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Friday, 15 October 2010
Hot Yoga...Bikram Yoga
In studios around the world, hot yoga is a popular style. Practitioners believe that performing asanas in a well-heated room helps to cleanse both the mind and body.
The Difference Between Bikram and Hot Yoga
Terminology for hot yoga and Bikram yoga is not interchangeable. They really are different practices.
Bikram yoga originated with yogi Bikram Choudhury in 1974. Choudhury developed a series of 26 asanas to be performed in a particular sequence in a heated room of 80-105 degrees Fahrenheit. The classes are usually 90-minutes long and include specialized breathing exercises as well.
Hot yoga is a form of Hatha yoga performed in a heated room. Practitioners of this style still experience many yoga benefits, but may not be aware of Choudhury’s philosophy or exact practice. Instructors of hot yoga are not always trained in the Bikram method, and don’t have to be to teach hot yoga.
The Benefits of Heat
Practitioners of hot yoga believe the heat extends the ability of the ligaments, tendons and muscles. Immersing yourself in hot yoga practice is said to:
Improve flexibility and range of motion
Increase the chances of weight loss
Develop muscle tone
Build the immune system
Proponents of the practice also believe that hot yoga exercise reduces the symptoms of certain chronic illnesses, such as thyroid disorders, arthritis and circulatory problems.
A Few Notes of Caution
Within reason, anyone at any age can perform the poses, but this style of yoga does require the practitioner to be in better physical condition and have a high tolerance for heat. In fact, some instructors advise that those new to hot yoga sit through a few sessions to acclimate to the heat before actually advancing to postures.
In addition, it is critical to keep the body hydrated before, during and after practice with water, not with caffeinated beverages. Along with the recommended eight-to-ten glasses of water daily, yogis practicing this form must consume enough water to replenish the body because of the extensive sweating.
Hot yoga is not advisable for those brand new to yoga or pregnant. Beginners may find concentrating on learning proper form difficult in the excessive heat. Expectant mothers experience a rise in the body’s core temperature to levels that may compromise the well-being of the baby.