What is Bikram yoga? Well, it’s a variation of traditional yoga. The difference between regular yoga and Bikram yoga is that you have 26 specific postures and two breathing exercises that you do over and over again. The entire exercise lasts about 90 minutes per session. It is important to mention that Bikram yoga is done in a room that is heated up to 41 degrees Celsius, or 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bikram yoga was created by Bikram Choudhury. He began studying yoga in the late sixties and started teaching it in the early seventies in the USA. Over time, he devised 26 specific postures based on the writings of B. C. Ghosh.
Bikram yoga brings us all the benefits regular yoga brings. Those are stress reduction, improved strength, flexibility, and more. However, Bikram yoga brings additional benefits to the table. Since the heat is turned up in Bikram yoga, your muscles, heart, and lungs can experience an even harder, more intense workout. With the heat comes faster warming up for the muscles, meaning you’ll be able to flex more easily and will be more effective overall. You will also be able to burn calories much faster. Per session, you will burn between 2 to 4 times more calories than during regular yoga. It also builds bone density and because of that, it may possibly help with reducing the risk for osteoporosis. Of course, same as regular yoga, it can reduce stress drastically and also combat depression, as it relaxes you and improves your mood.
Bikram yoga also provides a cardiovascular boost because of the warmer temperature. It also reduces blood glucose levels more efficiently than regular yoga. It actually might be helpful for people with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Warm temperatures improve blood circulation that brings oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to skin cells. This means that it nourishes your skin from the inside. The 26 postures that are strictly followed in Bikram yoga obviously help perfect your posture and balance, as well as help prevent diseases and illnesses. Combine all these benefits and you get healthy aging which is incredibly useful down the line.
How to begin doing Bikram yoga
In order to start doing Bikram yoga, you will need proper attire and equipment. What is also important is, if you’ve never done yoga before, you should maybe try doing regular yoga a couple of times. That is just so your body can get used to what is happening during the session, as Bikram yoga can get more intense than the regular one. Proper clothing should consist of light, flexible, breathable fabrics that can stretch in any direction and can wick away any amount of sweat you might produce. It is not a bad idea to bring a towel with you to put on the yoga mat as the mat can get really slippery, That’s because, during the exercises and the heat, you will sweat a lot and that sweat might drip on the mat itself, making it slippery.
There are also special socks and gloves you can use which are specifically designed for Bikram yoga. They can provide you with an extra grip during these intense sessions. Last, but definitely, most certainly not least, is a water bottle. You have to bring a big, insulated water bottle that you can store cool water in. You will sweat a lot during these workouts and you need to be able to replenish your liquids at any given time.
Dehydration is a major risk during Bikram yoga. That is why it’s an absolute necessity to bring a big, insulated water bottle with you. Some pre-existing medical conditions might cause serious problems during Bikram yoga, therefore it is best to check with your local doctor if it would be okay for you to practice it. If you get a green light, by all means, enjoy an intense workout!