Benefits and Risks of Bikram Yoga
The Benefits of Bikram
You probably took one look at Sasangasana or Rabbit pose and thought, “Why on earth would anyone want to do that to themselves?" The truth is that regular yoga practice can be enormously beneficial, physically and psychologically. Although some of the stronger claims about the benefits of practicing Bikram Yoga remain a little doubtful, it's generally accepted that practicing Bikram Yoga (or almost any form of Hatha Yoga) is beneficial to your body.
Some benefits of regular Bikram Yoga practice include:
- Increased muscle tone and stamina
- Increased metabolism and fat burning
- Improved lung capacity and circulation for better cardiovascular health
- Better posture
- Increased flexibility and lubrication of the joints, ligaments and tendons
- Better balance (which along with flexibility can help prevent injury)
- Better sleeping patterns
- Decreased muscle tension
- Increased focus and concentration
- Increased sense of vitality
- Decreased anxiety and depression
The jury is still out on whether Bikram yoga can solve all the world’s ills. Some of the outrageous claims of ardent Bikram Yoga supporters included:
- Curing chronic diseases?
- Reversing Diabetes?
- Global healing?
- Immunity to diseases through improved t-cell functioning?
There is no science to support these claims. In fact, it's important to remember that Bikram Yoga comes with some risk and is not for every one.
Is There Anyone Who Should Not Practice Bikram Yoga?
Although Bikram Yoga can offer benefits, due to the heat and vigorous nature of the poses there are some groups who should consult their doctor before practicing Bikram Yoga. Discuss practicing Bikram Yoga with your doctor if you possess any of the following:
- High Blood Pressure
- Very High Blood Pressure
- Pregnancy (especially pregnant women who are new to Yoga)
- Back Problems
- Chronic Bronchitis
Although none of these condidtions should absolutely prevent you from trying yoga (jn fact some of them might be helped by regular yoga practice), it's essential that you consult with your doctor to make sure that he agrees that the vigorous nature of Bikram Yoga is right for you.
You should also note that Bikram classes always consist of the same 26 poses practiced in the same order. If you're someone who requires a lot of variety to maintain interest in an exercise program, you may find it difficult to stick with Bikram.
So how do you find a Bikram Yoga class? Read on to find Bikram Yoga studios in your area.