Whether you are new to Yoga or a have been practicing it for years, you probably know that there are several different types of Yoga. Bikram Yoga was developed by Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Yoga College of India, and differs from traditional yoga in that it involves the principles of extension and compression. These two dynamics work together to help increase delivery of fresh blood to every joint, muscle and organ in the body. While performing specific poses you stretch or compress certain parts of the body, which actually cuts off circulation temporarily.There is actually a lot of science involved in how your body functions when practicing Bikram Yoga. When doing Bikram, your muscles contract and stretch on a cellular, biochemical level as lipids and proteins reorganize, which leads to better circulation. As you go through the workout your muscles and joints are balanced and your range of motion increases while your strength increases by using gravity. Bikram work also promotes hormone secretion from the endocrine glands and decreases toxins and waste by improved communication between the organs of elimination. During your work out, your nerves are stimulated which helps promote oxygen and blood circulation to all parts of the body, including your brain, which can lead to increased clarity and mental functioning. The entire workout is completed in a heated room, which helps heal muscle injuries, flush out toxins, lose weight and stabilize your emotions. Karen Ernst, director of Bikram Yoga Folsom (www.bikramyogafolsom.com), says the reason for the heat is to “increase circulation warm up muscles and tendons so they can stretch more safely and deeply and helps release toxins through your sweat.”
All science aside, Bikram is a great way to challenge your body, feel great and get great results. If you’re interested in trying Bikram Yoga out here is a little of what you might expect:
- Be prepared for a ninety minute class
- The class will take place in a room that is heated to about 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% humidity
- You will complete a series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises
- For the best experience you’ll want to drink at least 2 liters of water 24 hours prior to the class and be sure not to drink or eat 1 to 2 hours before the class starts
- You will sweat so make sure not to wear anything that will become cumbersome if soaked with sweat.
Lots of celebs from professional athletes to singers practice Bikram and rave bout their results. Some of these celeb practitioners include Kareem-Abdul Jabaar, Lady Gaga, David Beckham, Charles Barkley, Madonna and Jennifer Farley, just to name a few.