Bikram Yoga is a style of yoga that never changes—each practice you do the same 26 poses (twice), along with two breathing exercises in a room that is heated to 105 degrees with 40% humidity. Each practice lasts for 90 minutes. Bikram Yoga is sometimes referred to as hot yoga—for good reason—but they are very different yoga styles. Hot Yoga consists of different vinyasa poses each time and most likely only repeat poses in certain sequences.   

Bikram Yoga is closely related to traditional Hatha Yoga. One of the differences is that Hatha Yoga classes are not heated as Bikram Yoga classes are. Also, in Bikram Yoga, it is encouraged not to modify any of the poses rather pushing yourself and your body to complete the poses as they are.

An Indian yoga teacher, Bikram Choudhury, was the creator and founder of Bikram Yoga in the 1970s. Each person aspiring to become a Bikram Yoga instructor must be trained personally by Mr. Choudhury. It has been said that his yoga teacher training is unlike any other because he is extremely tough on his students. Mr. Choudhury has even been known to torture his students by making them do the teacher trainings in a hot, hot room, much like the classes themselves. The idea behind 26 poses to be repeated twice in the same order during the practice, teaches us structure and the power of consistency. Aside from the consistently of the 26 poses, there are reasons why Bikram Yoga has had the praise that it has.

There are amazing benefits of taking Bikram Yoga classes consistently. Some of the benefits are improved balance from the seven balance poses (awkward pose, eagle pose, standing head to knee pose, standing bow pose, balancing stick pose, tree pose and toe stand pose). Other benefits of Bikram Yoga are improved digestion, improved strength for the lower back and improvement of the respiratory system. Taking a Bikram Yoga class will not only challenge you on a physical level but will also challenge you on a mental level. Challenging ourselves frequently is healthy, even the most experienced Bikram Yogis still feel challenged in beginner classes. 

One aspect of Bikram Yoga that individuals really enjoy is the consistency of the 26 poses repeated twice. This practice may be good for individuals who suffer from OCD or who need routine in their lives. Knowing the poses ahead of time and what to expect before entering class every single time is a favorite for yogis who enjoy Bikram. Yoga styles that differ during each class by performing different sequences and poses may not be for individuals who do Bikram consistently. Yogis should try different styles of yoga and find which one works best for them. By sticking to a consistent practice of one’s choice, significant changes will occur over time in the mind, body, and spirit. 

The practice of yoga is the arrival of oneself to the concept and idea of self-discovery. The search for ways to arrive at the practice of self-discovery usually begins before you sign up for a yoga class. Self-discovery is never-ending and no matter what yoga practice you choose, you will have your own version of self-discovery.

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