Bikram Yoga: What is it, and why should you try it this year?
If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen this past week has been super hectic for me! I’ve been stressed, tired and felt like I’ve had no time for SLA. I’m so so glad it’s Friday! Hellooooo weekend!
One massive mood booster for me this week was when I received an email from the lovely Amy Mia Goldsmith, from Melbourne in Australia. She asked whether or not I was open to giving a couple of her blog pieces a home on SLA – I was over the moon!
A biology graduate from Melbourne and yoga enthusiast, Amy is also a mum with a passion for healthy living. She has a degree in nutrition, and her goal is to teach people to live a healthy, happy life. She loves to write and is a contributor to several lifestyle blogs (including mine now, eeek!).
I must admit that until I’ve always struggled with two things: flexibility and cardio. I’m getting a lot better with cardio now, so the next step for me would be to take on yoga! After reading Amy’s post, I’m now determined to try Bikram yoga, and plan on trying it for the first time this weekend!
I think you’ll all find this post super helpful if you’ve been thinking about trying yoga and want to know more about the health benefits.
Popularized somewhere in the early 70s, Bikram Yoga or sometimes referred to as Hot Yoga, represents a type of traditional hatha yoga, with only one minor difference – this type of yoga is practiced in a room heated to 40°C with a humidity of 40%. Some of the major health benefits include improved flexibility and deadlift strength and release of toxins from the body. Other than these, this type of yoga can greatly benefit you in other spheres of life as well, and this is why you should try it this year:
Perhaps the main focus of yoga in general is to improve one’s flexibility. When it comes to hot yoga, this system of exercising allows you to push your limits far beyond your normal capacities. This is because the hot temperatures allow your body to warm up nice and quickly, which gives you the opportunity to stretch your body muscles more and allow you to go much deeper when practicing certain postures in comparison to other yoga routines. Also, practicing Bikram yoga regularly will improve your endurance, so it will be much easier to push your limits even further. It is important to find suitable equipment when indulging in these types of exercising, something like Ryderwear sportswear, which allows you to feel comfortable and move freely while working out.
Certain positions which are typical for hot yoga allow you to burn as many calories as you would burn when indulging in some high-impact exercising like running. There are some exercises that double your heart rate and also stretch your heart muscles, increasing the heart rate until you release the posture. Also, the additional heat in the room stimulates your metabolism so you are burning more calories than usual. This means that this type of yoga can certainly be compared to a cardiovascular workout.
Not only does hot yoga count as a physical workout, it also doubles as a mental exercise as well. It is because the standard Bikram yoga class consist of the same 26 postures and about two breathing exercises. This means that there is a clear consistency when it comes to exercising, which allows your brain to focus more than before. Being able to fixate your mind on a certain position, gives you more motivation and determination to push yourself and test your limits, resulting in outstanding outcomes.
Most doctors, professional trainers and nutritionists recommend indulging in certain physical activity in correlation with a balanced diet in order to cleanse your body. This is because exercising allows you to sweat out all the harmful toxins that have piled up in your body. In hot yoga, the room temperature increases the ability to detox your muscles, glands and organs. What is important to keep in mind is not to wipe away your sweat, as it helps your body maintain normal body temperature. This is especially important in Bikram Yoga, as the temperature changes are quite drastic.
In the end, the true purpose of yoga is healing both the body and the mind. Indulging in hot yoga for about 3 times a week can greatly help you heal some previous injuries, back pains, posture problems, but it can also reduce symptoms of diabetes, asthma, obesity and high blood pressure. Another great benefit of yoga is that it relaxes the mind and serves as a great tool against depression, anxiety and similar mental and emotional conditions.
Because of its great benefits, Bikram Yoga is practiced all around the world by people who wish to maintain a healthier lifestyle, improve their physical abilities and become more relaxed and serene. Of course, this type of yoga carries some risks with it, because of the high temperatures and it is important to always be sure of your limitations and not push yourself beyond your abilities.