Yoga is practiced all around the world, and with many different types of yoga available, more and more people are beginning to practice this exercise technique which benefits the whole body. Because yoga relaxes an individual who practices it, this discipline is widely popular between those who wish to start an activity in order to regain the inner peace and strength.
One of the most popular yoga techniques, which has been developed in the late 20th century, is Bikram Yoga. This type of Yoga represents a system of Yoga developed by Bikram Choudhury, where he combined and altered traditional hatha yoga techniques. Typical for Bikram yoga is that all the classes are held for 90 minutes and consist of the same sequence which includes 26 postures with additional two breathing exercises. As for the conditions under which this type of yoga is practiced, a perfect temperature for this technique is 40 °C with fixed humidity of 40%.
All Bikram yoga classes around the world are official and lead by the certified Bikram teacher who have undergone a training endorsed by Bikram, which lasts for nine weeks. In addition to this yoga technique, Bikram yoga teachers are also taught to have a standardized speech during their class, but are also encouraged to evolve their teaching skills, way of communication and approach to their students as their teaching experience progresses. Therefore, Bikram yoga may differ between teachers due to the distinct teaching styles and varying deliveries.
When compared to other yoga techniques, such as Hatha Yoga from which Bikram Yoga developed, they has some distinctive differences. Hatha form is considered to be gentle, unlike Bikram Yoga where sessions are completely strenuous. Hatha can be practiced by everyone, while Bikram Yoga is not recommeded for elderly people and those who suffer from heat stroke and dehydratation.
If you wish to lose some weight, then Bikram Yoga is preferrable when compared to Hatha form. Bikram poses are more dedicated to weight loss effect, while Hatha form is designed for body and mind relaxation. Because of its nature, Bikram Yoga requires minimal clothing, while on the other hand, Hatha Yoga doesn’t have such requirements.
The influence of additional heat as a benefitial element in Bikram Yoga is questionable. Certain studies have found that yoga classes which include additional heat are not very much different when compared to regular yoga classes and that they don’t make any significant difference.
Yet, another study which involved Bikram Yoga practicing for three times per week in the eight week period, stated that flexibility and deadlift strenght improved, with participants losing a small body fat amount. As for the cardiovascular measures, there were no stated improvemets.
As for the other health benefits of Bikram Yoga, the most noticeable are increased strength, flexibility, mental clarity, improved posture, concentration and blood pressure. It also benefits the loss of toxic substances via sweat and the cleanse of arteries and veins.
Unlike other yoga techniques, Bikram Yoga has intense sessions which, in addition to many health benefits which other yoga techniques bring, benefits the weight loss. As stated, Bikram Yoga has 26 poses and two breathing sequences and it is carried out in humid and hot rooms, which causes sweating and excessive physical exertion. Therefore, this type of yoga prractice may not be recommended for those who prefer light exercises and relaxation and for elderly people.
Because of the nature of the postures, Bikram Yoga requires from a practitioner to wear minimal clothes. Because of its general approach, this tehcnique is physically demanding and improves the inner body functions, relieves the present pain and extensively helps in the weight loss.
The 26 Asanas
The 26 Asanas or 26 postures, are the main feature of Bikram Yoga classes as these are repeated from class to class. Therefore, the practitioners learn these positions in the begining of the yoga class, with the sequence being taught by the certified Bikram Yoga teachers.
- Standing Deep Breathing or Pranayama is a position which prevent respiratory problems like shortness of breath, bronchitis and emphysema. A person stands in normal position which hands placed under a chin.
- Half Moon Pose or Ardha-Chandrasana strengthens each muscle in body’s core, targeting specially abdomen, with flexing and strenthening other muscles. From a normal position, a person bends on the side with hands positioned above the head.
- Awkward Pose or Utkatasana tones and shapes your legs and heals cold feet, with additional benefit to arhritis and rheumatism. It is similar to a position for squat exercise, except the feet are bent forward.
- Eagle Pose or Garurasana is the only position which opens fourteen largest joints in our skeletal system. It benefits the reproductive system, sex organs, kidneys and increases sexual vitality.
- Standing Head to Knee or Dandayamana-Janushirasana improves the sciatic nerve flexibility and the strength of leg muscles and hamstrings. As for the inner organs, this posture flushes out and squeezes the internal abdominal organs.
- Standing Bow Pose or Dandayamana-Dhanurasana is a position which moves the blood flow from one to another part of the body. It increases the rib cage elasticity and improves the balance of the body.
- Balancing Stick or Tuladandasana strengthens the heart muscle and clears out the artheries and veins of the body by transporting the blood from one part to another. It also benefits the power of concentration.
- Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose or Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasana strenghtens and stretches the sciatic nerves, including the leg tendons. It additionally massages the internal organs, giving the needed flexibility.
- Triangle Pose or Trikanasana improves each muscle, tendon, joint, bone and internal organs, while revitalizing veins, tissues and nerves. It also benefits lungs and the heart, making them to adjust their combined work.
- Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose or Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana trims the waistline, buttocks, thigs and abdomend. It compresses the thyroidea, helping to regulate the immune system and metabolism.
- Tree Pose or Tadasana improves the balance and posture of knees and ankles, including hip joints. It prevents hernia, by stretching internal oblique muscles.
- Toe Stand or Padangustasana strengthens knees and it opens the hip and knee joints, with additional benefit to hemorrhoid problems.
- Dead Body Pose or Savasana facilitates blood flow and returns the circulation to normal afterwards. It creates the internal cleansing and with this pose, we begin to learn more about relaxation.
- Wind-Removing Pose or Pavanamuktasana massages and compresses the colon. It messages and compresses the entire digestive tract. Additionally it strengthens arms, prevents flatulence and improves flexibility.
- Sit Up or Pada-Hasthasana stretches spine and similar to Half Moon pose, increases flexibility. It works ligaments, tendons and muscles of the legs, improving the circulation.
- Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana strengthens the spine, relieves pain and improves appetite, blood pressure and digestion. It also benefits the function of spleen and liver.
- Locust Pose or Salabhasana relieves the elbows and strengthens the arms and spine. It can also benefit the varicose veins in legs.
- Full Locust Pose or Poorna-Salabhasana is good for kyphosis, spondylosis, slipped discs and scoliosis. It opens the rib cage and increases elasticity. It also firms upper arms, thighs, arms and abdomen.
- Bow Pose or Dhanurasana opens the rib cage and expands the lungs. It revitalizes spine and increases body circulation. It also aids digestion, diabetes and bronchitis.
- Fixed Firm Pose or Supta-Vajrasana improves the hips, knees and joints flexibility and increases circluation to the lower part of the body. It also helps in prevention of hernias.
- Half Tortoise Pose or Ardha-Kurmasana helps our life longevity. It is great for shoulders and neck and increases the brain blood flow which benefits concentration and memory.
- Camel Pose or Ustrasana compresses the spine to the maximum and stimlates nerves. It improves flexibility and stretches abdominal organs.
- Rabbit Pose or Sasangasana extenses spine and increses elasticity and mobility. It also relieves tension in back, shoulders and neck.
- Head to Knee Pose and Stretching Pose or Janushirasana and Paschimotthanasana benefits lymphatic and immune system. It also improves digestiona and is great for arthirtis and allergies.
- Spine-Twisting Pose or Ardha-Matsyendrasana twists the spine and increases the circulation. It relieves the back pain and calms the nervous system.
- Blowing in Firm Pose or Kapalbhati in Vajrasana improves circulation and digestion. It strengthens abdominal organs and increases their circulation. It also simulates the digestive system.