What is Bikram Yoga and what is the difference of this type of yoga with the conventional one? That’s must be the first question that is crossing your mind. Bikram yoga is 90 minutes session with about 26 postures to be done but the difference with the conventional yoga is the environment.
Bikram yoga will be conducted in a heated studio room with temperature between 90 and 120 degree. Well, there are a lot of controversial related to this type of yoga and its heated room. Originally this yoga is coming from India, though India is well known as tropical country and heat is common there but even there they are doing the session early in the morning or around sunset time when heat is not in the peak.
So, what’s the point of doing yoga in heated room? Well, the explanation below might help you understanding more about Bikram yoga and why the heated room becomes important in this type of yoga. Benefits of Bikram Yoga have an amazing difference with benefits of yoga with regular type.
The main reason why people prefer Bikram yoga instead of conventional yoga is detoxification. In Bikram yoga with heated room condition, you will be easily getting sweaty. Well, it is actually the main purpose of Bikram yoga, heavy sweaty.
Heavy sweaty will help you to flush all toxins in your body through skin. Furthermore, sweaty could be really healthy especially for those who don’t have time to do exercise while in conventional yoga, not everyone will experience the heavy sweaty because heavy sweaty means you are in uncomfortable condition. It is different with Bikram yoga, if you want to success in this yoga class, heavy sweaty is a must.
- Warmed Up Muscle means Safe Yoga
It is true that even in conventional yoga a professional and certified instructor is mandatory. However, in all kinds of sports warming up is still required and yoga is not the exception though the postures mostly not reflect any danger for the muscle.
The purpose of warming up itself is to relax the muscle before doing any yoga postures in order to minimize injury and in Bikram yoga the heated room condition becomes the advantage because the temperature will contribute in warming up muscle so it will a bit safer to do the yoga postures.
- Stimulating Heart Rate
Having rapid rate is not always bad as long as you understand your current health condition. If you are currently having heart condition, perhaps consulting your plan of doing Bikram yoga with your doctor is necessary. However, if you are certain that you could handle it then you are welcome to class.
By stimulating your heart rate to work faster it means you try to challenge your body to work harder, you will feel like running a mile when the fact is you are not even leaving your mat. Sometimes making your body work harder is necessary to train your body to always ready in all kind of conditions. Besides, it is very beneficial to stimulate your metabolism as well.
- Develop Strength
The unique thing about yoga is you will find the impossible. It means, you would never known what your body or muscle will capable of until you try yoga. In Bikram yoga, you could test your limit even in the most possible way and you will be surprise.
Unfortunately, you have to really careful because once you found the impossible is actually possible you will be wondering how far your muscle will do the wonder and what will happen is the opposite. So, don’t overstretch, try one step ahead in one time, don’t force yourself too much, by doing that you could develop strength step by step until you don’t know anymore where your limit will end.
- Improve Flexibility
Yoga provides you a chance to be flexible with your body and at the same time keep you in shape and maintain your health. As mentioned in point 4, you will be surprised about what your body and muscle will capable of.
Compared to conventional yoga, Bikram yoga with heated room condition will provide you more flexibility due to the warmed up muscle will make you easier to do the postures. However, one important thing to note is, don’t force yourself. Making a certain target is necessary but once your body feels uncomfortable, you should try to relax a bit before you start again.
- Improve Breathing
Breathing is essential factor in yoga. The basic purpose of yoga is, while your body and muscle were doing the wonder, you’re still breathing normally. It is different if you are running a mile, you might get what you want but impossible to control your breathing during the run. That’s why yoga is for. However, in Bikram yoga, you will get one more challenge; it is the heat.
Well, it is not easy to breathe normally while you are doing yoga postures in heated yoga studio room but it is worth to try. When it comes to Bikram yoga, you will need sometimes first to learn and adapt with the heat but you will be surprised once you have learnt how to embrace the heat instead of fight against it.
- Making Body More Relax
Some people may not believe that heavy sweaty could help you becoming more relax. Bikram yoga which will force you to be in heavy sweaty condition will give you a chance to reach a new level of relaxes. Well, it is true that even the conventional yoga will give you the same effect but with all the sweats in your body you will feel the different if compared to conventional yoga.
However, there are some people who prefer yoga instead of other sports to avoid dealing with the sweat, well then Bikram yoga is not for them. However, for you who don’t mind getting sweaty, then Bikram yoga may be the kind of yoga you’ve been searching for.
- Developing Mental Focus
Mental focus is important in yoga. You should focus on your muscle while you should focus on controlling your breathing as well. It is true doing yoga is like doing multi tasking assignment at the same time. In Bikram yoga, there is one more challenge you should deal with; it is the heat.
So, you have to stay focus on doing your yoga postures while controlling your breath and relaxing your mind in heat condition. Don’t take this as obstacles because like it or not, it is what you will face in daily life and yoga could help you practicing in relax condition.
- Healing Purpose
Health Benefits of Bikram Yoga could be the best choice in healing purpose. There’s no point of joining a yoga class if it is not beneficial for your health. It also applies to Bikram yoga. Perhaps what you get from conventional yoga with what you get from Bikram yoga is not that different but still Bikram yoga is one type of yoga you should try if you are a yoga junkie.
Yoga, basically a healing therapy and the heat in Bikram yoga is part of the enhancer of the process. When it comes to healing, Bikram yoga has been proven to be able in treating obesity, some kinds of cardiovascular diseases, asthma, diabetes even depression.
- More Challenging
Well, there is no better word but ‘more challenging’ to describe Bikram yoga if compared to conventional yoga. Some points mentioned above have touched this subject that Bikram yoga offers you more challenge that you should overcome. While doing Bikram yoga, don’t be surprised if you find something you thing impossible is actually possible but of course you need high discipline of doing the routines before you could enjoy the result.
