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What is Bikram Yoga?

A common inquiry from all those interested in learning about the benefits and practice of Yoga, is: ‘What is Bikram Yoga?’

Developed by Bikram Choudhury in the early 1970’s, Bikram Yoga has roots in traditional Hatha Yoga and is a system of yoga founded by Bikram Choudhury. Synthesized from traditional Hatha Yoga techniques, a session runs for 90 minutes and consists of a set series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises.

Bikram devised the 26 postures sequence known as Bikram Hot Yoga, founded Bikram’s Yoga College of India and continues today to spread the therapeutic value of Hatha Yoga to the western world.

Bikram Yoga is ideally practiced in a room heated to 105°F (≈ 40.6°C) with a humidity of 40%.

The goal of Bikram Yoga is general health; Bikram Choudhury states that a heated studio helps deeper stretching and injury prevention, while reducing stress and tension. Bikram claims that his system stimulates, and restores health to, every muscle, joint, and organ of the body, while at the same time increasing circulation to all the organs.

Bikram yoga works by the tourniquet effect: stretching, balancing (using gravity), and creating pressure all at the same time. The blood supply in arteries and veins is cut off, creating pressure. When released, a lock gate effect is created, causing blood to rush through veins and arteries, flushing them out.

Bikram Choudhury personally trains and certifies his instructors to ensure that his methods and philosophy are preserved and properly taught. To be certified as an instructor in the Bikram Method of Yoga, an instructor must complete an intensive nine-week training session requiring over 500 hours of study.

Information sourced from the Bikram Hot Yoga official website and Wikipedia.

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