A lot of yoga styles are about comfort. They are about relaxing into movements that require concentration and precision without causing pain or discomfort. Bikram yoga is a little different. With this form of yoga, you get hot, sizzling hot. Doing Bikram yoga is like an Australian summer, it requires that you prepare beforehand for the heat and take precautions. This may sound unpleasant, but the truth is that Bikram yoga can be both beneficial and feel amazing.
Everyone likes to take summer holidays at a beach location. There is nothing quite like being warm and in a bathing suit when everyone at home is complaining about the cold, or even slogging through the snow. We naturally seek out heat and sun and Bikram yoga takes this idea just a little further.
Bikram yoga classes are held in rooms where the temperature has been raised to between 35-42 degrees Celsius, which is about 95-108 degrees Fahrenheit, with the humidity at about 40%. The heat is said to warm your body more quickly, which means that postures are safer because muscles stretch more easily when they are warm. Students also report that they are able to go deeper into postures because of the increased temperature and humidity.
The fact that people sweat a lot in Bikram yoga is not just because of the heat. The moisture in the air, or humidity, is increased for Bikram yoga classes to increase sweating and for other health benefits. Most experts agree that humidity gives protection against colds and viruses as well as other respiratory problems such as asthma. Sweating also encourages detoxification, accelerates cardiovascular functioning, and helps increase calorie burning for weight loss.
Bikram yoga is easy to learn. There are only 26 postures plus two breathing exercises, and the focus is on working the muscles smoothly and safely. There should be the ache of fatigued muscles but no sharp pain throughout the session, and if you do feel pain it means you have gone too far.
One of the most essential elements to Bikram yoga is your water intake. You will be sweating a lot through the session, and that’s a good thing, so you must keep your water intake up. Sip, but don’t swallow copious amounts of water as it might make you sick and sit down if you feel lightheaded at any time. Make sure you also have a steady intake of water before and after your class.
The extreme heat in Bikram yoga studios can also make people feel dizzy. If this happens, sit down and breathe through your mouth and the dizziness should ease. It’s also strongly recommended that you arrive at your class half an hour before it starts so you can sit and get used to the heat.
Bikram yoga is an increasingly popular type of yoga both for its relative simplicity and for the health benefits. Although the heat might seem intimidating, the body has systems to adapt to it, and it can feel really good to be in a warm environment. Give this type of yoga a try and you may discover further depths to your practice that you never imagined.