Bikram Choudhary was the phenomenon from the east that took the American fitness industry by storm. He rose to become the first Yoga Rock star with his flamboyant lifestyle, multimillion-dollar empire, a fleet of Ferraris and Bentleys, 1800+ franchise studios at one time. Bikram said to have taught President Nixon and Elvis Presley among other prominent people from politics and show business. HOT yoga became synonymous with Bikram Yoga.
“You are never too old, never too bad, never too late, and never too sick to start from scratch again.”
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Rigorous yet Unique Sessions
With a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing techniques, one and half hours long yoga session was like going through the “fire of Hell”. These were his own words which he frequently used during the sessions. His teaching style, at times, was commanding, ruthless, rude, and abusive to a certain extent but also it was mixed with empathy, motivation, jokes, and comedy. He uses to sing in a deep soulful voice after scrupulously taking all students through the rigorous routine of the session.
Sessions Under Extreme Heat and Humidity
Apart from a particular set of Asanas and Pranayama, Bikram Yoga was particular about two other external factors namely Heat and Humidity. The temperature around 104 Fahrenheit and 40 percent humidity in the room were to be maintained at all times during the session. America’s maximum average temperature of 70.7 F or 21.5 C is in Florida and a minimum average temperature o 26.6F or -3C is in Alaska. At first people of America were taken aback by the kind of heat and sweat of practice area. Many said it was like going to SAUNA BATH. But as they continued practicing in heated halls, they were mesmerized by the results.
Word of Mouth Played Well for Bikram Yoga
Such was the effect that BIKRAM YOGA grew astoundingly and astronomically without any marketing or advertising budgets. Word of mouth was the most effective advertising and the practitioners became the brand ambassadors.
Nausea, stretch pain, dehydration, and dizziness were happening to everyone under the heat and humidity. Bikram had a way to instructing his pupils to take these conditions as teething problems and focus on benefits that are about to blossom with practice. And it did happen. More and more people started to feel better and rejuvenated after a few sessions, people discovered new flexibility, Soon people were hooked to the sweaty, humid, muggy, clamp, and moist practice halls.
The Asanas in Bikram yoga
Out of the 84 traditional HATHYOGA postures, 26 were systematically designed in a sequence. This series not only aimed for curative but also for preventive measures. At a physical level, the practice of these Asanas stimulated each and every organ, gland, muscle, and system. Each Asana was so performed, as to prepare for the next in sequence. The coherency in the method systematically leads to Health maintenance and disease prevention.
The sequence is as follows:-
- Pranayama- A Breathing Technique while standing straight
- Ardh Chandrasan- Half Moon Pose. For Sideway stretching
- Pada-Hastasan- Hands to feet Pose. Forward bend
- Utkatasan- Awkward Pose. Chair Pose
- Garunasan- Eagle Pose. Girdle stretch
- Dandayamana Dhanurasan- Standing Bow Pose. Chest opening
- Tuladandasana- Balancing stick Pose.
- Dandayamana Vibhakt Paschimoottanasan- Extendended Leg Forward bending Pose
- Trikonasana – Triangle Pose. Sideway stretch
- Dandayamana Bibhaktapda Janushirasana- Alternate leg Head to knee Pose. Forward bend
- Tadasana- tree Pose. Balancing posture
- Padangustasana- Toe stand Pose. Balancing posture.
- Savasana- Corpse Pose. relaxation
- Pavanmuktasan- Abdominal Gas removing Pose. Detoxification posture
- Bhujangasana- Cobra Pose. Spine stretching
- Salabasana- Locust Pose. Spine stretching
- Poorna-Salabasana- Complete Locust Pose. Spine balancing and stretching
- Dhanurasan-Bow Pose. Spine strengthening
- Supta-Vajra Asana- Sleeping Firm Pose. Frontal Stretch
- Ardh-Kurmasan- Half Tortoise Pose. Forward relaxation
- Ushtraasana- Camel Pose. Chest opening. Frontal stretch
- Sasangasana- Rabbit Pose
- Janushirasana- Alternate head to knee pose
- Paschimottanasana- Head to Knee Pose
- Ardh-Matsyendra Asana- Half Spine Twisting Pose
- Vajrasana-Firm Pose
- KapalBhati- Exhalation technique
Benefits of Bikram yoga
The sequence of Breathing Techniques and Asanas, when practiced regularly has therapeutic and preventative effects. As the practitioner gets more adept in the practice, the following happens:-
- Bodyweight loss and toning of muscle mass
- A deep-rooted sense of belonging, calm and peaceful thought process
- Energy and attitude to do more with vibrancy and vivaciousness
- Increase in strength, stamina, balance, and flexibility
- Lesser instances chronic injuries and illnesses.
- The correct way of breathing
- Posture correction while standing, sleeping, and sitting.
- Better sleep
- Oxygenation and sweating aids in youthful looks and elasticity of the skin.
- Better sexual stamina due to reduced stress levels
- Better Lung and cardiac capacity
- Strength and flexibility of spine increases manifold
- Proper nourishment of cerebral area leads to better memory, learning and heightened sense of out of the box thinking
- Focus and concentration improves and mental equanimity gives clearer perspectives
Since this method works at all systems of the body. Cardiovascular, lymphatic, nervous, endocrine, digestive, reproductive, muscular, and skeletal, all get a balanced flow of energy, blood circulation, and oxygen supply. Sweating profusely greatly alleviate the removal of toxins from the body. As a result, people mentioned the ailments they are no longer suffering after incessant following of Bikram Yoga regime.
To list out a few of the issues and diseases, which got controlled and cured as a result of consistent practice are:-
- Anxiety and depression
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Back and Joint pain
- High/Low Blood pressure
- Thyroid issues
Controversies Apart, a Popular Method
BIKRAM YOGA, even after much controversy surrounding the enigmatic Yoga Guru, is still one of the most popular methods being practiced around the world. It is solely because of the uncountable benefits and phenomenal results its practice produced.
BIKRAM YOGA is not a traditional yoga but it is a modification of traditional teachings for more customized and commercial purposes. BIKRAM YOGA should be learned and practiced under the guidance of trainers certified by the organization. As a copyright law, only the registered BIKRAM YOGA INSTITUTE can accredit a teacher certificate.