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All you wanted to know about Bikram Yoga and Hot Yoga

The origin of yoga dates back to the time of Upanishads which were written between 1000-5000 BC. Yoga is not just meant for its physical exercise benefits, but this ancient discipline is much more encompassing. Yoga techniques have been practiced since time immemorial. Since then many people have also made variations to the traditional yoga techniques.

Bikram yoga made its appearance in the early 1970s. This system of yoga was synthesized from the traditional yoga techniques by Bikram Choudhury. This system of yoga runs for approximately 90 minutes and includes 26 different postures, along with 2 breathing exercises. Both of the postures and breathing exercises are done twice in a period of one and a half hour (90 minutes).

The environment of the room for practicing this kind of yoga should be ideally quite warm, with temperatures set to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity level of 40%. Because of high temperature setting, Bikram Yoga has also become known as hot yoga.

About Bikram Choudhury

As I have mentioned earlier, Bikram Choudhury is the founder of hot yoga. He was born in Calcutta, India in 1946. He founded the “Yoga college of India” in United States in Beverly Hills in 1974 at the age of 28.


The aim of Bikram Yoga is towards the overall well-being and health. The heated room facilitates for deeper stretches and the prevention of any injury, at the same time, it reduces stress and tension, claims the founder Bikram Choudhury. He asserts that this yoga system helps to stimulate and restore a practitioner’s health to every single muscle, organ and joint of the body.

Choudhury continues that most of the people only use 50% of the capacity of the lungs; thus lungs need to be stretched so that they can hold more oxygen. He states that by practicing breathing exercises, an individual can eventually succeed in enhancing oxygen absorption and conversion. Consequently they are also able to improve blood circulation.

What exactly in this yoga system results in the improvement of blood circulation? Bikram Choudhury says that the circulation of the blood in one’s body is profusely affected as a result of two processes in his yoga system; that is, compression and extension. These two processes work together dynamically to transport fresh oxygen to every muscle, joint and organ within the practitioner’s body. The practitioner stretches and compresses a particular part or parts of the body, when performing a specific posture; what happens at this time is that the circulation is cut off temporarily. The reaction of heart, to this restriction, is that it starts to pump more blood. This pumping of excess blood is known as extension.

After the posture is complete and individual comes to a relaxed position, this new oxygenated blood rejuvenates the arteries that were compressed during the yoga posture practiced. This volume change and influx of fresh blood can assist in releasing of the infection, toxins and bacteria in your body.

How safe it is to practice Bikram Yoga?

Yoga has been practiced for centuries and is known to be completely safe, but how safe is this variation called Bikram Yoga? As a matter of fact, this yoga system has been a subject of much debate. There have been questions as to how safe it is to practice strenuous exercises in a room that is heated over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Though it is not common, but some practitioners have reported feelings of dizziness and nausea.

Losing weight with Bikram yoga

Many people join Bikram Yoga in hope of losing some weight. To learn how this yoga system can help you to lose weight, we would have to consider some of the characteristics of this yoga system:

• This yoga system makes you sweat heavily and this is believed to detoxify your body.
• The circulatory system is cleared and the blood thins.
• Results in elevation of heart rate.
• The muscles are warmed during the exercise and thus can burn fat faster.

Let us learn how these characteristics help an individual to lose weight faster:

• Everybody knows that any exercise or workout should make you sweat and should also increase your heart rate in order to be effective. This yoga technique fulfills both of these criteria.
• As mentioned above, the muscles are warmed up during the various yoga postures practiced. Warmed up muscles can burn fat faster and efficiently. Practicing this yoga technique also strengthens your muscles and makes them suppler. Both of the above factors allow exercising of your body in a more efficient manner and aid in weight loss process.
• Detoxification of the body and a healthy blood circulatory system are known to be very beneficial for metabolism. Improved metabolism results in increasing the ability of your body to shed off extra pounds, more effectively.
• The yoga system also works in an indirect way. When you practice Bikram Yoga, your willpower and mental strength is increased because of the challenge of practicing the yoga in a heated room and environment. This increased willpower also helps you to maintain the resolve of losing weight and resisting the temptation of giving up the resolve.

People also ask, as to how many and how frequently they should practice this yoga technique to lose weight. The recommendation is to attend at least 10 yoga sessions in a month. The next question which arises is that how long does it take to see the results, after you have been practicing this yoga? Every individual is different, so the results might vary from person to person, but in general it takes up to thirteen sessions to start seeing the results.

Remember to take your own towel and mat, when you go for this yoga class, as you would sweat a lot. You should be cautious with your water intake, when practicing Bikram Yoga. You should drink plenty of water before and after the class (with required intervals in between).

Also go to a Bikram Yoga centre which is a certified center
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