antigravity. These kinds of yoga may seem difficult, but there are many people who enjoy these strains of yoga. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional, you can look into these workouts to see if one will benefit you.


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    • MosLadder profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Montgomery 

      6 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Kate, I hear what you're saying. I like the constant flow and gradual build-up to more difficult asanas as well. Thanks for commenting!

    • profile image

      Kate 

      6 years ago

      I tried bikram a couple of times but found that my muscles were almost 'artificially warmed' due to the heat as opposed to the teacher gradually leading us into the more dynamic postures... Also did an anti-gravity class which was a lot of fun but didn't give the relaxation benefits... Give me traditional hatha yoga any day! :)

    • MosLadder profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Montgomery 

      6 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Good for you ladeda! It's true, you really have to 'go inside' and focus on yourself to make it through the class. Thanks for your comment,

      Cheers!

    • ladeda profile image

      ladeda 

      6 years ago

      I enjoy doing yoga, but I'm certainly no pro. Bikram yoga was actually my introduction to yoga itself, and surprisingly I did find it a great way to start out. The room temperature does help with flexibility and everyone is so focused on the heat, that you feel alone even in a room full of people. (Just be sure to drink plenty of water!)

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