Hot yoga: the good, the bad and the ugly

November 26, 2014

Thanks to the hot temperatures and complicated positions, Bikram or hot yoga is a unique experience that comes with many benefits.

Hot yoga: the good, the bad and the ugly

What to expect in a Bikram yoga class

It all began when creator Bikram Choudhury injured his knee and was told he would never walk again. However, he defied the odds by using hot yoga to heal his leg.

  • The temperature in a Bikram class is set to 40.6 degrees Celsius.
  • Because heat causes your body to become looser, you can expect increased flexibility in a Bikram class
  • Classes usually consist of 26 predetermined yoga poses.

Be aware that feeling more flexible doesn't mean that you should push your limits.

  • A newbie to yoga may want to steer clear of a Bikram class until they feel comfortable performing the basic postures.

While in class, dress to stay cool by wearing mesh and breathable clothing.

  • Typically, women will wear a sports bra and men will go shirtless in a group Bikram class.

Benefits of Bikram yoga

Because you will be sweating profusely, Bikram yoga is great for flushing the body of toxins. Additionally, it's a great cardiovascular workout and strength-building routine because it will push your body to the limit.

  • According to the owner of Tula Yoga Spa in Toronto, the benefits of Bikram yoga are that it increases the heart rate and makes the body work harder for the same pose that you could do in a traditional class. Furthermore, the heat allows your body to relax and become more flexible while improving concentration.

Downsides of Bikram yoga

The extreme heat will leave you feeling dehydrated and drained after the class. As a result, it's imperative that you drink water before, during and after the class.

  • In addition, the fact that hot yoga makes your body feel more flexible means that it's easy to take a pose too far and injure yourself.
  • Anyone who has suffered from a heat-related health issue is encouraged to speak with their health practitioner prior to doing Bikram.

Bikram yoga: the bottom line

Bikram yoga is not for everyone. However, you should try it at least once after having consulted your family doctor to ensure you have no underlying medical condition that may put you at risk for injury.

  • Pushing your body to the limit and doing something outside of your comfort zone is extremely beneficial for your mental clarity and overall health.
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