What is Bikram yoga?
Bikram yoga is a type of hatha yoga that focuses on the same 26 poses every time. The practice is conducted in studios heated to about 105 degrees Fahrenheit with about 40% humidity.
The heat allows one to perspire profusely, which some say detoxifies the body by eliminating toxins through sweat. The heated environment can also help stretch muscles more deeply and may be easier on your joints.
The 26 poses are held for a varying length of time depending upon your level of experience. Beginners can expect to hold each pose for a minute or two, while a more experienced yoga practitioner may be able to hold each pose for five minutes.
What are the benefits of Bikram yoga?
Bikram yoga has been practiced by many people for a variety of reasons, including:
Weight loss/weight management
Increased energy and alertness
Enhanced cardiovascular function
Decreased stress and anxiety
Prevention or control of certain diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, etc.
Improving overall health and well-being
Bikram yoga is also promoted for its spiritual benefits, such as providing a quiet time to relax and get in touch with yourself. Some people have been able to develop a deeper self-awareness from doing Bikram yoga regularly.
In addition, this style of yoga will help you build strength and endurance – something that’s particularly helpful if you have a very physically demanding job.
Who can do Bikram yoga?
Anyone who enjoys yoga and is in good health can practice Bikram without a problem. However, some people should not attempt to do Bikram yoga:
People with high blood pressure
People with glaucoma
People with a detached retina
Women who are pregnant, or suspect they may be pregnant, should consult a physician before practicing yoga. Bikram yoga has been associated with the early onset of menstruation, and should therefore not be practiced by women who have a history of abnormal menstrual cycles.
People with osteoporosis should avoid doing postures that involve extreme bending or stretching. If you have any medical condition, it is best to consult your physician before beginning a Bikram yoga practice.
Bikram yoga has been associated with very serious injuries:
Including heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Anyone who experiences dizziness, nausea, lightheadedness, or other symptoms of heat illness should stop practicing immediately and sit quietly in the “Bikram squat” position with their head between their knees until symptoms subside.
As with any type of exercise, you should consult your physician before beginning a Bikram yoga practice if you have any doubts about whether it is safe for you.
Bikram yoga has been associated with several deaths due to cardiac complications, heat illness, and other causes. According to the book “Hot Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards,” there have been 18 reported deaths between 2005 and February 2010 that may be related to Bikram yoga.