Bikram yoga is one of the best ways to honor your body and keep it running smoothly. This can be one of the most daunting types of yoga, though. Why? Because of the heat!

Bikram yoga is done in a 104 degree room for 90 minutes(1). It sounds like, and is, a difficult workout, but it offers so many wonderful benefits to the body. This form of yoga can aid sore muscles and ease migraine pain; Bikram can also increase mental clarity, weight loss and more(5).

The benefits of Bikram include relaxation, looser muscles, stress reduction, improved balance and flexibility, improved libido, better skin, a decrease in arthritis pain and increased energy. It is also a great route to weight loss as Bikram helps your body burn calories and rev up your metabolism. And if you have breathing problems from asthma or allergies, Bikram can even make it easier for you to breathe(5).

For those who run or lift weights, practicing Bikram the day after a hard run or tough workout can really ease sore muscles. Most bodybuilders know the term ‘DOMS’, or delayed onset muscle soreness. This is natural and typically happens the day after putting the body through a hard workout. DOMS is simply the pain that comes from tearing your muscles when you weight train–this is a natural process, it is how the muscles grow–but it can cause soreness. Bikram, through the heat of the room and the stretching from yoga, can alleviate this pain(3).

The same with a run. After a long run, like a 5K, 10K, half marathon…marathon…the muscles are sore, and Bikram can be like a nice warm bath. You will get the benefits of the stretch and the heat(4). In a study by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, this type of yoga was also proven to increase leg strength, something both bodybuilders and runners will love to hear(3).

And even though it is typically water weight, you will actually lose a pound or two while you do this yoga practice, each class! This workout is a true calorie burner, so repeated practice can speed weight loss. The average calorie burn per class is around 1,000 calories. Those who practice Bikram need to be sure to eat well during the day, and take in a lot of water prior to class. Do not eat within an hour of your practice though, as your stomach may reject the food due to the heat of the classroom. Bring water with you to rehydrate throughout the class(5).

Bikram also increases vitality and makes you look good! This means that you will have more spring in your step and even feel younger. The heat opens up the pores, clarifies them, and gives you a glow. Bikram yoga also works to detoxify the body, which is a huge plus. Increased mental clarity also comes from Bikram. Those who practice it have sharper minds and clearer thinking. With repeated practice your memory can even get better(5).

Migraine pain may be alleviated by Bikram. Everyone’s headache pain is different, especially when it comes to migraines, but the heat does open up the veins, increasing blood flow to the head and this, often, relieves migraine pain2. If you are a sufferer, why not try it? What do you have to lose, aside from the pain?

Bikram yoga has also been proven to reduce stress. Stress relief can aid in weight loss, too. When the body is stressed it releases the hormone cortisol, which will hold onto fat. If you are less stressed, this won’t happen(5).

Another way that Bikram aids the body is that it helps it stretch more deeply. This makes your body stronger and more flexible. Not only can this make you look and feel leaner, but it can help you avoid injury(5).

There are just so many benefits to practicing Bikram. If you’ve been on the fence, why not try a class this week? Many studios offer a discount to first time clients, and often even a free class.

Sources:

  1. http://yoga.isport.com/yoga-guides/bikram-yoga-basics
  2. http://www.bikramyoga.com/BikramYoga/Migraine.php
  3. http://www.livestrong.com/article/415115-bikram-yoga-for-weight-training
  4. http://www.runtonamaste.com/2009/12/bikram-yoga-running-lovers-forever.html
  5. http://bikramyogamemphis.com/2011/05/13-extraordinary-benefits-of-bikram-yoga

Reference

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