Bikram Choudhury was born in the city of Calcutta (now Kolkata), in the year 1946. At the tender age of only four years old, Bikram began yoga training under the strict guidance of Bishnu Ghosh, one of the most popular physical culturists of that time, at his ‘College of Physical Education’. Bishnu is the younger brother of Paramahansa Yogananda (Author of ‘The Autobiography of a Yogi’ and founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles).
Bikram was extremely dedicated, devoting four to six hours every day towards it. When he was only thirteen years old, he won the National India Yoga Championship and kept claiming the title for the next three years also. Thereafter he retired as the undisputed ‘All-India National Yoga Champion’. At the age of seventeen years, Bikram Choudhury got badly injured in the knee during a weight-lifting accident. Renowned doctors, from as far as Europe, gave up the chances of his ever walking again.
However, having faith in his teacher, Bishnu Ghosh, and his yoga techniques, Bikram went back to his school. Six months later, he experienced total recovery in his knee. Thereafter, Bishnu asked Bikram Choudhary to start a number of Yoga schools in India. Bikram received fantastic response from people and his yoga schools became extremely successful. Then, again at Bishnu’s insistence, Bikram traveled to Japan and opened two yoga schools. Since that time, he has being promoting the curative techniques of Yoga therapy around the world.
Bengal Tiger Strength and British Bulldog Determination
Bikram Yoga is an efficient exercise regime that combines body, mind and spirit to reach a simple task- optimal health. It raises the practitioner to their highest self by increasing their awareness of body, mind and spirit. Bikram yoga caters to all levels in one class- there’s no need to get your feet behind your head or be able to invert yourself into a handstands. This yoga is about getting your body to move while building on your personal strength, flexibility and balance.
Is Bikram Yoga a cardiovascular workout and can I lose weight?
You will find Bikram Yoga the perfect challenge to your fitness level and getting your heart rate up. Each posture combines flexibility, strength and balance to work your whole body from your bones to your skin. With persistence, patience, and dedication, you can improve your overall body shape and fitness. You can expect to lose weight over time based on your practice but remember you will also be building some muscle mass, so expect to see an overall bodyshape change.
How many times a week should I practice?
For a start, get in as many classes into your 31 Day Intro pass as possible to find different teachers, times slots and class sizes you like. Some people will find benefit from 2-3 times a week, while others feel better at 5 times a week; a nice consistent practice is what you are looking for. The more you’re able to come, the more benefits you will receive- if you are persistent you will get it, if you are consistent you will keep it!
Is Bikram Yoga a religion?
No, Bikram Yoga is hatha yoga. Yoga is a way of life, rather than a belief or religion. Basically, hatha yoga consists of mostly asanas (poses or postures) and is understood as physical exercise. Yoga’s combined focus on mindfulness, breathing and physical movements brings health benefits with regular participation. Yoga participants report better sleep, increased energy levels and muscle tone, relief from muscle pain and stiffness, improved circulation and overall better general health.
Improved Spinal Integrity and Nervous System Function
By moving the body and thus the spine into all ranges of motion, the student actively opens the joints of the spinal column and strengthens the supportive muscle groups around the spinal column.
This ensures optimal spinal joint function and minimal interference to nerve pathways between the brain and the body.
How does Bikram Yoga Heal from Injury and Disease?
There are certainly tremendous restorative benefits from the practice of any style of yoga, as the student combines conscious breathing with particular movements that stretch, strengthen and stimulate all body systems: cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, excretory, immune, integumentary, reproductive, respiratory, nervous and musculoskeletal.
The heated environment, however, achieves these positive changes more quickly for the student conducting a regular practice. The Bikram yoga practice beautifully compliments other styles of yoga and exercise the student may perform and may also compliment any type of body work, such as chiropractic, that the student may be receiving.
Safer and Easier Stretching and Opening of Musculoskeletal Structures
The core temperature of the body may rise safely by about .5 to 1.0 degree and the superficial soft tissue structures, including the fascia, ligaments, muscles and tendons will warm up quickly and allow the student to move further, more comfortably and more safely in all directions than while exercising in a cooler environment.
Will I be Detoxing with this yoga and all this sweat?
Very shortly after a class begins, the student will begin sweating as the skin, the largest eliminative organ of the body, begins a cleansing detoxification. Students are encouraged to hydrate before class, are allowed to drink water during class and are reminded to re-hydrate after class.
A student’s daily intake of water often increases dramatically when they begin Bikram Yoga and this has a healthy flushing and cleansing effect on the body.
Why the heat?
The room is intentionally heated to 38 degrees to warm up the body and assist with circulation, promoting detoxification and providing optimum conditions to improve the functions of the body’s internal systems.
The heat provides a challenging environment which increases your strength, concentration, endurance and stamina. It also allows you to work safely and deeply into the postures, giving faster results.
Here are 10 good reasons:
- Warm muscles burn fat more effectively.
- When we stretch fat it has no where to sit so it redistributes back to the blood stream to then be reused as energy.
- Speeds up the breakdown of glucose and fatty acids.
- A warmer temperature produces a fluid like stretch that allows for greater range of motion in the joints.
- Heart rate becomes elevated which improves the cardiovascular system (heart and lungs).
- Blood becomes thinner which clears the circulatory system.
- Promotes sweating which assists the detoxification process using the body’s largest organ (the skin)
- Muscles, fascia and connective tissue become more elastic allowing for greater flexibility with less chance of injury.
- Capillaries respond to heat by dilating, this allows more oxygen to muscles, tissues glands and organs helping with the removal of waste products.
- Teaches you determination, and focus in a challenging environment.
What is Bikram Yoga?
Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. Each posture stretches and strengthens specific muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints needed for the next posture. The Bikram method also stimulates the organs, glands, and nerves moving fresh oxygenated blood to 100% of the body helping to restore all systems to a healthy working order.
How it works
Bikram scientifically designed this 90 minute program to deliver total health through the balancing and strengthening of every system in the body in order to prevent illness and injury, promote weight loss and limit the effects of aging. The series is dynamic and exhilarating. The series of postures combine skills of concentration, patience, determination and self control that increase mental clarity and reduce stress. The room is heated to warm your muscles preventing injury and allowing for a deeper workout.
What do I need to bring?
If you forget/don’t own any of the above, we sell and also hire them:
Mat hire: $3
Towel hire: $3
Water: $2 / $5