Bikram Yoga: Everything about the yoga style and the best exercises
90 minutes, a hot room, 26 exercises: This is the mix that defines Bikram Yoga. The style is named after its founder Bikram Choudhury , but is also often called hot yoga. Here you can read what the advantages of Bikram Hot Yoga are, whether and how you can lose weight with it and which exercises make Bikram Yoga special.
This is Hot Yoga according to Bikram Choudhury
Not all Hot Yoga is also Bikram Yoga. Because the latter follows fixed guidelines: A unit of Bikram Yoga always lasts 90 minutes and consists of 26 exercises that are always performed in the same order . The asana poses are distributed as follows:
- 12 standing asanas
- 7 lying asanas
- 7 seated/kneeling asanas
There are also 2 breathing exercises (Pranayama) , which are also integrated into the practice at a fixed time. There are large mirrors on the walls so that everyone in the course can observe themselves.
It gets "hot" thanks to a room temperature of 40°C and a humidity of at least 40 percent . With Bikram Yoga, sweat just flows - so a non-slip yoga mat is a must!
The focus of this yoga style is on fitness instead of spirituality and there is a reason for this: Bikram Choudhury developed the style together with his yoga teacher after a sports injury and was able to regenerate within 6 months.
Nevertheless, Bikram yogis should learn in the exercises to listen to their own body and to build a connection. If necessary, you can pause or quit Bikram Yoga at any time. After all, your body has to get used to extreme external conditions that can throw your circulation off track. So listen carefully to your body and drink a lot before and after Bikram Yoga!
Lose weight with Bikram Yoga
The sweaty hot yoga is popular among Hollywood celebrities - not least because it is very effective if you want to lose weight or define your figure . First of all, Bikram Yoga is a calorie killer, with which you can burn up to 700 calories in one session. At the same time, through the asanas, which train entire muscle groups, you build up your muscles and thus increase fat loss.
Losing weight successfully with Bikram Yoga is theoretically very possible. In practice, however, it must be noted that Bikram Yoga is not suitable for everyone . Because you should have a certain level of basic fitness or at least good health . Otherwise there is a risk of cardiovascular problems.
Severely overweight people should switch to a different, less demanding yoga style . You can also build muscles with regular Hatha Yoga, for example.
Benefits of Bikram Yoga
Of course, the heat in the room has a purpose in Bikram Yoga: In this way , muscles, ligaments and tendons are warmed up and are therefore much more flexible. Practically, this also reduces the risk of injury.
Sweating a lot takes some getting used to, but experienced Bikram yogis swear by the fact that it has a detoxifying effect . There are no scientific studies that prove this, but at least it makes you feel really successful after yoga. By the way: The pride of having disregarded external circumstances is also extremely positive. Because in the end you have no choice but to accept the heat and come to terms with the situation!
A definite benefit of Bikram Yoga is the fact that while it's a great cardio workout , it's easy on your joints . Bikram Yoga is at least as effective as jogging and at the same time friendlier to knees and the like.
Exercises from Bikram Yoga: a selection
If you're wondering what poses you need to do in the hot Bikram studio, read on! The following asanas are just a small selection of the 26 exercises that are in sequence in Bikram Yoga.
From a standing position, both arms are stretched out straight in front of you.
Now move your buttocks back as if you were going to sit on a chair and hold this position for a few breaths.
Advanced users lift their heels off the ground and balance only on the balls of their feet.
Standing head-to-knee pose
This exercise also starts in a standing position: you stretch one leg straight out in front of you so that it is in the air at a 90-degree angle to your other leg. Grasp your foot with both hands and bring your forehead as close to your knee as possible.
Again you stand on both legs and now bend one leg so that the foot comes to rest on the thigh of the other leg.
You may need to hold the foot with one hand if sweat has already made your legs too slippery. If that's not necessary, bring your palms together in front of your chest.
This exercise isn't popular, but it's effective: you lie on your stomach with your palms on the mat at hip height. The head also rests on the floor. Now raise your straight legs in the air and stay in this position. This strengthens the back and shoulders and promotes blood circulation.
What sounds pretty simple in theory is not so easy in a room that is warmer than average! Nevertheless, it is definitely worth trying Bikram Yoga – after all, a good round of sweating never hurts!
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