Bikram yoga, often called hot yoga, involves doing yoga poses in a sauna environment. Classrooms are generally heated from about 95 to 102 degrees and with a relatively high humidity. In more classical Bikram classes a series of 26 postures is done and then repeated so that a total of 52 postures are done in a single class.
Bikram yoga is well-suited for those who are looking for an exercise program that will aid in weight loss. A fairly high amount of calories can be burned in each class in a Bikram studio. One will also build stamina and become increasingly tolerant of working out in a heated environment. Flexibility increases when working in a warmer environment and one will find stretching, such as doing a toe touch, remarkably easier. In fact, instructors will often warn that participants need to take care not to over-stretch muscles that have not been worked in a while as it seems easy to do in the warm environment, but can cause soreness later if care is not taken.
This is a fairly extreme workout. Many participants feel that the extreme amount of perspiration helps to rid the body and skin of toxins helping to cleanse and purify an individual which is also helpful in maintaining good health and returning to a healthy weight. Cardiovascular rates are higher than during other yoga workouts due to the high temperatures. Students are encouraged to wear very light clothing and to bring more than one towels to the workout studio.
Several famous Hollywood-types swear by this form of yoga. Almost everyone who sticks with the program after the initial adjustment period finds excellent results. In the first two or so weeks some participants complain about a rash from the severe perspiration experienced during the program. Many participants, especially those in a less than optimal state of fitness find the workout initially feel incredibly drained and will often simply be exhausted and feel the need to “crash” for the rest of the day due to the incredible physical workout that has just taken place.
Most studios will want to ask new participants some questions regarding their health history, their current level of fitness and their exercise and fitness goals. Those who have had serious health issues in the past such as heart conditions should speak with their physician before beginning a program such as this which may be too strenuous in some cases. Some of the participants in these classes fail to properly hydrate and this can cause problems, hydration prior to this type of class is important.