While yoga has been practiced around the world for centuries, Bikram yoga or hot yoga has become increasing popular in recent years. At Active Forever we believe in the power of the informed consumer, so we've put together some information to help you understand Bikram yoga and hot yoga.
What is hot yoga? What is Bikram yoga?
The terms hot yoga and Bikram yoga are often used as synonyms to indicate a series of yoga poses done in a heated room which is usually maintained between 95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Yoga master Bikram Choudhury developed a specific series of 26 yoga poses, which are performed twice in a specific flow sequence during a 90 minute class. Bikram yoga specifies everything from the layout and temperature of the Bikram yoga room to the specialty certifications of Bikram yoga instructors. Hot yoga is very similar but there may be variations in the length of the class, hot yoga poses, frequency of the poses, and the hot yoga room temperature.
Why Hot Yoga?
If you've ever visited Phoenix, Arizona in the middle of the summer you may wonder why anyone would pay to spend 90 minutes sweltering through a series of yoga poses in 100 degree heat. Does the heated room really add anything to your yoga practice? Hot yoga teachers explain your body becomes more flexible in the heated room so you're able to move more deeply and safely into yoga poses than in rooms at cooler temperatures. For people discouraged from trying yoga because they aren't flexible, Bikram yoga offers an opportunity to relax your muscles for better flexibility.
Whether you are a yoga beginner or you regularly practice yoga, the heated room in hot yoga can accelerate all the benefits of yoga.
Bikram Yoga / Hot Yoga Benefits
With your body more flexible in a hot yoga room Bikram yoga helps eliminate injuries in addition to promoting sweating which helps eliminate toxins from the body. Bikram yoga was specifically designed to warm up and stretch the body's muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the order they should be for maximum safety and fitness as scientifically indicated. Hot yoga not only benefits the body's muscles, ligaments, and tendons but also the internal organs so that all of the body's cells are functioning at more optimal levels. Hot yoga has also been shown to increase circulation, oxygen supply, and proper use of oxygen in the body.
Your metabolism also improves as a result of improved blood circulation and oxygen to the body. Additionally, the large amount of calories hot yoga burns makes weight loss another benefit of Bikram yoga and hot yoga.
Bikram and hot yoga focus on the breath (as all forms of yoga do) with deep breathing exercises throughout the heated yoga classes which helps to relax your mind.
Hot Yoga Tips - Tips for Bikram Yoga
One of the most important hot yoga tips is to make sure you are properly hydrated! Drink plenty of water before and after your Bikram yoga class in addition to bringing water to drink during the hot yoga class.
It's essential to have your own yoga mat for hot yoga classes because of how much you will sweat in the heated yoga room. You can use a basic yoga mat, and place a towel on top of the yoga mat to try to help avoid slipping from all the sweat but once you use a hot yoga mat you'll never go back to fighting a damp towel on top of your sweat-drenched yoga mat for the entire hot yoga class.
The AgSilver CleanMat Hot Yoga Mat is the ideal hot yoga mat for hot yoga and Bikram yoga classes. This two-sided yoga mat has two different levels of grip firmness to help you avoid slipping while sweating, but the most widely loved feature on the CleanMat yoga mat is the built-in antimicrobial protection. This hygienic hot yoga mat stays free of odors, and is washable with the antimicrobial agents remaining active for the life of the yoga mat. If you suffer from allergies or are environmentally conscious consumer, you'll love that the CleanMat Hot Yoga Mat is both PVC and latex free.
Bring a towel with you to hot yoga classes to periodically wipe away sweat. Stay as comfortable as possible by wearing minimal clothing (shorts for men, shorts and a sports bra for women), and choose clothing made of sweat-wicking fabrics. Half an hour into the class everyone will be sweating profusely and nobody will be looking at what you look like or are wearing.
Most hot yoga instructors advise refraining from eating anything in the two hours before your hot yoga class. Remember, though, hot yoga is an intense work out so make sure you've taken in proper nourishment throughout the day before doing Bikram yoga or hot yoga.
When first starting out with hot yoga or Bikram yoga listen to and be kind to your body. Very few people participate in all the poses for the entire duration of the hot yoga class in the beginning. Prior to the class talk to the hot yoga instructor to let them know you are new to hot yoga. Try to find a spot in the heated class closer to the doors, and where you can easily see the Bikram yoga instructor. Any time you feel dizzy or faint, take a few moments to rest by sitting or lying on your hot yoga mat before continuing with the hot yoga poses.
Hot yoga and Bikram yoga are not recommended for pregnant women. If you have a health condition talk to your health provider before taking hot yoga or Bikram yoga classes.
Is Hot Yoga or Bikram Yoga Right for Me?
Certainly, if you are looking for a new workout with both physical and mental benefits don't be afraid to try hot yoga or Bikram yoga. Hot yoga classes are open to people of all ages and fitness levels. Active Forever offers a variety of yoga mats for all your yoga needs, and we're one of the few companies which sell the one-of-a-kind AgSilver CleanMat Hot Yoga Mat ideal for hot yoga and Bikram yoga classes.
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