Bikram yoga is the original hot yoga, defined by a sequence of 26 Hatha (physical) yoga postures and 2 breathing exercises, practiced in a heated room over the course of 90 minutes.
Why does it have to be so hot?
Practicing in a hot room will:
- Allow your muscles and joints to warm up efficiently
- Detoxify your body
- Challenge your mind
- Increase cardiovascular benefit
- Speed up metabolism
- Reduce the risk of injury
Practicing in the heat can be likened to making a sword. In order to make a sword, one must start with a piece of steel and heat it up. When the steel becomes hot, it can be slowly hammered and shaped into the sword it is intended to be. If one tried to make a sword without first heating up the steel, nothing would happen to it but you could possibly break your hand, your arm or the hammer! The result would not be as intended.
How will it help me?
A regular Bikram Yoga practice will:
- Reduce stress
- Increase energy and vitality
- Make you a more patient parent/partner/friend/co-worker
- Improve blood circulation
- Regulate cholesterol, blood sugar and nutrients in the body
- Strengthen the immune system
- Improve overall mental health, including serious mental health disorders
- Balance hormones
- Improve flexibility, strength, and overall health of the spine (which, without yoga, compresses over time)
- Expand lung capacity and relieve lung ailments
- Strengthen the heart and entire cardiovascular system
- Balance your metabolism (allowing you to lose or gain weight as needed)
- Relieve chronic pain
- Reduce symptoms of many chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes and thyroid disorders
- Improve your overall quality of life
- Bring you a sense of happiness and well-being.
How often should I practice?
In the beginning (first few months), we recommend a daily practice, which will allow you to acclimatize quickly and enable you to learn the postures correctly, with good technique, so that you can receive 100% of the benefit from each class. After you are able to practice most of the postures with reasonable proficiency, continue to practice 2-3 times a week or as much as you can, given your current schedule ( e.g. work, kids and other activities etc)
Life can get busy but remember, you are worth the extra effort!
As a beginner, this may seem like a tall order but consistency is the key with any new endeavour. At first, you will feel awkward and self-conscious. This will pass. Just promise to stick to it!
Learn to love the heat, love the sweat and above all love yourself