Bikram yoga is a challenging form of yoga that requires a certain level of flexibility, strength and dedication from practitioners. With 26 postures, this system of yoga designed by Bikram Choudhury goes well beyond standard hatha yoga. For many practitioners, the challenge of mastering all the postures is part of the beauty of this form of yoga. While the benefits of Bikram yoga are undeniable, it is important to understand all aspects before getting started.
What is Bikram Yoga?
Bikram yoga is a specialized system of yoga consisting of 26 postures, all of which are performed in a heated room. During a class, practitioners work through two sets of each posture in a room typically heated to 105°F (40.6°C). Each class runs for 90 minutes and is created with a specific focus on stretching and muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance.
What are the Benefits of Bikram Yoga?
By forcing the muscles to stretch further than in hatha yoga, Bikram yoga can improve flexibility and help with any areas where muscles may be tight. Through the sustained activity, practitioners can also expect to increase their strength, balance and endurance. During a class, a person’s body temperature can increase so that they are sweating during the postures, a reaction meant to increase detoxification and help rid the body of toxins.
What to Expect During a Bikram Yoga Class
The two sets of 26 postures are repeated during each class and can take 90 minutes to complete. During a class, instructors will encourage practitioners to stay with postures and to push themselves to their full potential, while respecting their individual limitations. Classes will generally begin with breathing exercises, before launching into the postures.
What Level of Commitment Does Bikram Yoga Require?
If you choose to pursue Bikram yoga, expect to experience the challenging postures within the heat. The sustained nature of this style of yoga requires dedication to reap the full benefits. It is important to stay hydrated during practice and remember to move out of postures if feeling dizzy, lightheaded or dizzy.
What About Modifications?
Many instructors offer modifications in Bikram yoga classes, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Some postures make class challenging because they require even more strength or flexibility. When working with tensions, it is important to move out of the postures if feeling any pain. For those postures that can’t be adapted, it is sometimes best to move onto the next pose and come back to it another time.
Bikram yoga is an intense style of yoga that requires practitioners to work through 26 postures in a heated environment. It can provide practitioners with a focused class that works on strength, flexibility and balance. Before getting started, it is important to stay hydrated and respectful of individual limitations. With modifications, postures can be adjusted to individual abilities so that everyone can reap the rewards of this hard-working style of yoga.