Bikram Yoga The practice of Yoga is a physical activity that offers numerous benefits for our health, our body and our emotional well-being. However, when we consider starting to practice it, we find that there are different varieties and we may not know where to start.
One of the varieties that are playing with more force during the last years is Bikram Yoga. And, the idea of practicing Yoga in a room at 42 degrees attracts a lot of attention. However, before deciding on this modality, it is important that we have all the information.
The main differentiating element that defines Bikram Yoga is that it is practiced at high temperatures. So much so that the rooms are those that perform this modality of Yoga can reach 42 degrees of temperature and 40% humidity.
The idea is these classes is to work, in about 90 minutes, with 26 asanas of the 84 of Hatha Yoga, whose specific purpose is to stretch muscles, ligaments and tendons. In theory, the fact of practicing these asanas at a high temperature is more beneficial because in heat the muscles would be more lax, generating greater flexibility.
Another benefit that is usually attributed to this practice is that blood circulation is favored, as well as the concentration and improvement of our breathing. Of course, what is not achieved is a greater detoxification of our body although we sweat – our body does not eliminate toxins through sweat – or a greater loss of fat or weight.
Before launching to try this modality, we must take into account the reasons why we do it. And, currently, there is no clear evidence that Bikram Yoga has different benefits than other types of Yoga without heat can bring us.
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In January 2018, The Physiological Sociaty magazine published an investigation that analyzed the benefits of Bikram Yoga and the causes of these benefits. The intention was not only to know if this modality had different benefits from other Yoga practices, but to know if these benefits were due to heat or not.
What they found was that the benefits provided by Bikram Yoga were due to the type of practice of the different asanas and not the room temperature. That is, we could obtain the same benefits by performing the same asanas without having to do it in the room with heat.
One of the things that we should keep in mind before we start practicing Bikram Yoga is that it can pose more risks than other Yoga practices. And, the fact of facing an elevated temperature does not come without associated risks.
For most of us, if we have an adequate state of health, there will be no danger. In any case, we should closely monitor our hydration levels as we can run the risk of becoming dehydrated by losing a lot of sweat. Keeping a bottle of water nearby and drinking regularly during class is important.
In addition, we must bear in mind that the practice of Bikram Yoga raises our body temperature and our heart rate. That is why it is recommended that we start with shorter sessions, so that we are gradually adapting to this type of classes. On the other hand, we will rest whenever we feel we need to do so and retreat to a colder environment if we get dizzy, feel weak, etc.
Because of the added risks that Bikram Yoga entails, its practice is not recommended in the case of women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Older adults would also have an increased risk of heat stroke during one of these classes. That is why it is a contraindicated practice for these people.
In addition, some pathologies, especially respiratory or cardiovascular, may also be contraindicated for this type of Yoga. Nor should people under 14 years of age practice it since its thermal control function is not fully developed.