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Bikram Yoga: benefits, safety and everything you need to know


Photo: Matt Cardy / Stringer / Getty Images

Bikram is for yoga what Tae-Bo is for kickboxing. Like Billy Blanks, Bikram Choudhury took a long-standing exercise and modified it to create a uniquely wrapped fitness franchise. I've been winded by some sexual allegations whirling around Choudhury, so there is. But that kind of super hot yoga is still commonly referred to as Bikram. If you want to stop this popular exercise with the controversy (we get it), people now also refer to 26-2, based on the 26 postures and two breathing patterns, as well as just traditional, hot yoga. If you choose a Bikram yoga class, you should not expect your teacher To demonstrate the movement, they are trained in Bikram to speak through the river as part of a moving meditation (listening to these hints forces the practitioners to do so ) Stop thinking and be in the moment). No matter where you practice in the world, the dialogue between teacher and student remains essentially the same (seriously, they follow a script).

Another constant: the sweaty smell! Each studio has a soft carpet that is more forgiving to joints than wooden floors. "Today, many studios have an antibacterial carpet that is cleaned regularly," says Maria McBride, owner and founder of Bikram Yoga Natick, Massachusetts. "So if it stinks when you go in, that's good, it's not dirt, it's sweat." "That's what we want," she says. (Skip the stench and try this Y7-inspired hot yoga flow at home.)

Here's everything else you need to know before you try Bikram Yoga.

What makes you hot? Yoga for the body?

Aside from building discipline, practice in a hot room: According to Choudhury, the exact sequence of 26 postures and two breathing exercises must be done within 90 minutes in a heated room (set to 1

00) -Degrees-plus, if it's really Bikram will be to allow the body to stretch, detoxify, relieve stress, cure chronic pain such as arthritis, joint pain, knee injuries, back problems, etc. Review, the potential health benefits of hot yoga are improved glucose tolerance (a better ability to Sugar), blood lipid profile (a measure of cholesterol and fats in the blood) and bone density. However, research is limited when it comes to whether heated yoga has advantages over unheated yoga. A small study suggested that hot yoga is no longer beneficial, at least when it comes to increasing the heart health of adults. And if your main goal in training is weight loss, hot yoga should not be your first choice. One study found that it was after the time .

how hot hot yoga lessons burn at the same time as nimble walking.

Expect a hot room if you try Bikram Yoga – with a temperature of 105 degrees at 40 percent humidity, to be exact. Entering a sauna area should not be a problem, at least in the middle of winter. The hard part stays there for 90 minutes. "If you feel unwell, your gut instinct is to drink water, wipe sweat, swallow air, panic, look around, and then run out of the room," says Kristana Bergman, the two-time British Yoga Asana. Meisterin holds a doctorate in psychology and teaches at Bikram Yoga Richmond in London. "If you feel dizzy, sit down and concentrate on overcoming the ailments of the breath," she advises. "Trust that you can recover in less than a minute simply by closing your mouth and breathing through your nose."

What should bikram yoga beginners consider?

Show up early – this golden rule is most important for newbies. Try to arrive at least 30 minutes earlier to allow yourself time, log in, settle on your mat, and get used to the heat, Camaya says. Take a minute to introduce yourself to the teacher and inform him or her if you have injuries that you work through so that he can guide you through the postures without worsening problems, she adds. (See also: Yoga for Beginners: A Guide to the Different Types of Yoga)

Sweating the ass is inevitable. Therefore, choose lightweight clothing that is breathable (ie: no cotton) and will make the heat more bearable. "I like to wear shorts that are above the knee so that I can see more of my leg – and contract muscles," says McBride. "I also like to wear a sports bra so I can see my stomach." Do not be afraid to show some skin. Each studio has an unspoken "body-pos rule" of "no judgments". (Related: The best yoga pants that are not Lululemon)

How much water should you drink?

Wondering how much water you should drink before a hot yoga – is it like cycling during an intense exercise, for example? If you get to a well-hydrated Bikram, you do not need to drink much during the session, says McBride. Try drinking up to two liters (8 to 9 cups) of water throughout the day, but if you can not reach those numbers, try to compensate for them by chugging in front of the studio. Too much water too quickly could upset your stomach and make you feel sick in the classroom. The same goes for practice, so sip if you have to, but do not overdo it. "Water in the stomach does not spill so well," says McBride. "If you feel dehydrated at the beginning of the lesson, you'll be more relaxed about the posture." The goal is not to master every posture, but to hear your body and pay attention to yourself.

What should you eat before? ?

Try not to eat for at least two hours before class, suggests Michelle "Mochi" Camaya, who teaches at Bikram Park Slope in Brooklyn, NY. "A full stomach can be uncomfortably inhibitive if you try to stretch and stretch your muscles to reach the full heat range," she explains. But do not be hungry. Camaya recommends eating half a banana or cup of applesauce to increase energy. Although she can take these foods up to 10 minutes before class, she is different for everyone. So test what works best for you. Re-hydrate after the lesson and replenish the electrolytes lost during training with coconut water or Nuun added water.

Is hot yoga bad for you?

A study by the American Council on Exercise Science pointed out that training is so extreme temperatures may not be safe. The study found that the indoor temperature of participants approached 104 degrees, the lowest temperature when heat-related illness and heat stroke occur, according to ACE. If you choose to practice, avoid pushing too far to reduce risks. And as with any kind of exercise, there is a clear difference between discomfort and pain. While most, if not all, of the posture cause some discomfort, no sharp pain should trigger, says McBride. If you feel the latter, go back slowly. There is no need to be too aggressive and to force an attitude – in fact, less is more in yoga. "If you can not (yet) do anything, just try the first percent. Then you might make two percent in one week, "says McBride. "You still benefit from the same health benefits of hot yoga, even if you do not fully express the posture." (Read more about whether hot yoga is really safe.)

Do you really need a hot yoga towel?

It helps to bring a specially designed for hot yoga towel on the mat so that the sweat does not drip on the mat. But instead of relying on an extra for face and body, let it rain – it's part of the practice! "Your sweat helps maintain normal body temperature," says Bergman. "If you wipe it off, you disrupt the homeostasis, the body's natural, intelligent, and highly adaptable mechanism for self-regulation." Embrace the rain! (These are the best yoga mats for hot yoga.)

When can you expect the benefits of heated yoga?

Bergman suggests giving the hot yoga at least two tries before you judge it. "At the end of the lesson, I tell first-graders that they have to come back soon, because the second grade is the fun class," she says. "At least once a day, someone who studies this yoga will say, 'You know, I did not believe you, but my second grade was great! "(Related: The Not-So-Zen Thoughts That You Definitely Have A Hot Yoga Class)

A good attitude is the key, especially as everyone in the room provides each other with energy. "Come into the room to learn and record new material," says Camaya. "And do not take yourself too seriously, people – it's just yoga!"

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