Like many other forms of yoga, the Bikram , with its 26 postures, can help reduce your stress and make you feel better and more comfortable, physically and mentally.
What sets Bikram yoga apart from other yogas is the way you practice it and where you are – in a room heated to around 41 ° C. Sometimes called ” hot yoga ” (although there are other forms of hot yoga) Bikram yoga can go further in stretching and thus reduce the risk of injury .
However, yoga experts do not all agree on the benefits and safety of Bikram, especially when it comes to beginners making their foray into the world of yoga. In the following article, two qualified yoga instructors give us their impressions of the Bikram yoga initiation.
Erica Cowan, a yoga instructor at Bikram Yoga Canada in North York , Ontario, is studying to become a naturopath.
Hema Murty, yoga instructor and owner of Shanti Consulting in Ottawa, Ontario, has a Masters degree in Yogic Philosophy and Sanskrit from Karnataka State University in India.
Is it recommended for beginners to learn yoga with Bikram style?
Cowan : Absolutely! All students have a learning curve when they embark on their journey to the heart of Bikram Yoga , but after two or three sessions, they will already begin to adapt to the warm environment and postures. In fact, the Bikram yoga set of 26 postures and the two breathing exercises are called “the Bikram yoga series for beginners” and specifically designed for beginners.
Murty : Yoga aims at the communion of the physical, mental and spiritual spheres of the human being. To be able to practice yoga well, one must try to eliminate all possible distractions around oneself. Therefore, adding heat and sweat to the session would defeat the goals of beginner yoga.
Why is Bikram yoga so popular? Does it bring benefits that other forms of yoga do not usually provide?
Cowan : The Bikram is remarkably effective in instilling vitality and increasing overall well-being. Indeed, heat facilitates changes in the body and helps prevent injuries. People do not necessarily come back for the heat as such, but rather because they have found an activity that flourishes.
Murty : The craze for Bikram yoga is a passing fad that changes traditional yoga. No search results demonstrate not just that it is better for the muscles to stretch at a heat of 41 ° C .
Since the basis of Bikram yoga is to perform postures in a heated room, how do you know when it is safe to practice and when there is a risk of excess heat?
Cowan : It’s important to sweat. As soon as you feel too hot and do not sweat, you may be overheated. I noticed that students are very familiar with their limitations and generally do not allow them to go beyond them.
Murty : During an exercise session, you must constantly monitor your condition. Again, the body does not like being pushed to extremes. For example, is it better to run when it’s 41 degrees or when it’s 15 degrees? Riders know that it is harder to breathe when it’s 41 degrees and they do not plan long runs in such conditions.
Are there people who should avoid practicing Bikram yoga?
Cowan : Young children are advised not to practice Bikram because they do not sweat as well as teenagers or adults. On the other hand, although experienced practitioners who become pregnant are welcome, it is recommended that pregnant women with no previous experience wait until after delivery to indulge in Bikram.
Murty : For sure, whoever does not put his nose out at 41 ° C; for example, people who have high blood pressure should not practice Bikram yoga.