Bikram yoga dates back to the early 1970’s when Bikram Choudhury, an expert hatha yoga instructor, combined many of the most common yoga techniques into a ninety minute class which became popular in Western cultures. Bikram had a weight lifting accident when he was twenty years old which conventional medicine could not help. He turned to Swami Bishnu Gosh for yoga therapy and recovered in six months. Once proficient in the yogic arts, Bikram established yoga schools in India and then in Japan to show others the medical benefits of his particular form of healing yoga.
Each session of Bikram yoga allows practitioners to move through twenty-six postures. The sessions begin and end with breathing exercises to first warm the body and then to release any toxins that have developed. The twenty-four poses that are done in between are completed two times each.
Bikram yoga is unique because it is done in a heated, mirrored room. The purpose of this is to give the body greater ease of movement and to reduce strain on the muscles. The heat also aids in the release of lactic acid and decreases the chance of injury. The emphasis of Bikram yoga is on actually healing the body.
Bikram yoga is said to be beneficial in treating diabetes, heart disease, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and insomnia. Some practitioners say that because Bikram yoga is such a great avenue for stress relief that it is an excellent tool for controlling blood pressure. Many students also declare that this type of yoga is a wonderful treatment for insomnia or other sleeping disorders.
Bikram yoga improves circulation and exercises the nervous system. It involves almost all of the glands, tendons, muscles and ligaments in the body. Bikram yoga tones the body and improves digestion. The heat in the room also seems to speed weight loss. Because yoga is a weight bearing routine, it may also keep the bones strong and prevent the development of osteoporosis if practiced over a long period of time. Advocates say that this form of yoga is also intellectually stimulating.