Ninety minutes, 105-degree warmth, 40 % humidity, and the identical 26 postures each class: It might not sound like one thing you’d voluntarily join, however Bikram Yoga devotees will inform you that this routine is the perfect factor they’ll do for each their thoughts and their physique. Bikram is a kind of yoga based by teacher Bikram Choudhury within the Seventies, now practiced at a whole lot of studios round the US and the world. What units it other than different types of yoga are its two very particular tenants — a scorching, humid studio (also known as "the torture chamber") and its never-changing sequence of poses.
In keeping with Bikram’s Yoga School of India, the apply’s official headquarters situated in Los Angeles, Bikram’s 26 postures "systematically work each a part of the physique, to offer all the inner organs, all of the veins, all of the ligaments, and all of the muscle tissues all the things they should preserve optimum well being and most perform." [Source: Bikram Yoga] Doing the sequence in a heated room retains muscle tissues free and versatile, and encourages college students to sweat out impurities throughout class. (Bikram is often known as "scorching yoga," however not all scorching yoga courses observe the Bikram sequence or are taught by licensed Bikram instructors.)
Many Bikram lecturers and college students will attest to the apply’s potential to construct energy, alleviate continual ache or accidents, and enhance each bodily and psychological well being. However additionally it is an intense, and considerably controversial, methodology: Dizziness and weak point throughout or after class will not be unusual, and docs could advise in opposition to Bikram for individuals who have coronary heart illness or different current well being circumstances, or ladies who’re pregnant. [Source: Laskowski] Whether or not you are eager about attempting Bikram for the primary time otherwise you already attend class usually, it is essential to concentrate on each the advantages and the dangers.
What to Count on in a Bikram Class
Like most fashionable yoga types practiced immediately, Bikram stems from Hatha yoga — an umbrella time period that merely means the bodily apply of doing poses, or asanas. Not like different Hatha derivatives (like Vinyasa), nonetheless, each Bikram class follows the identical sequence of 26 postures, designed to assist oxygen stream to each a part of the physique and to stretch muscle tissues and ligaments in a scientific approach.
"It may be very addictive, since you’re doing the identical factor each time and you may get superb on the postures; you all the time know what to anticipate," says Sophie Herbert, a yoga teacher primarily based in Brooklyn, New York. "Individuals who get into it are inclined to do it day by day for every week or two weeks at a time, so you may see the development daily." In actual fact, Bikram’s Yoga School of India recommends that newcomers begin a apply by taking class day by day for 2 months straight.
It’s also really helpful that you do not eat for 2 to a few hours earlier than a Bikram yoga class and that you simply drink loads of water (and reduce on caffeinated drinks and processed meals) for a number of days beforehand. You’ll sweat — quite a bit — so you need to put on garments that allow you to keep cool and transfer freely (no dishevelled t-shirts), and convey a towel to lie on prime of your yoga mat.
In every 90-minute Bikram class, wherever you’re on the earth, your teacher will lead you thru the next collection of poses.
Sanskrit Identify: English Translation
Pranayama: Standing Deep Respiratory
Ardha-Chandrasana: Half Moon Pose
Utkatasana: Awkward Pose
Garurasana: Eagle Pose
Dandayamana-Janushirasana: Standing Head to Knee
Dandayamana-Dhanurasana: Standing Bow Pose
Tuladandasana: Balancing Stick
Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasana: Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose
Trikanasana: Triangle Pose
Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana: Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose
Tadasana: Tree Pose
Padangustasana: Toe Stand
Savasana: Lifeless Physique Pose
Pavanamuktasana: Wind-Eradicating Pose
Pada-Hasthasana: Sit Up
Bhujangasana: Cobra Pose
Salabhasana: Locust Pose
Poorna-Salabhasana: Full Locust Pose
Dhanurasana: Bow Pose
Supta-Vajrasana: Mounted Agency Pose
Ardha-Kurmasana: Half Tortoise Pose
Ustrasana: Camel Pose
Sasangasana: Rabbit Pose
Janushirasana and Paschimotthanasana: Head to Knee Pose and Stretching Pose
Ardha-Matsyendrasana: Backbone-Twisting Pose
Kapalbhati in Vajrasana: Blowing in Agency Pose
[Source: Bikram Yoga]
Bikram's Advantages, Dangers, and Controversies
When practiced usually, there’s proof that Bikram yoga can do a physique good. A 2013 examine from Colorado State College researchers discovered that adults who participated in three Bikram periods every week for eight weeks confirmed elevated energy, improved flexibility and barely decreased physique fats in comparison with a management group. (They didn’t, nonetheless, present any change in cardiovascular or cardio health.) [Source: Tracy] And in a 2008 examine, additionally from Colorado State, a daily Bikram apply was related to improved steadiness, leg energy and muscle management, as nicely. [Source: Hart]
Choudhury claims that being in a heated room permits for extra flexibility and looser muscle tissues — however this may have dangers in addition to advantages, says Herbert. "It actually does can help you stretch additional than you’ll have the ability to in a colder room, however for somebody who’s already hyperflexible, that would really be detrimental. For those who’re not cautious, you may hyperextend and injure your self."
The warmth brings different potential risks with it as nicely, particularly for individuals who could also be dehydrated or who’ve underlying well being circumstances. For those who really feel dizzy, lightheaded or sick to your abdomen throughout class, cease and take a break. Along with the chance of heatstroke or one other heat-related sickness, you are additionally extra prone to injure your self by slipping and falling in case you really feel this manner. [Sources: Aldonas, Martin] And here is one thing it’s possible you’ll not have considered: Not consuming sufficient water earlier than or after class could cause apparent issues — however so can consuming an excessive amount of. In 2012, the British Medical Journal reported on a girl who drank 3.5 liters of water after a Bikram class and suffered breathlessness, nausea and abdomen cramps — and finally, seizures — associated to hyponatremia, a harmful deficiency of sodium and electrolytes associated to profuse sweating and consuming an excessive amount of water. [Source: Reynolds]
Nonetheless unsure if Bikram is for you? "So long as you are conscious of the precautions concerning the warmth and you have no medical causes to not, you need to go forward and check out it," says Herbert. "Some folks will completely find it irresistible, and for others, it isn’t for them. However it’s undoubtedly an fascinating expertise, both approach."