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Introduction to Bikram Yoga

Updated on December 26, 2015

Bikram Yoga

The general consensus on yoga does not truly represent what its methodologies are and what it is able to achieve. If you were able to practice yoga, you will unveil that it is a life changing experience that also requires you to adapt a change of lifestyle that suits the philosophies of yoga.

Bikram yoga is just one of several yoga styles available. Read further about this practice and its methodologies to learn whether it suits your personality.

What is Bikram Yoga?

What is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram yoga is known by several different terms, including fire yoga or hot yoga. From the name alone, you could get hints as to what method is used in this particular yoga style.

In order to practice bikram yoga, the most important requisite is that the room where the yoga sessions are going to be held must reach 105 degrees Fahrenheit with a 40 percent humidity. With this room condition, participants are required to execute a series of 26 poses and a couple of breathing exercises for approximately one and a half hour session.

According to its innovator, the temperature and intensity of the exercises will have one sweating profusely, which is the basic idea behind using these conditions. When an individual sweats extensively, it allows the toxins within your body to be released. The warmth of the environment also helps in adding more flexibility into your body, making it easier to perform even the most complex of yoga poses.

Origin and Popularity of Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga was innovated and established by the Yogiraj Bikram Choudhury, which is a company based in Los Angeles, California. Bikram Choudhury trained at Calcutta's Bishnu Ghosh school before migrating in the United States. Since then, he established the Bikram's Yoga College of India in LA and held a copyright for this particular yoga style. Since then, multiple yoga studies have opened up to teach this particular yoga technique.

The discipline of bikram yoga finds it roots in Hatha Yoga, which was initially intended for pain relief. Eventually, it evolved into a 26-series of poses that were performed on a recommended room temperature. Although it is quite popular among individuals who wanted to achieve fitness benefits on top of the health improvement it brings, Bikram Yoga had momentarily been scrutinized and become a center of controversy. Many questioned the danger of using high temperature in yoga practice, despite several claims of its ability to improve wellness and flexibility.

Bikram Yoga for Beginners

Series of 26 Bikram Yoga Poses

Below is a step-by-step list for all 26 yoga poses that must be done in sequence while in a heated room:

  1. Standing Deep Breathing
  2. Half Moon Pose combined with Hand To Feet Pose
  3. Awkward Pose
  4. Eagle Pose
  5. Standing Head To Knee Pose
  6. Standing Bow Pulling Pose
  7. Balancing Stick Pose
  8. Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose
  9. Triangle Pose
  10. Standing Separate Leg Head To Knee Pose
  11. Tree Pose
  12. Toe Stand Pose
  13. Dead Body Pose
  14. Wind Removing Pose
  15. Sit Up
  16. Cobra Pose
  17. Locust Pose
  18. Full Locust Pose
  19. Bow Pose
  20. Fixed Firm Pose
  21. Half Tortoise Pose
  22. Camel Pose
  23. Rabbit Pose
  24. Head To Knee Pose combined with Stretching
  25. Spine Twisting Pose
  26. Blowing in Firm

Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga Floor Series Demonstration - Esak Garcia

Bikram Yoga

Importance of Heat

The use of heat during performance of bikram yoga has been the center of controversy and critique for this particular yoga style. Hence, beginners to bikram yoga need to understand why is it essential in the practice and what benefits it has to offer.

The presence of heat from an external source enables one to sweat immensely, which eventually always you to release heat from inside the body. Therefore, maintenance of heat within the room helps to avoid your body from overheating. The warmth produced by the outside heat also adds flexibility into your muscle so you can deeply stretch it and accommodate the requires poses for this yoga style.

The process of sweating also opens up your pores to release body toxins through your sweat for internal cleansing. The intensity of the working condition and the complexity of the poses help improve your heart rate for a full body workout.

Health Benefits

Now that you realize what comprises the practice of bikram yoga, beginners would often proceed to the next step. By practicing this type of yoga, what will it do for my body? Well, bikram yoga is not just beneficial for your body but also for your internal systems to improve overall health condition.

To help you fully understand these benefits, they are conveniently outlined below:

  • The most common benefit for regular bikram yoga practice is the ability to relieve chronic pain. An emphasis is given though on regular and continued practice for one to experience optimum results. Ideally, you must do this three times a week.
  • The combination of heat and exercises help tone your muscles while adding flexibility to your tendons and ligaments for injury prevention.
  • It naturally releases harmful body toxins resulting to a comprehensive internal cleansing.
  • Bikram yoga facilitates for an improved blood circulation, which effectively brings down your stress level.
  • In terms of health and fitness, bikram yoga has the ability to build up your muscles and bring about weight loss.
  • It can cure a wide range of diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid problems, and arthritis.

Bikram Yoga

What Does Bikram Yoga Do To The Body?

Bikram yoga is believed to be a holistic component of yoga that produces a healthy and fit body. The health benefits are among the bigger focus when dealing with bikram yoga. However, there are fitness and physical benefits too that is one reason for its popularity.

Each postures included in the bikram yoga sequence were based on the disciplines of both Eastern and Western practice of yoga. All of these poses invite movement not just for enhancement of the body, but also for improving function. This balance helps make bikram yoga a very effective health and fitness tool.

Concept of Mental Strength

Several practitioners to bikram yoga believe that your mental strength is an important key for success. This will enable you to practice self-discipline, especially when the conditions can take its toll on your body.

On the other hand, many believe that practicing bikram yoga is a good way to develop mental strength. Switching your mind into the meditative state during performance of yoga sequences will enable you to overcome physical difficulties and experience only its benefits.

Scientific and Research Evidence

Several research studies were conducted in an effort to provide a solid scientific foundation behind bikram yoga, given that many have raised concerns over the conditions at which these poses are performed. There is enough support available indicating the benefits that yoga has in eliminating pain, regardless of cause. The use of heat too has been confirmed to enhance the effects of using yoga methods alone.

The studies failed to conclude, however, whether or not bikram yoga is better than other forms of yoga.

Bikram Yoga DVDs on Amazon

Bikram Yoga Videos on Amazon


Submit a Comment

  • Tonu1973 profile image


    6 years ago from the outer reaches of reality

    I started practicing Bikram Yoga last year. After the first few classes I found the warmth very inviting and always felt better leaving class than I did when I entered. I am currently still healing from a couple of tendon ruptures (unrelated injuries) but hope to start practicing again within the next few months. Thank you for SHARING your knowledge on this topic.

  • kjrzeek1 profile image


    6 years ago from New Jersey, USA

    Yoga is awesome, but I have a hard time sticking with it. Does not always keep my interest! Great Post!

  • profile image

    yoga business 

    8 years ago

    Great overview with lots of information on Bikram.


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