Bikram yoga is a type of yoga that is becoming increasing popular these days.
Bikram (pronounced BEAK-Rahm), was founded by Bengali yoga teacher Bikram Choudhury. He came to the US in the 1970s via Hawaii and California.
While other types of yoga focus mainly on the poses, or asanas, Bikram yoga emphasizes physical strength.
It is commonly referred to as hot yoga, though not all hot yoga these days is Bikram.
Bikram Yoga Boot Camp
It is also commonly referred to by others who do yoga as “boot camp.”
Bikram is relatively simple in some ways because it uses only 2 breathing exercises and 26 Hatha yoga postures out of the thousands available.
The goal is to improve the strength of the body by doing the same pattern in each class every day with no variations, as if you were being drilled in the army.
Each classes is 90 minutes, goes through all the postures, and is performed in a hot and humid studio.
Temperatures range from 80˚F to 110˚F and the relative humidity is kept at around 75%.
The heat is believed to burn more calories and help people lose weight.
It is also believed to emulate the conditions in India under which yoga was first developed and practiced.
The heat is also supposed to help boost the immune system and increase willpower.
The down side is that Bikram yoga constitutes a vigorous workout in conditions which could be very dangerous to anyone with an underlying health issue such as a heart condition, or those with joint issues.
Dehydration due to the extreme heat, vigorousness and sweating is also common, and can pose a serious health risk.
Dehydration can lead to an irregular heart beat and to lower blood volume, since most of our important bodily fluids are made up of water.
Low blood volume can lead to hypovolemic shock which can lead to death if not treated promptly.
One other thing to note is Bikram is often referred to as ‘cult-like’ rather than warm and welcoming.
Bikram yoga is not for everyone. But that’s okay.
There are a range of yogas to choose from, so pick a studio and a yoga style that are safest and healthiest for you.
Watch this beautiful yoga demonstration by International and Nation Yoga Champion, Brandy Lyn Winfield at Bikram Yoga San Jose: