Check out these 15 Benefits of Bikram Yoga.
I promised to tell you more about my journey with Bikram yoga in my post, Living with Osteoarthritis PT1.
So here it is!
I have been practicing Bikram yoga for about 2 years now. It is one of those exercises that you start and you swear never to go back to, but you keep going back to it.
Here’s why you might not want to return after your first time-
Bikram yoga, is practiced in a 100 or more degree F room. Very hot, right? You can’t even imagine it until you have being inside one of the studios. The practice is composed of 26 postures and two breathing exercises, all done in 90 minutes. Now, you may cringe at the mention of 26 postures in studios with over 100 degree F with about 40 percent humidity. I did the first time I was in the studio. As soon as I entered the studio, I was hit by a blast of hot air and I immediately broke out in sweat. I wanted to turn back and run but I fought the urge. I promised myself to, at least, see the first session through. And I did. I have not looked back since. In fact, I crave the heat and the benefits that come with the practice.
The 26 posture exercises are designed to move fresh, oxygenated blood systematically to every fibre and organ in the body, making the whole body work as nature intended it to.
I bet you love the sound of that.
Here are 15 health benefits of hot yoga that has kept me practicing…
1. Detoxification and Rehydration
It goes without saying! You sweat buckets. This helps to flush out toxins from the body. Don’t forget to keep hydrated throughout the day, especially before and after each class. I usually drink two litres of water before any class and another litre after class. Well, it depends on the time of my class. Coconut water is often advised as it helps to replace the electrolytes, which are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. The sweating opens up the pores, leaving the skin clear and supple. I love it!
2. Weight loss
It promotes weight loss. Practising Bikram yoga in the heat helps you get rid of excess water, toxin and fat. Certain postures are particularly helpful in increasing metabolism, which in turn helps with weight loss. The amount of weight loss from one session is debatable. Some people say you can lose up to 1000 calories. Others say you lose between 400 and 500 calories. Whatever it is, you definitely loss some weight with continued practice.
3. Respiratory problem
It helps clear any sinus problems and migraine. Since I started practicing hot yoga, I no longer suffer from sinus infections and constant headaches.
Practicing Bikram Yoga increases your flexibility. It is also good for people who engage in other activities like dancing, athletics and ballet. The flexibility you gain from practising hot yoga also means that you are carrying out your day-to-day activities with ease.
5. Great Cardio Workout
Practising yoga in such hot temperature is good for the heart. Apparently, positioning the body for 26 postures in a hot room is the equivalent of running a mile.
6. It relieves pain
Mr Bikram Choudhury invented hot yoga many years ago for therapeutic reasons. It is known to reduce pain and heal old wounds if you practice regularly. It greatly relieves my arthritic pains. Unfortunately, the relief is not permanent. Many people who suffer from arthritis have also confirmed that it relieves their pain after each session. The advice is not to stop the practice and that one day, the pain will either reduce significantly or go away entirely. To get the full benefit the practice has to offer, you have to practise at least three times a week. For that reason alone I am hooked to Bikram yoga, especially if it will help repair the damage to my cartilage.
7. Stress Relief
Bikram yoga lowers your stress level. The practice focuses on breathing, especially the two breathing sessions. They help focus your mind and keep you calm. It also helps me sleep very well after each session.
8. It balances your mind and Emotions
Bikram yoga makes you self-aware as well as aware of your surroundings. This leads to better decision-making.
9. Thyroid Regulation
There are many postures that concentrate on working the thyroid which helps to regulate its level.
10. It slows the aging process
I am for anything that will help slow the signs of aging. Many people swear that practicing hot younger has made them look younger. I must say, all my instructors look young. I can see how this can be possible. When your body is rid of toxins, the skin is soft and healthy, thereby preserving youth.
You feel better, calmer and more focused after one session of Bikram yoga. Many people have given testimonials to the fact that Bikram yoga saved them from depression.
12. Increases Vitality and joint mobility
It strengthens the skeletal system and promotes joint mobility and other kinds of motion.
13. It tones and strengthens your muscles
This is a low impact exercise which uses many muscles in your body. It also focuses on spinal strength which is as you know, the key to a healthy long life. The poses and stretches when held longer, strengthen the muscles which helps to promote overall full body strength.
14. Glowing skin
The steam in the studio helps to open up your pores. With all the sweating, your skin is left feeling soft, clean and healthy. Don’t forget to drink lots of water to replenish the water loss.
15. Increase of blood flow
When you are in the heat, your muscles become very loose. This promotes the increase of blood flow throughout the body, which of course leads to general wellbeing.
I love hot yoga. What’s not to love? It is packed full of benefits.
There are different types of yoga out there. Which one do you practice? Leave a comment.
Are you thinking of taking up beginner’s hot yoga?
Tell me what you think.