Yoga, for years together, has been practiced as the way of life, be it hot yoga or regular yoga. But these days, regular yoga seems to have taken a back seat and in its place hot yoga is in vogue. One the forms of hot yoga is Bikram yoga. It was initiated by Bikram Choudhury, the basis of which were the traditional techniques of regular yoga. The popularity of this form of hot yoga began in the early 1970s. This form of yoga includes 26 yoga postures and 2 breathing exercises. It is ideally practiced in 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% humidity, and considered as the most effective form of hot yoga. The popularity of this hot yoga grew to the extent that celebrities like Lady Gaga, Venus and Serena Williams, Elton Brand and so on were also reported of practicing Bikram yoga. What follows next is a detailed discussion about the disfavors and benefits of this yoga.
Since, Bikram yoga is practiced in 105 degrees Fahrenheit, it usually heats up the body, and a warm body increases flexibility. According to Bikram Choudhury, a flexible body can be molded in any way you want. Moreover, the 26 postures of this form of yoga strengthens the spine, stretches muscles and improves posture, thus increasing flexibility.
Improves Blood Circulation and Releases Toxins
Bikram yoga works on two dynamics, one is called the extension and the other is called compression. While performing various asanas, the practitioner compresses various parts of the body, temporarily cutting off blood circulation. This activity causes the heart to pump more blood to make up for the shortage. Once you are out of the yoga posture, new oxygenated blood is restored in parts of the body that were compressed during the process. The influx of fresh blood is known to improve blood circulation and release various infections, bacteria and toxins from the body.
Tones Your Body
The heated studios and the effective 26 asanas no doubt would help you reduce weight, but the best thing about this activity is it tones your muscles and various parts of the body. This eliminates the sagging effect and also helps in dispersing the stored fat, to get you out of the vicious circle of fats, therefore has a great body toning effect.
Induces Deeper and Peaceful Sleep
The two breathing exercises included in the series of other exercises, induces better sleep than normal. The breathing activity helps you break from the hectic lifestyle and helps you concentrate on the breathing process which in turn, relaxes your mind, releases stress, and allows you to relax for a deeper and more peaceful sleep.
Improves Entire Health
Bikram yoga not only helps relieve stress or strengthen joints and muscles, but also improves digestion and metabolism, which ultimately boosts the immune system. Therefore, it helps promote an overall feeling of peace and well-being.
The heat and humidity of Bikram yoga will make you sweat, plus the physical strain your body is put through for the whole 90 minutes, will drain all the water out of your body. If you do not restore the lost water, you might put yourself at risk for dehydration. Hence, keep a bottle close by and keep sipping little water to replenish the water levels in the water.
While practicing the Bikram yoga poses, you usually have to hold the yoga poses for about 30 seconds or so. This is when you push your body too hard or may also have to overexert your body, which would lead to heatstroke, dizziness, nausea, fainting and other side effects.
Quick Weight Loss
Although the amount of calories burnt per session vary from person to person, on an average it ranges between 600 to 1300 depending upon the intensity of the workout. Losing weight in a steady fashion is healthy and sustainable. Losing weight too fast is unhealthy, which would lead to severe weakness and also a quick weight gain the moment you lose touch with Bikram yoga.
There are many medical practitioners who consider Bikram yoga unsafe while many others swear by it. Moreover, there is also a different school of thought, which says Bikram yoga does not incorporate the spiritual aspect of yoga and is more of a workout than practicing mind-body oneness.
Bikram yoga can get monotonous with only 26 asanas. Moreover, there are a few postures that require extreme bending, squatting and stretching which might result in torn muscles or other pains and injuries.
Fortunately, the above cons can be eliminated easily by following correct instructions and by pushing yourself only to a point, where you are comfortable, in that particular asana. Also before practicing Bikram yoga make sure you are tolerant to the heated studio and always look for a certified instructor.