Bikram yoga, also called hot yoga as it is practiced in temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, was founded by Bikram Choudhary. It consists of 26 postures practiced in a particular order. Often the postures are repeated twice in every session. Every class of Bikram yoga is of a 90 minute duration. One of the most important of the Bikram yoga benefits is weight loss. People practicing Bikram yoga consistently for some time do speak about the weight loss they have achieved with the help of Bikram yoga. However, since it is practiced in temperatures as high as 120 degrees and with humidity at 40%, the question is Bikram yoga safe often arises.
Is Bikram Yoga Healthy?
Often the weight loss during Bikram yoga happens due to sweating in high temperatures. It also helps in detoxifying the body with a sauna like effect. However, according to the health experts, children and people over the age of 60 should refrain from practicing Bikram yoga, as they stand at a higher risk of heat stroke.
Similarly, people suffering from any kind of ailments should consult their health care professional before they start practicing this yoga form. However, people with no health concerns can practice hot yoga, but have to ensure they are well hydrated. They should consume sufficient quantities of water before the hot yoga session, as well as during and after the session.
People often suffer from dehydration and related ailments after yoga classes. Therefore, one must make sure one does consume sufficient liquids throughout the day. In case one feels nauseated, giddy, light headed, sick, etc., during the practice, it is best to stop doing the exercises and rest. If the temperatures are way too high in the yoga room, then it is best to walk out of the practice room and cool off.
When one is practicing Bikram yoga, one will have to ensure that one does get enough electrolytes. If one is low on electrolytes, then it is natural that the person may suffer from cramps during the class. Along with electrolytes, it is also important to consume vitamin C.
The high temperature helps the muscles to loosen up, which is helpful in the practice of yoga. It also helps in reducing stress and tension. The heat along with the different poses helps in better blood circulation, which in turn helps in healing a number of ailments. This is due to the lock gate effect. When one practices certain postures, blood supply to certain body parts may be cut off. When the posture releases, there is a fresh supply of blood gushing to the said part, which helps in the healing process. However, there is a downside to this as well.
In some cases, the person may over stretch in the yoga poses, which in turn can lead to injuries. It is often true of weak but flexible people, who are at added risk of injuring themselves, as opposed to stronger and stiffer people. Therefore, care should be taken when one is doing the different yoga poses to not overstretch the muscles.
One of the most important factors that one must remember when practicing Bikram yoga is not to look at it as a competition. It is important to note that just because a person next to you is able to reach certain stage during the yoga posture, you should not want to repeat the same. It is important to note that everyone has a different type of body and we must respect it.
This brings in the next question, is Bikram yoga good for you if you are pregnant. If a woman has been practicing Bikram yoga way before she got pregnant, then it is said that it is safe to continue to practice Bikram yoga even after she is pregnant. However, it is important to note that when one is practicing Bikram yoga, the core temperature rises up considerably. This can have negative effect on the growing fetus, which is not desirable.
The fetus does not have the mechanism of cooling itself in the womb, this can cause birth defects and injury as well. Also one should not forget that the temperature of the fetus is higher than that of the mother and increasing it further can cause harm the baby.
Although there are a number of calories burned during one Bikram yoga session, one should also consider if Bikram yoga is safe for your current health condition. It is best to consult your health care professional before you start with your practice of Bikram yoga. Last but not the least, do not forget to keep yourself well hydrated all the time. If you feel uneasy during the yoga session, stop doing it and rest.