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Bikram Yoga: Synergistic & cumulative effect to balance body state

Bikram yoga was developed and synthesized by Bikram Chaudhary in the 20th century. Bikram Yoga was named after an Indian Yogi named Bikram Chaudhary. It has been regarded as one of the initial yoga styles brought from Hatha Yoga. Bikram Chaudhary approached with his own techniques and pattern of yoga after his long years of practice in the field of Hatha Yoga. It has been widely popularized and practiced all over the world especially in the United States, Europe, and India including many other countries of Asia.

Hatha yoga incorporates the vast area of asana, pranayama and dhyana practice. In this broad term come dozens of different names of yoga practice. Following the same norms and values of hatha yoga practice, different styles of yoga have been developed. If they don’t include all the aspects of Hatha Yoga, at least they have brought into the practice of one or two aspects.

All these aspects have been considered vital and vast in the field of Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga doesn’t only mean the modern understanding of the name as slow-paced gentle yoga. It has rather broader and comprehensive meaning which has managed to include all the practices which focus on Asana (physical postures), Pranayama (breathing technique), Dhyana (meditation) and that karma.  Among many yoga styles sprouted out of the big world of Hatha Yoga is Bikram Yoga.

What is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram Yoga emphasizes the idea of certain temperatures and humidity in the yoga hall where yoga is practiced during the yoga practice. Because of its system of practicing in hot and humid temperature of 104 degree Fahrenheit i.e. 40 degree Celsius and humidity of 40 %, it is also called Hot Yoga. The reason behind the practice at this temperatures is interrelated with the Indian climate by the profounder of Bikram Yoga.

The heat allows the body to stretch more easily and in a safer manner. The heat also permits the circulation of oxygenated blood throughout the body. However, Bikram Chaudhary argues that any kind of medication and variation in the time, posture and style doesn’t make it Bikram Yoga. There is a striking difference between Bikram Yoga and Hot Yoga.

He asserts the point that Bikram Yoga Teacher Training can be provided by his direct and authorized Bikram Yoga Schools all around the world. He points out that they can take Teacher Training Course but they are not allowed to teach Teacher Training Course even to a single person without getting authorization from himself only.

In Bikram yoga, there is no system of music, clapping or hands-on instruction whereas Hot yoga may incorporate those things during the practice. Hot yoga can be practiced at the temperature ranging from 80-105 degree Fahrenheit but Bikram yoga has an exact measurement of temperature to follow. Furthermore, the timing is fixed to 90 minutes for Bikram Yoga which may be applicable in hot yoga it tends to be more flexible with time. The asana also can also be taken differently than those 26 postures given in the Bikram Yoga. In the system of Bikram Yoga, the hall must be carpeted with the mirror in front of the yoga hall which may not necessarily be the case in Hot Yoga. Only practicing in the hot temperature, it cannot be Bikram Yoga.

Bikram yoga is both hot and hard. It encompasses 26 Asanas including two pranayamas. All the asana practice and pranayama is designed to complete in 90 minutes class in a hot temperature room. It has been approved and taken as the practice applicable to all age groups. Irrespective of a person’s gender, age, race and position, everybody can practice it.

It also helps to vitalize the immune system and organs of the body. In the body, there are five systems which can be healed and addressed by the practice of yoga. They are the respiratory, digestive, nervous, spinal and circulatory system which can be cured and improved in the better manner even penetrating the energy into the very minute level of body i.e. atom. He states his firm belief on his system of yoga, “If you follow the dialogue and do the sequence to the best of your ability, you will live a better, healthier and more peaceful life.”

It is a belief of Bikram Chaudhary that the practice of Bikram yoga can heal all the problems of the body and make one live with healthy and quality life for 100 hundred years. In his interview in News World India, he further claims that he has brought the system which can help people to celebrate their 100th birthday. He analogizes the yoga hall of hundred people is like the biggest toilet in the world as all have carried the heavy amount of toxins and problems in the body. As one gets into the practice of Bikram Yoga, one purifies the toilet and becomes a brand new person with a vigorous body and energetic mind.

Bikram Yoga has 26 asanas and the reason behind that as Bikram Chaudhary says is that he corresponds and correlates the number of the English alphabet. Likewise, the asana also works gradually every issue of the body and mind if it is practiced the system he has advised and regulated.

