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Yoga: What Is Bikram Yoga?

  By posted Dec 19th 2012
Healthy Living


Yoga: What is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram yoga has garnered a reputation for effective weight loss and overall health and flexibility. Yoga, an ancient traditional form of exercise from India, has gained popularity right from the 20th century. From yoga, emerges Bikram yoga - a product of Bikram Choudhury, but more on him later. First, let’s find out the what, why, when and how of Bikram yoga.

Bikram Yoga: What is Bikram yoga?
Bikram yoga can simply be explained as: 

  • A branch of Hatha yoga
  • Bikram yoga is conducted in a heated room at 40 degree C
  • The humidity should be at 40 percent
  • The duration for Bikram yoga is 90 minutes
  • Bikram yoga consist of 26 postures and two breathing exercises

Bikram Yoga: What is Hatha Yoga
Bikram yoga is a branch of Hatha Yoga; how does Bikram yoga take inspiration from it? Here's the answer:

A Hindu sage, Yogi Swatmarama described hatha yoga as forced yoga. ‘Swatmarama introduces his system as preparatory stage of physical purification that the body practices for higher meditation or Yoga. It is based on asanas and pranayama - breathing techniques.’ As mentioned in Wikipedia, Hatha yoga

Essentially, Hatha Yoga is an intense or advanced form of yoga that pushes your limits.

Bikram Yoga: Why the heated room?
It is claimed that: 

  • The heat enhances your flexibility.
  • The heat also pumps out toxins and waste from the body through the glands.
  • It purifies the circulatory system.

Bikram Yoga: Who is Bikram Choudhury?
Bikram Choudhury spearheaded Bikram yoga and this form of yoga gained popularity in 1970. He won the National India Yoga Championship at the age of 13. But his tryst with yoga began much earlier, when he was just four years old.

Bikram Yoga: Postures in Bikram yoga

There are 26 postures in Bikram yoga that draw reference from animals. For example, Sasangasana translates to rabbit pose. Bikram yoga involves stretching, breathing, twisting, standing and balancing, and each pose isn't simply about comfortable postures - they put you to the test.

Bikram Yoga: Claims of Bikram yoga

Bikram yoga claims to restore health in every muscle and organ of your body. It also claims to improve blood circulation and increases lung capacity. Bikram yoga is promoted as a solution to sports injuries as well. It can also reconstruct or reshape the body - is what the Bikram Yoga pundits say.

Bikram yoga is also known as hot yoga thanks to the heat room that enhances the process.

*Images courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images



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