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Appreciating Bikram Yoga: Why It's So Popular

Updated on December 27, 2015

What is Bikram Yoga?

Over the years, yoga enthusiasts have developed their own yoga techniques and methods that suits their purpose best. One such method is Bikram Yoga or Hot Yoga that is among the fastest growing techniques there is.

The term hot yoga was coined after the procedures needed in performing this particular technique. First off, it is done in a heated room with an average temperature of around 105 degrees Fahrenheit. On top of this extreme temperatures are performance of vigorous yoga sessions that are sure to keep you sweating profusely. This method is known to be highly beneficial for an individual to get rid of body toxins. It is also known to bring about total wellness through restoration and rejuvenation.

What is Bikram Yoga?

Basics of Bikram Yoga

Bikram yoga is performed by a series of 26 poses (asana) that is largely tied up with a set of breathing exercises (called pranayama). Each of the asanas (to be discussed further below) must be repeated twice and each round of performance must be executed for about 30 seconds before moving onto the next set of poses. By incorporating together the postures with proper breathing methods, it is known to deliver the best results. Many bikram yoga practitioners and experts believe that during performance of the hot yoga exercises, the muscles in your lungs are stretched out as well. This enhances the lung's capacity for holding and absorbing oxygen, while also improving blood circulation in the process.

Most yoga experts advise that you learn about how heat is generated in the yoga studio where you are going to hold hot yoga sessions at. It is important to question the air quality of the room since there are several yoga studios that recycle air instead of pre-heating the room. This results to the depletion of the oxygen level in the room that can lead to air toxicity and carbon dioxide poisoning.

Concept Of Bikram Yoga Exercises

Some people believe that bikram yoga postures are quite demanding, given that there are 26 asanas to perform overall. Plus, it has to be incorporated with corresponding breathing exercises for optimum result. However, these postures are quite easy to learn and master. It works by strenghtening the specific muscle needed for a particular posture, preparing the next set of muscles that are needed for the next set of postures.

Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga for Beginners

Bikram Yoga Poses

Here are the 26 asanas to be performed in bikram yoga:

  • Standing Deep Breathing: The purpose of this exercise is to practice how you can utilize 90 percent of your lungs such that you can expand its capacity. It also serves to wake up the body and the muscles for the upcoming series of postures.
  • Half-Moon Pose: This pose works the muscles on the central part of the body, particularly the abdomen area. Benefits include increased flexibility of the spine, improved posture, boosts muscle strength, and promotes kidney function.
  • Hands To Feet Pose: This one targets the spine and sciatic nerves. As your leg muscles are stretched, it helps strengthen the thighs and ligaments of your legs, while also improving blood circulation in the said areas.
  • Awkward Pose: Since most of the pressure is applied on the thigh and calf muscles, it improves strength in those areas. It also firms up your upper arms.
  • Eagle Pose: The objective of this pose is to deliver more blood into your kidney and reproductive organs, thus increasing sexual power. Other muscles that are developed with this pose include your hips, abdomen, calves, thighs, knees, ankle joints, etc.
  • Standing Head To Knee Pose: Physically, this pose increases flexibility and strength amongst your leg and abdominal muscles. It also develops your ability to concentrate, be patient, and increase determination.
  • Standing Bow Pulling Pose: One of those yoga poses that transports blood into the internal organs to keep them healthy. Targeted areas of the body include upper arms, abdominal wall, upper thighs, buttocks, and arms.
  • Balancing Stick Pose: It provides the same benefits as the Standing Head To Knee Pose but with the added benefits of strenghtening your heart muscles and improving posture.
  • Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose: By stretching your sciatic nerves, it helps prevent the probability of developing back problems.
  • Triangle Pose: As your legs and arms are stretched, this pose helps revitalize your veins, nerves, and tissues.
  • Standing Separate Leg Head To Knee Pose: This pose is very effective in slimming your abdomen area while also stretching your spine for increased flexibility.
  • Tree Pose: This is done to prevent hernia as the internal oblique muscles are strengthened.
  • Toe Stand Pose: As your ankles support the entire weight of the body, it helps fight off rheumatism or gout on the ankle, knee, and feet.
  • Dead Body Pose: Aside from total relaxation, it enables your blood to properly circulate.
  • Wind Removing Pose: By lifting your knees toward your chest while lying down, this pose is an effective cure against abdominal pain and flatulence.
  • Cobra Pose: As you lay down and point your upper body towards the ceiling, you can prevent lower backache and boost spinal flexibility.
  • Locust Pose: This pose offers the same benefits as the Cobra Pose, although this time your lower body and leg area are raised upwards.
  • Full Locust Pose: With only your hip area on the floor and both your upper body and legs lifted, you can increase elasticity on your rib cage.
  • Bow Pose: This helps you achieve full revitalization on your spinal nerves and promote better digestion.
  • Fixed Firm Pose: Among the targeted and improved muscles are your abdomen, lower spine, knees, and ankle joints.
  • Half Tortoise Pose: By stretching your arms as your knees are curled to your chest, bikram yoga teachings believe that doing this for 30 seconds is equal to attaining 8 hours of sleep.

Esak Garcia : Advanced Demonstration Bikram Yoga Richardson

Benefits of Bikram Yoga

There are two areas wherein you can attain benefits with the practice of bikram yoga: (1) in the yoga practice itself, and (2) through the heat.

Here are some benefits you can derive from Bikram Yoga practices:

  • It helps in reshaping your body.
  • You can attain more flexibility.
  • Your muscles are strengthened, toned, and lengthened.
  • It reduces the risks of acquiring sports injuries.
  • It improves the strength of your spine.
  • Aids in proper circulation.
  • Provide relief from any form of bodily pain.
  • Increases your level of energy.
  • Helps speed up the weight loss process by increasing your metabolic rate.
  • Calms both your mind and soul.
  • A complete and improved overall function for all systems in your body such as your nervous, muscular, skeletal, digestive, respiratory, endocrine, and other systems in the body.

As for the benefits you can get through the use of heat, they are as follows:

  • It warms up your muscles to attain better flexibility.
  • Tremenous sweating helps in getting rid of toxins in your body.
  • It boosts your immune system.
  • Caters to an effective cardiovascular system.
  • Faster burning of calories.
  • Helps attain better endurance.

Yoga Oasis Hot YOGA part bikram 1

Popularity of Hot Yoga Techniques

Bikram yoga has continually increased its number of patrons as more people are learning about the benefits of this yoga technique. The health and fitness benefits of the practice is quite extensive, thus it works for anyone that wants to attain a fully revitalized body.

Another reason why it has become largely popular is that it is suitable for all ages and ability level. While the poses appear complicated, learning them is quite easy. Before you know it, you have mastered the poses well enough to perform them smoothly in one bikram yoga session. But still, it is advised that you begin with a yoga instructor to determine that you are doing the poses accurately so you can prevent acquiring any injuries.

Bikram Yoga DVDs on Amazon


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