Hot Yoga

Hot Yoga is a series of yoga poses done in a heated room. The room is usually maintained at a temperature of 95-100 degrees. As you can imagine, a vigorous yoga session at this temperature promotes profuse sweating which rids the body of toxins. It also makes the body very warm, and therefore more flexible.

Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga is ideally practiced in a room heated to 105°F (40.5°C) with a humidity of 40%. Classes are guided by specific dialogue including 26 postures and two breathing exercises. Classes last approximately 90-minutes. People of all levels, ages and body types practise and start together as this is a beginning yoga class.

Bikram Yoga is named after its founder – Bikram Choudhury. It is a series of 26 poses performed in a room with temperature of 105 degrees Farenheit. Each Yoga Pose is usually performed twice and held for a certain period of time. Yoga Sessions start from Standing Postures, then the Backbends, Forward Bends, and Twists. The poses are accompanied by Kapalabhati Breath or the “blowing in firm”.

The heat accelerates the rate of change within the body, improves circulation, helps to eliminate toxins, and significantly reduces the risk of injury during stretching. No special equipment, props or clothing is required.

The Bikram Series was tailored for the Western person and specifically for our cultural problems of job stress, overeating, bad posture, and aggressive lifestyles. Bikram scientifically formulated and demonstrated yog’s ability to regenerate tissue and cure chronic ailments. With an exact technique and a series of fixed poses, the class will bring health and peace to anyone.

In time you’ll learn to focus your mind and control your breath, leading you to work harder, deeper, and calmer. As you improve this relationship, you will realize the true meaning of yoga: a union of the body, mind, and spirit.

Bikram Yoga provides an infinite amount of benefits including stress reduction, increased stamina, mental clarity, flexibility, weight reduction, and balance.

Why practice Yoga in a heated room?

  • Heat is used inBikram Yoga in order to allow you to go deeper and safer into a Yoga Pose.
  • Your body becomes more flexible in the heat and since most poses used in Bikram are physically challenging, heat allows you to get into a pose that you never imagined you can do.
  • It also eliminates the risk of injuries, promotes sweating, and helps you release the toxins in your body.
  • The poses not only work on your muscles but also on your internal organs.
  • Each pose stretches and strengthens your muscles, joints, and ligaments and, at the same time release the toxins and work on your internal organs like the glands and the nervous system.
  • Some people are often discouraged to practice of Yoga by thinking that they are not flexible enough. Yoga is not about being flexible, but about strengthening your body and your spine in all directions with the goal of creating a union between the body, mind and spirit. All that matters is to try the right way without pushing yourself too far.

Benefits

There is much evidence both scientific and anecdotal to support the benefits of Bikram Yoga when practiced regularly. Problems of alignment, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, insomnia, high and low blood pressure, and so many other medical problems have shown much improvement for so many with regular practice.

Some of the benefits of Bikram Yoga:

  • Works every organ, gland, nerve, tendon, ligament and muscle in the whole body every Bikram Yoga session
  • Expands your capacity to breathe deeply and fully
  • Prevents injury and may prevent or improve chronic illness
  • Promotes better sleep, you may even need to sleep less
  • Fabulous body toning effects
  • Weight loss or gain depending on your body’s needs
  • Improvement in posture and body awareness
  • Improve the healing and regenerative powers of your body
  • Improvement in T-cell function and your immune system
  • Improvement in your lymphatic system
  • Lengthening and strengthening of muscles
  • Increased flexibility
  • Improvement in peripheral circulation
  • Improvement in metabolism / digestion
  • Gives the body a cardiovascular workout without negative impacting forces
  • Nervous system is exercised
  • Endocrine and exocrine glands are massaged and stimulated to better function
  • Muscular and skeletal network are enhanced
  • Weight bearing exercise will help prevent osteoporosis
  • Improves heart and lung function
  • Improves back conditions of pain and misalignment
  • Improves flexibility of your spine in its range of motion in all directions allowing the improvement in function of your central nervous system. Better nervous system communication means a better functioning body and mind
  • Helps cultivate a sense of well being and a more peaceful mind
  • Integration of both sides of the brain to improve memory, learning, body coordination and balance
  • Builds mental strength and teaches you to hold your mind in a focused and meditative state

Hot Yoga Tips and Cautions

It is essential to have your own yoga mat and towel when doing Hot Yoga since you will be sweating so much. Students tend to wear very little clothing for the same reason.

Make sure to drink plenty of water before and after class so you don’t get dehydrated. It is not advisable to eat during the two hours before class.

If you want to try Bikram’s method, make sure the Hot Yoga studio you choose has been certified to teach Bikram Yoga.

Hot Yoga is not advised for pregnant women, since it can raise the core body temperature.

Sources: ABC of Yoga, Bikram Yoga DC


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