Bikram Yoga is one of the most effective yogas to lose weight. This system of yoga, synthesized from Hatha Yoga, was founded by Bikram Chowdhary during the early 1970s.
Bikram yoga is a sequence of 26 yoga postures and 2 breathing exercises done within 90 minutes in a room with 105 degrees F temperature and 40% humidity. According to proponents of Bikram yoga, these postures systematically work on every part of the body, such as the muscles, tissues, ligaments and organs. This yoga helps to maintain optimum well-being and maximum function of the body. If you are thinking of opting for Bikram yoga as your new workout choice, then you have come to the right place. As a beginner, you should be aware of the benefits, myths and the disadvantages of this form of yoga. So, read on to know more about Bikram yoga.
How Does Bikram Yoga Work?
Bikram yoga increases the heart rate, improves metabolism, increases blood circulation rate and the blood flow in the body. This results in relaxed muscles that give deeper and more effective stretch, improved lymphatic system, increased weight loss and elimination of toxins. During a Bikram yoga session, one can burn 500-1000 calories, depending on ones metabolic rate. It builds the muscles and strengthens them. It improves your immune system. The endorphin rush makes relaxed and relieves you of all the stress and anxiety.
1. The Practice:
Every Bikram yoga class will have the same 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises that you will do for 90 minutes. These postures are selected and set into a sequence to give the maximum benefits to the practitioner. The important thing in Bikram yoga is that like Yin yoga, you have to hold the poses for a while. This, combined with the heated atmosphere, helps in strengthening you inside-out and makes you sweat like a fiend.
2. Build up to Bikram Yoga:
Okay, this might be a disappointment for you if you are a complete beginner to yoga as a whole. Bikram yoga is not for complete beginners. You need to build yourself for it. Though the 26 postures included in a Bikram session are not very advanced moves, but still there are several reasons to first acquaint your body with the basic yoga and then delve into hot yoga.
One reason for that would be that the teachers of Bikram yoga usually do not demonstrate the poses. These teachers are trained especially to follow a dialogue and talk to you through the flow as moving meditation. The other reason is that during Bikram yoga, because of the heat, you are able to stretch more than you might be able to do normally. Now, if you are not familiar with the poses, do not know the correct postures or do not know how much your body is capable of at the moment, you’ll most likely injure yourself. So it is best to practice yoga for a while before trying Bikram yoga.
3. Listen To Your Body:
Yes! Listen to your body! Just tell your mind to shut up and listen to your body! During Bikram yoga, due to the heat your muscles become loose, blood flows more freely and more oxygen reaches throughout your body. This helps you in stretching more than you would be able to do normally. But the problem is that it is easy to overestimate your body’s capabilities and pull a muscle or hurt a joint. So, listen to your body and do not overexert yourself.
4. Gear Up Properly:
Before doing any exercise, it is important to dress accordingly. Besides the fact that you would want to look hot even while you are sweating it off, your workout clothes should facilitate your workout, not hamper it. In Bikram yoga, you sweat like as if there is no tomorrow. So, try to wear clothing that breathes and is moisture-wicking. A sports bra and some shorts would work nicely. Do not wear cotton or such fabrics that hold the sweat in.
5. Hydrate Yourself:
During practicing Bikram yoga, you sweat heavily and lose a large amount of body water, which can lead to dehydration, nausea and dizziness. It is important to stay hydrated at all times. So, drink more water on the days you do Bikram yoga than you usually do.
6. Fuel Your Body:
It is important to eat 2 hours before practicing Bikram yoga. The same rule as hydration applies here too. Your body should have enough energy to do the intensive yoga that you are going to do. But at the same time, it should not be so full that you are not able to do your yoga comfortably and properly. So, eat at least 2 hours before your yoga session and keep it light. It is ideal to eat fruits and nuts as they are fulfilling meals, but not heavy on the body.
7. Be Regular:
You won’t lose weight by doing a Bikram session once in a while. You need to do Bikram yoga at least 3 times a week to lose weight (mark the ‘at least’). The first session of this hot yoga is often uncomfortable as it takes your body time to get used to the heat and intensity. But even if your mind tells you not to, do go for the next session. It’ll be much better, trust me.
Word Of Caution:
Before practicing Bikram yoga, you need to follow certain cautions and they are:
- Choose a good, certified Bikram yoga studio. It is very important not to go to just any studio that offers Bikram yoga. Check and research. Try to find a studio that has proper room and anti-bacteria carpets. After all, you won’t want to get sick after doing yoga, right? That just doesn’t sit well. Also the carpeting should be comfortable enough not to hurt your joints. Check that the studio maintains the right temperature and atmosphere.
- Hydration and fueling your body are important to avoid discomfort, nausea, muscle cramping and dehydration. Do not eat anything for two hours as it can result in nausea and dizziness.
- Pregnant women, people with high blood pressure and respiratory issues should not do this form of yoga.
- Do not wipe off the sweat during the session. I know it is irritating, but that sweat helps in maintaining your normal body temperature. Let it stay there.
Here is your bonus point to motivate you to try Bikram yoga – it gives you a pinker and more beautiful skin. People all over the world describe it as the ‘Bikram Glow’, and brighter, whiter eyes. Go and burn it girl!
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