Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Bikram Hot Yoga Explained and commented on

Written by Anil Singh

Although Yoga is an essentially Indian Science, many Indians are still not aware of the ‘yoga variations invented from time to time for the West by smart yoga gurus belonging from India .

One such innovative ‘variation of Yoga’ or ‘Smart packaging of Yoga’ is the Bikram Hot Yoga.

Many experts are of the opinion that Yoga (and particularly the Bikram Hot Yoga) is therapeutic.

What is Bikram Hot Yoga?

Bikram Hot Yoga is a copyrighted Yoga Progamme run and owned by Bikram Choudhury of India. What differentiates Bikram Hot Yoga from Yoga, are the number of Asanas (Yoga poses) and the atmosphere/ environment/surroundings in which Bikram Hot Yoga takes place. It’s to underline, here that the Yoga poses done in Bikram Hot Yoga are the same traditional Hatha Yoga poses, which yoga practitioners practice every day. The only difference is that the Bikram Hot Yoga is practiced in a heated room (40 degree Celsius or more) and only 26postures of Hatha Yoga are done over a 90-minute session under one instructor where teachers do not support the student to perfect any posture. Students are motivated to use their mental strength to perform.

About Bikram Choudhary and his Hot Yoga:

Bikram Chudhary is a popular name world-wide, hence it is not difficult for any one to know more about him. But still a brief ‘about him’ will make this article more informative. Bikram, who hails from India, began learning Hatha Yoga poses at the age of three. At five, he began studying with Bishnu Ghosh (Paramahansa Yogananda's brother – Yogananda is the Yogi from 1920s, who introduced many westerners to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his book, Autobiography of a Yogi) and won the National India Yoga Championship four consecutive years in his teen age years. With the guidance of his guru, Bikram created his 26 posture series which restored his health.

At 14, Swami Shivananda declared him "Yogi Raj" (King of the Yogis). At age 20, a weightlifting accident made Bikram disabled. Although he was told he would never be able to walk again, with the help of Ghosh, he claims to have fully recovered within 6 months. As an adult he opened yoga schools in India and Japan, and in 1972 he opened his first U.S. school in San Francisco. Bikram arrived in the United States in 1973. Celebrities, athletes, and others began to flock to him. His main school is currently near Hollywood, California.

In the 1990s he began offering nine-week teacher certification courses, and certified instructors now number in the thousands with Bikram Yoga studios all over the world. Bikram Yoga has been tested and studied by scientists and after their certification of being safe it was launched for people and since then the number of people benefited from it are innumerable.

What experts feel about Bikram Hot Yoga:

As Bikram Hot Yoga couples traditional Hatha Yoga postures with high temperature; hence BHY induces sweating, which is not usually seen while practicing Yoga in normal temperature. Owing to this sweating and accompanying high breathing techniques, BHY claims that it not only imparts the usual benefits of traditional yoga, like a slim, svelte body, healthy & stress free mind, improved respiratory, cardiovascular, skeleton and digestive system, radiance; but also purifies and removes toxins from your body, in a more visible manner, thereby improving the quality of your skin and hair noticeably. 

In short, just as ‘traditional Yoga or No-frills-attached-Yoga’, the BHY is also therapeutic.

 It is usually claimed that Bikram Hot Yoga has no side effects.

What traditional Yoga Teachers have to say about BHY:

According to Yoga Guru Rajendra Pandey, the aura around BHY could be a result of two things, 1) A more visible sweating, giving the BHY practitioners the impression that toxins and impurities are actually draining out from their bodies; and 2), whenever excess water drains from the body, a person normally feels much agile and less weighty. But according to him, this can just be a perception thing, as traditional Yoga doesn’t prescribe such high temperatures; and still practitioners get all the above benefits.

Interesting Fact: Actress Amy Smart does Bikram Hot Yoga as well. What she doesn't like about the BHY, is people odours and sweat laced floors of BHY halls (as told to Craig Ferguson, in Late Late show). 

In case you are interested in Bikram Yoga, check the resources below:

Bikram Yoga: The Guru Behind Hot Yoga Shows the Way to Radiant Health and Personal Fulfillment

Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class Vol. 1

Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class (Second Edtion)

More Resources Here

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