- Sweaty Could be A Good Feeling
That’s true! Sweat will always give you a good feeling. The fact that people prefer to avoid it is totally a mistake because sweat may be smelly and sticky but the feeling after that will surprise you. Why don’t you try to get heavy sweaty once in a time and after that you enjoy the long warm bath followed by a very good and deep sleep. You will wake up in the morning with a new energy and clearer mind because sweats have flushed away all toxins in your body the night before and make you feel like having a brand new personality.
- Better Life
It is truly the main purpose of yoga; giving you a better life. Yoga considered as healthy lifestyle, healthy lifestyle means healthy life and healthy life means better life. Yoga is simply making your life meaningful. During yoga, you are not only able to learn about your body, about your self but also learn about how to control your mind, your body and then your life.
That’s the point of yoga. And as the bonus, you could enjoy all the benefits of doing yoga like clearer mind, better shape and of course healthier body.
Side Effect of Bikram Yoga and How to Deal with it
Well, as any yoga session, Bikram yoga itself is not without risk. However, as long as you are following the rule and not force yourself to much, you will be fine and some points below might help you to do Bikram yoga wisely:
- More Tendency to Overstretch
Speaking of Bikram yoga means this session will offer you more challenge than conventional yoga. That’s why you should follow the instruction from your instructor strictly to avoid any tendency of overstretch. Overstretch could be dangerous for yourself and could cause serious injury.
- Heat Causes Distractions
As mentioned above the additional of heat is another challenge you should overcome. It is never easy to stay focus while you are in heat condition. That’s why intensive training and discipline is required if you want to survive Bikram yoga.
- Suffering Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion could dangerous. That’s why you should recognize your limit and don’t force yourself too much. Once you feel a bit dizzy due to heat exhaustion, don’t force yourself too much. Just stay focus, breath deeply and try to embrace the heat. However, if it still not working you should get some rest before continuing the session is highly recommended.
Dehydration is not easy to avoid when you are doing Bikram yoga because sweat will easily come out from your body due to the heated room and yoga postures. That’s why making sure that your body hydrated before you enter the class should be taken for granted, if not you will easily feel dizzy and dehydration could endanger your body.
- Overheated Body Could Lead to Heat Stroke
So far heat stroke case is not common to happen during Bikram yoga lead by professional and certified instructor but still taking this into consideration is still necessary. Heat stroke could be dangerous for your health and surely you don’t want to enter yoga class just get heat stroke.
Tips You Should Know before Entering Bikram Yoga Class:
Bikram yoga may not that different with any conventional yoga when it comes to postures and the stretching. In other words, the whole session might be similar but the heat. That’s why there are some factors that you should take for granted if you decided to enter Bikram yoga. You should realize that the heat in this type of yoga could change your whole perception about yoga, that’s why some tips below will guide you so you will survive the session:
- Hydrated Yourself
Bikram yoga will cause you producing a lot of sweat since it is the purpose of this type of yoga. That’s why making sure that you are entering the class in fresh and hydrated condition is important. It may be fun to enter sauna for the sweat while you could sip a glass of cold lemonade but it is not the same with yoga, it is not easy to stay focus while you are in heated room, doing 26 postures in full 90 minutes, high discipline is required but hydrated body is much more important.
- Learning How to Handle the Heat
Heat could be handled. Well, perhaps it is a bit difficult for those who are living in cold country but it is almost common for those who are living in tropical country. So, it is the proof that heat could be handled as long as you want to teach your body to learn about how to handle the heat. Breathing has important role in helping your body adapting to the heat.
- Don’t Late
It is important when you are entering Bikram yoga. You should prepare yourself first before the session started. Besides that you could utilize the time to let your body adapting to the heat.
- Don’t Overstretch
As mentioned above, challenges could be hard to avoid that’s why realizing your limit is important that testing it. Don’t overstretch but instead try to enjoy every single time when you are reaching a new level or complete one challenge.
- Don’t Use Towel
It is a basic instruction that in Bikram yoga, you should avoid towel until you finish the session. Sweat is not only able to help in flushing toxins from your body through your skin but it is also the other form of body mechanism to maintain your body temperature.
- Comfortable and Relatively Light Clothes
It is another basic rule when doing yoga; comfortable clothes. However, in Bikram yoga comfortable clothes is not enough, you have to make sure to wear light clothes that will support your when you are in heavy sweaty condition.
- Don’t Do Yoga with Completely Empty Stomach but Don’t too Full either
If empty stomach is combined with heat the result will be dizzy. That’s why you have to good management in snacking when doing Bikram yoga. However, don’t eat heavy carbohydrate too because it will make your stomach full longer and you will feel uncomfortable doing the postures and stretching.
- Not Recommended for Newbie
Well, if you are new in yoga perhaps you should think twice when decided to enter Bikram yoga class. Conventional yoga is not an easy thing to do for newbie, you need sometimes to build flexibility of your body to the postures and at the same time learn to focus and control your breath. Just imagine that you still learn all those things and doing them in heated room, instead of healthy lifestyle like you’ve been looking for, you will feel stress instead. It is not the point of yoga and just by forcing yourself to follow the trend you will not get all the benefits that yoga will give to you.
Bikram yoga invited a lot of comments and critics from professional that it is not as effective as it claimed. The fact that all benefits in conventional yoga could be found in Bikram yoga is one of the reason why Bikram yoga is still in debate right now.
However, the popularity of Bikram yoga said the otherwise and those who have been tried Bikram yoga mostly decided to continue the class because they realize that heavy sweat is actually what they’ve been looking for and missing in conventional yoga. Well, it is actually just in the matter of choice, whether you prefer conventional yoga or you prefer more challenges in Bikram yoga.