Imagine it’s August. In Houston. Middle of the day.
Now imagine bending your body through 26 hatha yoga postures for 90 minutes in August. In Houston. In the middle of the day.
This is pretty much what it feels like to be in a Bikram Yoga class.
And people either swear by it or swear at it. But for its millions of devotees world-wide, it’s the coolest way to exercise every muscle, fiber, bone in your body.
What’s to love about Bikram?
We asked one of our patients who practices Bikram regularly this very question and she launched right into a list of reasons — 1. She’s a runner and feels the heat helps “loosen” her up big time 2. She feels like she’s had a proper workout after a session 3. She has vein disease and before her VNUS Closure treatment, the yoga helped her legs feel better 4. Post-procedure she even wore her compression tights and felt the practice helped keep the treated area from getting tight (this can happen but it’s absolutely normal!) 5. She’s more limber 6. Her skin looks fresher 7. She’s gotten into the healthy habit of drinking water. LOTS of water 8. She just feels great when she practices regularly and really notices when she doesn’t! 9. Her favorite pose is Eagle Pose (pose #4 in the chart below) — as it cuts off the blood supply to the lower region and when you release, your legs get this amazing burst of energy because of the rush of fresh, oxygenated blood. We like the sound of that too!
What to expect
Bikram is a moving meditation. Do not expect to go into a room, fashion yourself in a pretzel position and and go “ommmm.” Instead you can expect to walk into a room that is kept at 105 degrees F and 40% humidity. For 90 minutes you will move through 26 hatha yoga postures that includes two breathing exercises. Each pose prepares you for the next pose. The poses never change and the order never changes. Devotees claim they don’t get bored with this because your body is different each day. So that’s what makes each class its own unique experience. Some days you have to stop and lie down for a posture or two. You have to listen to your body. Just staying in the room is often the first goal for people. The instructors are trained by the founder himself, Bikram Choudhry, and they are the only people qualified to teach a Bikram yoga class. You just listen to their words and focus on you. Your body moves when they tell you to move — that’s why it’s called a moving meditation.
The 26 Postures
Bikram Yoga is intense. Make sure you are in good health and are fit enough before trying it out. If you practice it, you will learn that water and electrolytes are your friend. Preparation for class begins by keeping yourself very hydrated before you step foot into the room. People with heart problems, high blood pressure, on certain medications, or are concerned if they are fit enough should not try Bikram Yoga unless it’s been cleared with a doctor first.
So what do you think? Does wearing next to nothing and sweating and twisting for 90 minutes sound good to you? Let us know with a comment below or on our Facebook page (remember to “Like” us while you’re there!).
This article is just a comment on the popularity of Bikram Yoga. Hamilton Vein Center strongly advises everyone to consult a healthcare professional before embarking on any type of exercise.