about language in yoga instructionBy Disele Long

There are many types of yoga practices that you can venture into or try. Most are relatively simple to begin and enjoy the benefits of. However, there are also styles of yoga that may be too challenging, and potentially harmful for beginners to try. Bikram hot yoga is one of those styles.

Founding of Bikram Hot Yoga

Bikram Choudhury was an Olympic champion. In the 1960’s, he won the gold medal for weight lifting. He adapted traditional yoga techniques and incorporated the naturally hot and humid environment of India. He designed Bikram yoga as a form of yoga which increases muscular strength, endurance and weight loss.

Choudhury has gone to great lengths to keep his form of yoga intact and guarded from misinterpretation. To even teach this form of yoga, you must be licensed by Choudhury after attending his Yoga College of India in California. While there may be similar sounding yoga classes throughout the country, in order to legally be considered a real Bikram hot yoga class, these criteria must be met.

How is it Different from Traditional Yoga Practices?

Bikram hot yoga is done in a room heated to 105 degrees. The humidity levels in the room are typically from 40% to 60%. It is the only kind of yoga which utilizes heat as part of the components of the sessions. The heat is essential to making this more of a workout technique rather than a relaxation time. An extreme amount of perspiration is expelled, cleansing the body of toxins. It is important to be properly hydrated before beginning to avoid any dehydration issues. The heat gets the cardiovascular system pumping for an ultimate workout and allows the body to stretch further and hold poses longer, which increase endurance and strength.

The session involves a total of 26 postures, or asanas. These are done in a specific order and repeated again. The poses are each held for roughly 10 to 60 seconds. The session lasts for 90 minutes. The first twelve poses are standing poses. The others are all done lying on the floor and sitting.

The Poses of Bikram Hot Yoga

1. Standing deep breathing pose

2. Half moon pose and hands to feet

3. Awkward pose

4. Eagle pose

5. Standing head to knee pose

6. Standing bow pulling pose

7. Balancing stick pose

8. Standing separate leg stretching pose

9. Triangle pose

10. Standing separate leg head to knee pose

11. Tree pose

12. Toe stand pose

13. Dead body pose

14. Wind removing pose

15. Sit up

16. Cobra pose

17. Locust pose

18. Full locust pose

19. Bow pose

20. Fixed firm pose

21. Half tortoise pose

22. Camel pose

23. Rabbit pose

24. Head to knee pose

25. Spine twisting pose

26. Blowing in Firm pose

Aside from the obvious benefits of Bikram yoga, there are other benefits to doing Bikram hot yoga that may not be seen right away. Choudhury and others who are devoted followers of this type of yoga claim symptoms of various ailments can be alleviated by doing this type of yoga at least ten times a month, if not daily. The symptoms of multiple sclerosis and autoimmune disorders may be helped by doing Bikram yoga. Because of the intense cleansing of toxins and opening of pores, some have found their skin is healthier, brighter and free from issues such as eczema.

While some may feel this hard-core version of yoga loses some of the spirituality and calming effects yoga is meant to enhance, others feel it is the best way to combine the benefits of traditional yoga with a cardio workout.