One of the more interesting aspects of Bikram yoga, a branch of Hatha yoga that was developed by Bikram Choudhury, is its focus on heat as a medium for purifying the body. This is partly because it is considered that warm muscles are suppler, and so more easily shaped when at pose, but also because of the purifying benefits. The 26 poses of Bikram work each part of the body – from the muscles and ligaments, to the internal organs, and aim to generate heat. This heat is thought to cleanse the muscles of impurities, and so aid overall nourishment.
Bikram yoga postures are ideal for maximizing the flow of oxygenated blood to all parts of the body. This helps bring about a daily rejuvenation that enhances well-being, improves muscle tone and keeps weight to its ideal. For beginners, Bikram yoga poses start with simpler asanas to stretch the ligaments, and warm the muscles – all performed in a specified and optimal order. Bikram yoga studios can only be called as such when their classes are taught by certified Bikram teachers – this has helped maintained the purity of this yoga school.
Bikram yoga benefits, for those who adhere properly to the taught forms, are many. For a start, energy levels are raised, balance is intensified, and circulation improved. This produces better focus, coordination and discipline, in many other sports activities, thereby reducing the risk of injury. Bikram yoga also makes the spine much stronger and more flexible, and keeps the body’s whole system in better balance. This means that all systems work together in harmony. The skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, respiratory and circulatory systems all balance and reinforce one another. Many also believe that the heat aids an increase to the metabolic rate, so burning calories, and in flushing toxic impurities from the system.
In order to get the most benefit from your first classes, ensure you are properly hydrated – drink a little water before the class, have a bottle on hand during the class and make sure to drink a lot after. This is important in Bikram yoga, because of its focus on heat. If followed, effects such as dizziness and nausea will be lessened. This branch of yoga can be taken up anyone, no matter the age or general level of fitness – all that is required is determination and an open mind.