Bikram yoga is static hatha sequence, comprised of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. Often referred to as ‘The Original’ hot yoga, your standard Bikram class should reach temperatures of 40c and up. It’s hot. Its sweaty. Its focused. And people are still going on about it.
So, what’s so special about Bikram yoga and how is it going to benefit YOU?
Clear your mind
The Bikram sequence is a 90-minute moving meditation. You move through each of the 26 postures, twice, in a room heated of 40c. You have no choice but to focus on yourself. Once you’ve done a few classes and that initial ‘oh my goodness could it BE any HOTTER in here’ feeling starts to wear off, you start to get in the ‘zone’. Anything your brain doesn’t need to think about is dropped. The focus is on yourself and your postures. You focus on breathing. You focus on not drinking copious amounts of water. You focus on your teacher, who is talking at 100mph as usual but actually they just said something you haven’t heard before and now that posture makes a lot more sense.. You lie there finally in Savasana, still and breathing. All the things you were worried about before have become less loud. If you’re lucky, you’ll have an epiphany (yopiphany?). The solution you were searching for before suddenly occurs to you as you lie there on your mat in peace.
It takes you back to the weight you are supposed to be. This sequence targets every system in your body. Happy, healthy systems and organs mean you begin to shed any weight that you don’t need. Weight loss is not a promise made to new students; Bikram describes it as a ‘side-affect’. I have personally seen a lot of evidence of weight loss in myself as a student, in other students as they begin their practice and as a teacher from seeing students weekly. There are a lot of calories to be burned in a hot room for 90 minutes.
Your bad habits give YOU up
You’ve just come out of your Bikram class, what do you want to put in your body?
Water. Coconut water. Electrolytes. The greenest juice you have ever seen. ‘But I don’t even LIKE green juice!’. Don’t care. Your body does. Now you are more in tune with what it needs because you’ve just listened to it intently for the last hour and a half.
Your body: ‘Great, now I’ve got you, reckon you get us one of those power smoothies with the kale and spinach and stuff? Excellent.’
If you do this yoga long enough, your bad habits will give YOU up. Your cravings start to subside. You want to fill your body with fresh, healthy things. Smoking starts to feel less appealing. Each pint of beer now looks like a pint of dehydration – ‘Let’s see, how many glasses of water do I need to drink to counteract this one pint of beer?’. I mean, you’ll still be you. I’m not saying that after one class you’ll be ‘pure’. You can still drink alcohol and eat fatty foods. Treat yourself to the tasty things that aren’t good for your body. Except now, you’ll be in touch with what is genuinely fuel, and what is just flavour.
When your mind is clear and your body is tired, you’d be surprised how much easier it is to drift off. Meditation brings you a deeper, more restful sleep. Many students report having a peaceful, uninterrupted night’s sleep after practicing Bikram yoga.
Beautiful skin – Let’s talk about sweat baby
How do you feel about sweat? Does it annoy you? Make you feel gross? Do you only associate it with stinky armpits and body odour? Well. Get ready to love it. Learn to deal with it in your eyes, up your nose and in your ears. We love the sweat. It’s not even sweat anymore, just non-smelly, non-salty water.. it starts to feel.. clean! Sweat is your body’s natural air conditioning, helping you regulate your body temperature. Fit people sweat. It also does wonders for your skin. It flushes out impurities and bacteria. Less bacteria means less blemishes. Sweat is a healthy, natural way to improve your complexion. Get that yoga GLOW.
Flexibility and strength
‘I’d love to try yoga, but I’m just not flexible enough!’. You don’t come to yoga BECAUSE you are flexible. You BECOME flexible through your yoga practice. You will also build strength. You need strong stabilising muscles to balance on one leg after all. Bikram yoga is a challenging sequence of postures. These postures build strength in your legs, arms, back and core as well increase your flexibility.
‘Don’t you find it boring practicing the same sequence every class?’
I’m here to tell you, you really don’t. Fact is, you just don’t know what is going to happen in that room. You could go in feeling invincible, hydrated, full of energy, yet have an absolute nightmare on the mat. Other days you go in feeling low, tired, emotional and you have the best class of your life. It depends on so many different things that you just can’t make predictions. Each class peels away another layer. You get closer and closer to understanding your mind and body. What you are capable of will always surprise you. Find your edge and keep pushing it. You don’t know what’s going to happen in that room, but I guarantee you won’t ever regret going.
To book a Bikram class, click here and select a class I am teaching.