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Bikram Yoga Heats Up the Yoga World

Bikram Yoga is quickly becoming a popular form of the age-old sport but it's safety and methods are being questioned. Find out if Bikram Yoga is right for you.

Yoga is one of the most popular ways to get into shape nowadays. It's effective, healthy, and chic (as most people would say). It's famous among a lot of folks, mostly for the fact that you will actually get a lot out of it.

However, if you're interested in doing yoga, the very first step is to know the different kinds there are. There are several types and systems of this form of discipline, so before getting involved in one, it's best to know which is the best for you.

One of the most popular systems of yoga today is Bikram Yoga. This discipline started out in the early 1970s and continues to be a highly preferred method nowadays. But exactly what is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram Yoga is basically a hybrid of traditional yoga. It takes a lot of “basic” techniques and uses them in a different light, making the system unique in its own right. It's best known for being a kind of hot yoga, where practitioners do it in a heated room (around 100° F, with a humidity of 40 percent) to get the most out of it. Classes usually run for 90 minutes and are composed of 26 postures and two breathing exercises.

Founded by Bikram Choudhury, where the name comes from, Bikram Yoga is seated on the theory that the heat can help practitioners to stretch deeper. According to the founder, the high temperatures also aid in injury prevention and in reducing stress and tension. Instead of being a distraction, the practice uses the heat to its advantage, as it's believed to increase circulation all throughout the bodily organs, which in turn helps in preventing organ failure and heart disease.

Following the premise that Bikram Yoga affects blood circulation through extension and compression, the practice claims that it allows delivery of fresh blood to every organ, muscle and joint in the body. Through these two processes, the heart is triggered to pump more blood, which results in making the body feel rejuvenated and refreshed.

People are especially attracted to practicing yoga mostly for its health benefits. What it promises is a plethora of great things, from the smallest improvements to big ones. Some of the top examples include the following:

  1. Elimination of infection, toxins and bacteria from the body;
  2. Weight loss;
  3. Improved breathing;
  4. Increased flexibility;
  5. Improved endocrine and exocrine gland functions;
  6. Peace of mind;
  7. Mental strength;
  8. Prevention of osteoporosis;
  9. Muscle toning; and
  10. Great overall cardio workout, among other things.

Of course, these are just the most general examples of the benefits of yoga. There’s also the general effect of yoga, which is the clarity of mind, making it a very popular form of exercise among busy professionals and individuals. Some people also do it because it’s quite fashionable, with many celebrities practicing it for its excellent end results.

However, there are also some controversies that surround Bikram Yoga. One of which is its safety. Some people raise concern about its nature. Opponents to Bikram say that performing strenuous activities in high temperatures can be too overwhelming, and the safety of this practice has always been in question. Most experts agree, however, that the sport is generally safe for practitioners who are in good health. Also, taking precautions like hydrating before and after the session is also highly recommended. Bikram is not ideally suited for little kids and people who are over the age of 60.  Children are more vulnerable to heat stroke than adults, while senior citizens are at high risk of high blood pressure. Being mindful of your own body is also very important when practicing this kind of yoga, as you should never force yourself into something that you are not feeling okay about.

Aside from these considerations, potential practitioners are also encouraged to look at their already existing physical conditions before pushing for Bikram Yoga. As Bikram is highly strenuous, people who suffer from asthma, high blood pressure, severe back problems, emphysema or chronic bronchitis should be wary upon getting into it. These conditions tends to limit most people, and it would be safer to just stick with other less taxing forms of yoga first before trying this one at all. This doesn’t mean that Bikram Yoga is only for a select few, but it's always wise to take safety measures rather than get into a big mess later on.

While others practice Bikram Yoga to serve as a form of cardio, others do it merely for the mental benefits it provides. As most people would know, yoga is also a mental and psychological practice, aiming to provide mental relaxation through the physical exertion. Many practitioners find this method highly effective for such purposes, making it an excellent activity to improve your well-being in a holistic manner.

Practicing Bikram Yoga is something that's highly beneficial and there's no doubt about this. It's a great way to get into shape, but always remember never to overexert, as your safety and general well-being is still the most important of all.



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