Bikram Yoga: All the special features of Hot Yoga

Bikram Yoga: All the special features of Hot Yoga

40 degrees room temperature, 40 percent humidity and guaranteed sweating: Bikram Yoga is very popular worldwide. Even Hollywood celebrities swear by it. A traditional hot yoga class usually consists of a fixed sequence of asanas. According to the founder Bikram Choudhury, this style of yoga particularly promotes detoxification of the body.

But be careful, hot yoga does not always mean Bikram yoga. Here you will find out which Bikram yoga exercises make up the yoga style and why this type of yoga is also good for losing weight.

Yoga at 40 degrees: What is Bikram Yoga and how does it work?

Bikram Yoga follows fixed guidelines. A class always consists of 90 minutes in which 26 asanas from Hatha Yoga, including two breathing exercises, are practiced in a fixed order. The pranayamas represent the meditative element of a Bikram yoga class.

There are two repetitions of almost every exercise. If a hot yoga class deviates from this system, it can no longer be called Bikram yoga. In addition, only officially trained Bikram Yoga teachers are allowed to teach the yoga style.

The yoga classes take place in a so-called hot room, which is usually equipped with large mirrors. This is so that the yoga students can observe and correct themselves during the practice. 35 - 40 degrees room temperature and 40 percent humidity ensure a sweaty workout. Soaking wet clothes, sweaty hair and a red head are definitely signs that yogis have just come from a Bikram yoga class.

Hot yoga in mirror room

There is a good reason why this special type of yoga is practiced in high heat. The focus of Bikram Yoga is on strength and effort; the entire body should be opened in all directions and trained holistically. Practicing yoga at 40 degrees room temperature is said to protect against injuries and make muscles more flexible. In addition, the circulation and blood circulation should be stimulated.

Benefits of Bikram Yoga

Hot yoga has the advantage that the body almost detoxifies itself due to the amount of sweating during the exercise sequence. However, this has not been scientifically proven - many Bikram Yoga fans still swear by this health-promoting effect.

The special compilation of asanas is intended to systematically target every part of the body and train it intensively. Unlike yoga styles such as Vinyasa Yoga or Power Yoga, the individual postures in Bikram Yoga are practiced statically and do not flow into each other.

Many people who want to start with Bikram Yoga are interested in the question of whether they can lose weight with this training. And that should be possible: measurements show that up to 700 calories can be burned during a hot yoga session according to Bikram Choudhury. The exercises help to define the muscles and generally become fitter - if practiced regularly.

This is how Bikram Yoga works:

  • You train strength and endurance
  • You strengthen your cardiovascular system
  • The intensive exercises help you switch off from everyday life
  • Sweating a lot detoxifies your body
  • The warmth allows you to continue stretching

Bikram yoga exercises

Bikram Yoga is suitable for people who are physically fit and want a physical workout without spirituality. The yoga style is clearly fitness-oriented. Due to the “extreme” conditions, it is important to listen carefully to your body and take breaks during the exercise series if your circulation stops working.

You should quickly get used to the fact that sweat can drip onto the mat during class: a non-slip yoga mat, towels (preferably one for the mat and one for the shower afterwards) and a large bottle of water are essential.

Birkam yoga for beginners

Bikram yoga is definitely beginner-friendly. No matter where you attend a Bikram yoga class, the sequence of choreography is always the same. By constantly repeating the same 26 exercises, progress is quickly visible.

The clear instructions from the teachers will also help you as a beginner to get started. The heat in the hot room allows intensive stretching after just a short period of getting used to it.

Course of a Birkam yoga class

A Bikram Yoga session consists of 26 exercises. Each class begins and ends with a pranayama. The deep breathing at the beginning prepares the body for the effort, the fire breathing at the end provides a cleansing and invigorating effect. Between breathing exercises, yogis practice a series of 12 standing asanas, a series of seven lying asanas and seven sitting asanas.

Almost all exercises are repeated twice. Between the standing series and the lying series, participants relax in Savasana for a few minutes. At the end of the 90 minutes there is another Savasana, during which the teacher usually leaves the room. The students can decide for themselves when they want to end their relaxation after the lesson.

12 standing asanas

  • Pranayama (deep breathing)
  • Ardha-Chandrasana (Crescent) & Padahastasana (Standing Forward Bend)
  • Utkatasana (chair)
  • Garudasana (Eagle)
  • Dandayamana-Janushirasana (Forehead to Knee Standing)
  • Dandayamana-Dhanurasana (standing bow)
  • Tuladandasana (Libra)
  • Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimottanasana (forehead to floor in straddle position)
  • Trikonasana (Triangle)
  • Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana (Forehead to Knee in Straddle)
  • Tadasana (Tree)
  • Padangusthasana (toe stand)

7 lying asanas

  • Savasana (Dead Pose)
  • Pavanamuktasana (abdominal press)
  • Sit-up (Seated Forward Bend)
  • Bhujangasana (Cobra)
  • Salabhasana (Half Grasshopper)
  • Poorna-Salabhasana (Whole Grasshopper)
  • Dhanurasana (bow)
  • Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero)

7 seated asanas

  • Ardha-Kurmasana (Half Tortoise)
  • Ustrasana (Camel)
  • Sasangasana (Rabbit)
  • Janushirasana (Forehead to Knee Sitting)
  • Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
  • Ardha-Matsyendrasana (swivel seat)
  • Kapalabhati Vajrasana (Fire Breathing)

About the history: the origin of Bikram Yoga

The yoga style is named after its founder, Bikram Choudhury. The yoga teacher was born in Calcutta in 1946 and enjoys a controversial reputation in the yoga scene. He himself was a student of bodybuilder and Hatha Yogi Bishnu Charan Ghosh, but presents the Bikram Yoga series as his sole development. He has trademarked the name Bikram Yoga and created a kind of yoga franchise from it. Some yoga studios that do not follow the strict rules simply label their classes as hot yoga and not as Bikram yoga.

Since 1973, Bikram Choudhury has been training certified yoga teachers at his Bikram Yoga College of India in Los Angeles. The teacher training there takes place twice a year. There are now Bikram Yoga schools worldwide that are affiliated with the founder's company and also train teachers.

The body-focused and fitness-oriented Bikram Yoga divides opinions in the yoga scene. Some yogis swear by the cleansing effect and the deep relaxation afterwards, others find it difficult to rediscover the original (and spiritual) yoga idea.

If you love heat and like to push your physical limits, attending 90 minutes of Bikram yoga could be just the thing for you. Don't forget to pack a towel and a water bottle!