The Essentials of Bikram Yoga

Health & Lifestyle, Mental Health



One of the hottest trends to hit America in recent years is the international phenomenon known as Bikram Yoga. Created in 1976, Bikram Yoga is a version of Hatha Yoga performed in a heated room. This system of yoga was created by Bikram Choudhury. Born in 1946, Choudhury began practicing yoga four to six hours a day at the age of four in Calcutta, India. In 2006, the number of Bikram Yoga studios increased by almost 500 locations.

What is Bikram Yoga?



  Bikram Yoga photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Bikram Yoga photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Bikram Yoga is a combination of 26 yoga postures and two breathing exercises done in sequence during a 90 minute class. This yoga is practiced in a room that must be heated to

105°F with a 40% humidity. These 26 postures are said to work every single aspect of the body including circulation, ligaments, internal organs, muscles. The heat allows the postures to work more deeply on each part of the body. It also allows the body to move more fluidly as it moves through each pose and promotes the accelerated release of toxins through the sweat generated during the exercise. People who practice Bikram Yoga claim to experience improved health, greater relaxation, and increased energy.


Where Can Bikram Yoga Be Practiced?


Bikram Yoga studios are located all over the world, on six continents. In order to open a studio, a person must be a certified instructor and be capable of holding a class in a room that can be heated to the recommended degrees. Books and videos can also be purchased that will lead people through the different yoga poses. It is recommended that a person place a space heater in their bathroom, along with a tub of hot water, if they are to practice Bikram Yoga at home.


Who Can Teach Bikram Yoga?


Bikram Yoga is best practiced under the guidance of a certified instructor. All instructors are certified through a training program conducted by Yoga Masters Bikram and Rajashree Choudhury and several senior teachers. The training is held during a nine week program that covers the poses, anatomy, health benefits, philosophy, and nutrition. Certification costs approximately $11,500.

The application process is strict, and certification is not guaranteed. In order to apply, a person must be over 21, have practiced Bikram yoga with a certified instructor for at least six months, and provide a letter of recommendation. Not all who attend certification will pass. Exams are given in order to test the students’ understanding of anatomy. Class attendance is mandatory. Re-certification is also required. Courses and retreats are presented throughout the year for those who wish to continue teaching Bikram Yoga.

Created by a man who fell in love with the practice of yoga at the young age of four, Bikram Yoga offers people around the world the opportunity to engage in a unique and healthy way of exercise. The yoga poses alone increase circulation and improve flexibility. The heat allows these benefits to reach a higher level while releasing toxins from the body. Bikram Yoga is best practiced under the supervision of a certified instructor.



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