In spite of its popular argument that Bikram Yoga is for everyone, it has been found very hard and difficult for many people. The asanas combined in a sequence are not the asanas practice which can be incompatible for many people. However, the asana given in the series look strenuous and difficult to practice for many.

The good point of Bikram Yoga is that each asana stretches and strengthens joints, ligaments, and muscles. The asana has been combined in a very practical sequence which helps to prepare for the next asana practice. Starting from breathing, the yoga class ends with the breathing whereas the savasana is placed almost middle part of the practice after the end of standing and sitting postures and before reclining postures.

It is argued that Bikram Yoga has been designed in such a scientific way that the practice of this style takes one into complete health addressing all the issues and parts of the body. It is expected to eliminate and alleviate all the toxins in the body. It has also been found to be highly efficacious for the developing the balance and strength of the body. In addition to its physical benefits, Bikram Yoga also leaves the greater impact for our balanced mind, concentration, patience increasing the level of balance of body, mind, and spirit including reduction of the stress and anxiety.

Bikram Yoga consists of following asanas and pranayama practice:

  1. Pranayama (Standing Deep Breathing)
  2. Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)
  3. Utkatasana (Awkward Pose)
  4. Gaurdasana (Eagle Pose)
  5. Dandayamana Janusirsasana (Standing Head to Knee Pose)
  6. Dandayamana Dhanurasana (Standing Bow Pose)
  7. Tuladandasana (Balancing Stick Pose)
  8. Dandayamana Vibhaktpada Paschimottanasana (Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose)
  9. Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
  10. Dandayamana Vibhaktapada Janusirsasana (Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose)
  11. Tadasana (Tree Pose)
  12. Padangusthasana (Toe Stand Pose)
  13. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
  14. Pawanmuktasana (Wind Removing Pose)
  15. Padahasthasana (Situp)
  16. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
  17. Salabhasana (Locust Pose)
  18. Purna Salabhasana (Full Locust Pose)
  19. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
  20. Suptavajrasana (Reclining Thunderbolt Pose)
  21. Ardhkurmasana (Half Tortoise Pose)
  22. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
  23. Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)
  24. Janusirsasana (Head to Knee Pose)
  25. Ardhamatsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fist Pose)
  26. Kapalbhati

Benefits of Bikram Yoga

Bikram yoga has the synergistic and cumulative effect to return the body to a balanced state. With its scientifically combined poses in a sequence, it offers the systematic way of creating sound and strong health and calm and equanimity of the mind. It’s the complete package of flexibility, strength, balance, gravity, and stamina. Followings are the benefits of Bikram Yoga:

  • It empowers the respiratory system and extremely famous yoga for reducing the fat of the body.
  • It has the greater effect on the overall health of the body and its fitness.
  • It also helps to relieve the arthritis strengthening and toning the leg muscles.
  • It supports to circulate the pure blood to the reproductive system and its circulation throughout the body cleansing internally.
  • It also improves the sciatic nerves flexibility and good for the hamstring muscles strength.
  • It is one of the best styles of practice for the balancing the body. It is very good practice for developing the balance of the body.
  • Posture practiced in this yoga helps send the blood to the heart cleansing the arteries and veins.
  • It has also the highly comprehensive effect on the lower back pain.
  • It also improves the metabolism and immune system of the body.
  • Asanas practiced in Bikram Yoga helps to relieve hemorrhoid problems as well as strengthening the knees, ankles, and feet.
  • It also helps to strengthen the arms, abdomen and thighs along with improving the flexibility.
  • Menstrual disorders, scoliosis, slipped discs and arthritis can be eliminated by the regular practice of Bikram Yoga.
  • The lungs get strengthened by the practice of Bikram Yoga while releasing the tension and pain in the neck and shoulders.
  • It also helps to improve the spine and back muscle strength and elasticity while working on the cold and sinus problems.
  • It is good practice to develop the mental clarity and stress reduction.
  • It increases the control of the mind and fitness of the body.
  • By the practice of Bikram Yoga, the cholesterol gets regulated in the blood.
  • It flushes the lymphatic system.
  • It strengthens the immune system.
  • It also balances the endocrine glands.
  • It helps to supply the oxygen and nutrients in the area of the body which has been blocked by the toxins.