If you’re unfamiliar with yoga then you may fall in to the category of the ill-informed, believing that it’s just a bit of stretching and not much of a workout. Yoga is most definitely not just stretching and as well as energising the body, yoga is renowned for strengthening the mind with different types of yoga incorporating a variety of techniques and disciplines. It’s all about finding the right type for you.
Bikram Yoga is a form of yoga developed by Bikram Choudhury in the 1970’s. It consists of twenty-six posture exercises combined with two breathing exercises that are designed especially to promote a feeling of well-being whilst toning, building muscle and flexibility.
Bikram Yoga differs from other types of yoga because it is practiced in a heated room. A typical Bikram Yoga room is usually heated at 100° plus. The heat encourages the body to detoxify, similar to that of a steam room or sauna. The heat is also renowned for relieving stress and chronic pain from health problems such as arthritis, joint aches and injuries, back problems and many more.
There have been concerns with Bikram Yoga due to the high heat temperatures. However, if carried out properly, the risks associated with it are very low. The heated room naturally encourages you to sweat excessively so make sure to drink lots of water!
In regards for using Bikram Yoga for weight loss, studies have shown that it does improve strength and flexibility, but only has a small effect on weight loss. Although yoga may not necessarily be the best exercise for promoting huge amounts of weight loss, it can notably encourage the alignment of the body and mind, influencing behavioural changes assisting with slimming down. Bikram Yoga is also beloved and promoted by many celebrities including Jennifer Aniston, Madonna and Demi Moore.
As an ancient form of exercise dating back over 5000 years, yoga has been celebrated for building strength, focus, flexibility, body and mind. A dominant aspect of all different types of yoga are posture and breathing with evidence verifying that yoga can even help mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
Most forms of yoga are not strenuous enough to count towards your sixty minutes of exercise a day. However as yoga can be an arduous exercise, practicing it once or twice a week can do marvellous things in relation to your strength, balance and coordination making it a benefit to people of all ages.
Bikram yoga is famously tough and may not appeal to everyone. Furthermore if you find the idea of exercising in 100° too daunting but still want to undertake a demanding from of yoga then try Ashtanga, Power and Iyengar Yoga. These yoga types are renowned for being rigorously fast paced, testing your endurance and also very sweaty.
If you’re a yoga beginner or are looking for something less energetic then try Yin or Hatha Yoga which are less flowing and dynamic, or Kundalini Yoga if you’re looking for more of a spiritual experience.
When trying Bikram Yoga for the first time make sure to get there early to enable you to acclimatise to the heat. Also after class ensure that you rehydrate with water or coconut water which is great for replenishing those lost electrolytes.
And one last piece of advice. Be prepared to sweat.