Scantily-clad and slippery with sweat, hot yoga participants pretzel themselves into 26 floor and standing postures during 90 minute sessions.The results are both long-term and instantaneous, the former including improved strength and balance. Immediately after leaving the room, you are calm, cool and collected. Well, anything feels cool after 105 degrees. The benefits of Bikram vastly overshadow the pitfalls of leaving with a bundle of clothes drenched in sweat. Though the sessions are long when compared to durations of other exercises, as little as bi-weekly attendance is enough to reap the benefits.
How Hot Yoga was Born
The 26-posture yoga sequence, developed by India-born Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s, is performed in studios kept at a toasty 105 degrees F. Many may wonder why exactly the thought of yoga in brutally hot rooms, often referred to as “torture chambers,” would appeal to anyone. According to bikramyoga.com, “yoga changes the construction of your body from the inside out…so before you change it you have to soften it, because a warm body is a flexible body.” In a typical session, men lose around ten pounds of water weight and women around 3 to 5. Depending on your weight, you can expect to burn, on average, between 350 to 700 calories an hour doing Bikram Yoga. This type of yoga aims to flush the body of toxins as a “cleaning process,” another explanation for the temperature that brings a summer in Las Vegas to the mental forefront.
People swear by the benefits brought by practicing Bikram yoga. The practice is growing in popularity, in part due to its celebrity following. Lady Gaga, Ashton Kutcher, Jenny McCarthy and David Bekham all practice Bikram yoga and rave about the benefits. Practitioners claim lessened joint and muscle pain, and athletes feel their other sports are easier to perform. Instructors who often give auctioneers a run for their money lead the sessions, explaining the health benefits of each posture at break-neck pace and guiding novices and seasoned experts through the whole class.
So that just leaves one question: Are you ready to sweat? If so, just pop on over to our friends at SoMuchYoga.com to read the Beginners Guide to Bikram Yoga by Sebastian.