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The Basics Of Bikram Yoga

When yoga first appeared in the west, it was adopted tentatively. Philosophy was its foundation and those in the west approached it with their guard raised. Since then, yoga has attracted millions of enthusiasts in the west primarily for the physical benefits it offers. This was a perfect setting for the invention of Bikram yoga (or Hot yoga). This form of yoga focuses on developing and cleansing the body by practicing in environments with high temperatures. Below, you'll discover more about Bikram yoga, including the benefits it offers, tips for getting the most out of it and the controversy that surrounds its creator.

What Is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram yoga was created by a man named Bikram Choudhury. It is performed in temperatures as high as 105 degrees. The theory behind practicing in such heat is to encourage the body to sweat and thereby eliminate harmful toxins. The high temperature also seeks to make the body more flexible, allowing poses that may otherwise be impossible. Bikram yoga is comprised of 26 different poses. Each pose is typically performed twice during a practice session.

Benefits Of Bikram/Hot Yoga

The high temperature in which you practice Bikram yoga allows your body to gain more flexibility quickly. This added flexibility allows you to achieve difficult poses safely. If your body is not limber, challenging poses can cause injury. The intense heat during Bikram yoga encourages flexibility and prevents injury from occurring.

Bikram yoga is designed to stretch your muscles and tendons in a particular order. During the 26 poses, your body goes through this process to increase blood circulation, minimize stress and cleanse itself of toxins. According to Choudhury, your muscles are stretched at a "cellular, biochemical level" to promote the mobility of your joints as well as strength and range of motion.

Tips To Get The Most From Bikram Yoga

Because you'll likely be sweating during Bikram yoga, use your own mat and towel for hygiene purposes. Also, try to wear clothes made from organic cotton. This type of material will absorb sweat more effectively than other clothes, allowing you to focus and concentrate on your poses.

Be sure to stay hydrated. Practicing yoga in 105 degrees can dehydrate you if you're not drinking enough water. Drink 2 of glasses of water before your session. Then, drink 2 more glasses after your session. Because of the intense heat and strenuous activity, avoid eating a couple of hours before practicing Bikram yoga.

Controversy Behind Bikram/Hot Yoga

Bikram Choudhury has sparked controversy by aggressively pursuing copyrights for the series of asanas that his style of yoga uses. Because many yoga enthusiasts consider these asanas part of a philosophy and practice that can be traced back thousands of years, such legal pursuits are disturbing to them. So, while Choudhury's form of yoga has attracted fans, his legal actions have created a network of detractors.

Is Hot Yoga Right For You?

Bikram yoga is one of the most intense styles of yoga practiced in the west. It focuses primarily on the physical benefits derived from practicing challenging poses in extreme heat. If you want to get involved with yoga in order to lose weight, tone your body and maintain your overall health, Bikram yoga may be a great solution. However, if you're interested in the philosophy behind yoga (including meditation), Bikram may not suit your needs. The key lies in determining what you want to achieve from yoga. For the right person, Bikram yoga offers benefits unavailable through most other styles.