Formulated by Bikram Chaudhary in 1970s, Bikram yoga is the proprietary system of hot yoga and consists of 26 asanas that include two pranayama techniques. The 26 yoga poses of Bikram yoga are each performed twice in a single 90-minute class which are derived from the ‘Hatha yoga‘.
Nevertheless, Bikram yoga is quite different from a normal yogas as it urges you to practice yoga at a specific temperature of 105 °F (41 °C) with a humidity of 40%. Moreover, while doing Bikram yoga, you are expected to find out your own adjustment which gives the students a chance to go with the flow of yoga on their own.
The studio of Bikram yoga consists of well-arranged carpet and mirrors on the wall to allow you to see your asanas whether you are doing it correctly or not. Therefore, just entering the studio can give you a vibe to do some good yoga!
Brief History and Origin of Bikram Yoga
Bikram Chaudhary came up with the concept of Bikram yoga when he realized the fact that doing yoga in the temperature mimicking the warm temperature of Calcutta helps to loosen the stiffened joints and makes yoga asanas very easy.
In 1970, Bikram noticed something fascinating in Japan when his students went for the sauna. That’s when it hit him that practicing yoga in a hot environment could be beneficial. Later, Bikram yoga is believed to have given birth to a totally new type of yoga – ‘Hot Yoga’.
Later to his amazement, his students gave a much positive response. Many came up saying that they were having wonderful workout time as the flexibility of their limbs was increased; additionally, this temperature made anyone sweat easily due to which his students felt that they were flexing more which in turn motivated them to try this yoga more. Today, the temperature in studios of Bikram yoga is increased to about 40-degree Celcius.
This method of yoga gained a lot of popularity in the 1970s and it spread rapidly across America and the Western world, reaching a peak of some 1,650 studios in at least 40 countries in 2006.
In the 1980s, Hollywood became the home to the original hot yoga boom and when Bikram was the yogi to the rich and famous.
Precautions For Bikram Yoga
Bikram yoga is mostly fit for all, and especially for those who have rheumatic joint pain as the heat in the room helps to loosen your stiff joints making it easier for you to attain flexibility and do all the necessary asana. Similarly, for those who are eagerly looking forward to losing weight and effectively improving the sweating of the body, this yoga can do wonders!
Who Should Not Do Bikram Yoga?
Bikram yoga helps you in many ways; however, this yoga is contraindicated for a few people.
- Pregnant women – The heat and the strenuous asanas of Bikram yoga is not fit for the developing fetus in your womb, as it might cause birth problems later on.
- Hypertensive patient – If you are suffering from grade 3 hypertension or hypertension of any type, you are not fit for Bikram yoga as it might elevate your blood pressure to higher levels
- Heart Disease – If you are suffering from any heart related problems like, mitral stenosis, angina pectoris, atherosclerosis and other, you are not fit for doing Bikram yoga as it might elevate your heart problem making you collapse on the ground
- Varicose Vein – If you have any conditions of varicose vein, it is better to avoid this yoga. The hot temperature in the room causes vasodilation, which causes your blood to get accumulated in the legs (or areas which are gravity-dependent) and in turn worsens the case of varicose vein
- Rheumatoid Heart Disease– While this yoga can be very good for people with rheumatoid arthritis but is not suitable for those with the rheumatoid heart disease
Moreover, people who fall on these categories don’t need to be upset as you can do other forms of yoga and achieve amazing benefits. So cheers to the alternative yoga out there!
Benefits of Bikram yoga
Bikram yoga is a beautiful technique which does not only helps you to sweat but also helps you to get a perfect-fit body with much-needed flexibility. So, here are some of the benefits of Bikram yoga.
1. Improves Flexibility
Bikram yoga demands you to do some serious yoga asana which challenges your flexibility and in turn improving it for the good. The studio temperature, while doing this yoga, is high. This temperature helps to warm up your stiffened muscles and joints, which in turn help in proper mobility and also increases your flexibility.
2. Increases the strength of core muscle
This yoga consists of 26 poses which require you to maintain your balance by using the core muscle. Moreover, while doing the asanas you will first and foremost be focused on maintaining the posture without falling, this process improves your focus and concentration as well. Similarly, the muscles of the abdominal region will be stretched which in turn improves your core to get strengthened.
The stretching of muscle also helps to keep it toned in its linear form due to which instead of bulk you are more likely to develop slim muscle with lots of strength.
3. Improves Metabolism
Bikram yoga is a beautiful synchronization that consists of strenuous poses and heated rooms. This combination directly affects the metabolism of your body and helps to improve it in no time. The digestive system also improves which helps to solve problems like constipation, gastritis and even some bowel ulcers.
4. Lose weight
We can’t deny the fact that it’s very easy to gain weight than losing; therefore, in most cases even if we exercise our weight tend to be constant. This problem, however, is solved by Bikram yoga as it helps to increase metabolism, create a linear muscular structure and cause excessive burning of the fat (especially abdominal fat) due to the use of core muscles. That is why doing this yoga can significantly help you to lose a lot of weight.
5. Gives you a clear skin
This yoga makes you sweat like never before, and this process helps to open up your pores. Moreover, the asana and the heat helps to improve the circulation of blood at the cutaneous level, which in turn supplies oxygen and removes all the waste materials at the cellular level. Additionally, this yoga helps to aid and tone even the facial muscle which helps you to gain that inner glow.
6. Decreases Stress
You get stressed when you have lots of things going on in your mind and this makes you mentally agitated and irritated. Truly speaking, this yoga demands your focus and makes you happy with your achievement which helps to decrease your stress level.
Similarly, the strenuous poses of this yoga will help in secretion of the endorphins which is a feel-good- hormone, and makes you relaxed.
7. Makes you mentally healthy
Bikram yoga does not only focus on your physical health but also help to improve your mental health. By decreasing stress, improving concentration, making your body healthy – this yoga makes you content and joyful.
Bikram yoga, therefore, helps to improve many aspects of life by making you healthy. Additionally, Bikram yoga is unique on its own and doing this yoga is surely going to be beneficial for you in the long run.