Yoga is an ancient practice with unknown origins. We believe that it was first written about in ancient Vedic Texts, and since then it has grown in popularity and spread across the world.
There are many different forms of yoga and if you’re new to the practice it’s easy to get confused about all the different types out there.
So let’s say you’re trying to work out what the best kind of yoga to practice would be for you. How can you know the difference between them?
Is Hatha really the best place to start? What about more modern forms like Aerial or Pre-natal yoga? And what about Bikram Yoga? What is Bikram Yoga in the first place?
If you’ve been wondering about this, then you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’re going to be giving you a total breakdown of Bikram Yoga.
We’ll explain what it is in comparison to other more well-known forms of yoga and tell you some of its histories.
In the end, we’ll describe whether or not if it’s the right form of yoga for you so that you can make your own decision!
Let’s get right into it!
Different Types Of Yoga
Before we delve into Bikram Yoga, let’s first take a look at why yoga is so different depending on the form.
To put it simply, yoga is an ancient practice that combines elements of physical strength and mindfulness to work on a person’s health in one way or another.
It uses static poses, elements of flexibility, breathing and meditation techniques, and sometimes chanting to achieve this.
Yoga is often confused with religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism because all of these use it as a way of teaching spiritual concepts.
One of the most widely taught versions of yoga is Hatha, which is a simplistic form that focuses on poses, meditation, and unity between mind and body.
But if you’ve ever looked into it then you’ll know that there are a lot of different types of yoga. Hatha is just one of many.
One of the kinds that will come up when you’re searching is Bikram Yoga – which grew in popularity in the west during the 1970s.
What Is Bikram Yoga?
Bikram Yoga is one system of Yoga that was developed by Bikram Choudhury.
It is a form of what we call ‘hot yoga’ which is a more intense form of yoga, often performed in a humid studio.
The central idea of hot yoga is to add cardio to create a workout that gives you the benefits of yoga and cardiovascular exercise.
The earliest form of the practice involved poses on a timer. Generally, practitioners will repeat the same 26 dynamic poses in a series of cycles that will take them through the course of a 90-minute session.
Bikram Yoga instructors have much less freedom in what they teach and conduct the session by learning set practices and pieces of dialogue.
Some of the poses of a Bikram Yoga session include tree pose, eagle pose, cobra pose, triangle pose, and others that you might normally find at a Hatha Yoga class.
A typical Bikram Yoga class will heat the room up to a high temperature (for example, 41 degrees Celsius) to make the workout more difficult.
This makes it a very difficult form of yoga not for the faint of heart.
The main goal of Bikram Yoga is the physical benefits, and some of the more contemplative, meditative aspects of the practice are left at the wayside.
Benefits Of Bikram Yoga
One of the main benefits of Bikram Yoga is weight loss – through the high temperature of the room and vigorous exercise.
The mix of these two components means that you are likely to sweat a lot, which can be a great way to lose weight.
Another benefit is the flexibility and dynamic range of movements you take through.
If performed safely, this can do wonders for your body and improve flexibility and general mobility.
Some practitioners also believe that Bikram Yoga – through the way of how much it makes you sweat – flushes any potential toxins that you may have in your body out.
This is less supported by scientific research, but there is anecdotal evidence for it.
Potential Dangers Of Bikram Yoga
Unfortunately, because this is a more difficult form of Yoga, it does come with some negatives.
One of the main risks is the chance of dehydration. Because of the intense heat of a Bikram Yoga classroom, your body is likely to lose moisture rapidly.
If you’re unable to drink water in time, there are possible negative effects on your body.
It’s best to consider Bikram Yoga an intense practice, and certainly not something for a beginner or someone looking for a light workout.
It’s also worth noting that Bikram Yoga has much less emphasis on the mental sides of yoga.
If you’re looking for mindfulness practices, it’s not going to teach you as much as something like Hatha or Kundalini Yoga.
So there you have it, Bikram Yoga is a form of Hot Yoga that uses an intense climate and static poses on a cycle to create a great workout that can benefit you in many ways.
It was most popular in the 1970s, but you’ll find many forms throughout the world today.
We’d like to leave you with the advice that it is perhaps not the best form of yoga to get into if you’re looking to interact with the more meditative aspects of the practice.
Bikram Yoga is best thought of as a more dynamic aerobics class.
We hope that this article has given you some insight into the practice of Bikram Yoga and that you now know much more about it.
All types of Yoga can be a great addition to your life, and we hope that you find the form that is right for you soon! Good luck!