There are some Hollywood crazes that never catch on, but there are some that take over the world. One of these crazes is Bikram yoga, the practice of undertaking a yoga class in rooms with a temperature of around 40°C, with 26 postures making up the series.
Devised by Bikram Choudhury, it must be taught in a controlled environment with teachers who are aware of the possible dangers of the practice. And, despite it being what many might describe as torture, Bikram yoga has become a popular exercise class throughout the world. Initially made popular by celebrities including David Beckham, Lady Gaga, Harry Styles and Andy Murray, it is now popular throughout the world as a way to improve physical activity and longevity.
One of the reasons that so many people have been enticed by Bikram Yoga are the supposed medical benefits. No studies have been carried out to verify these, although other studies related to the benefits (such as exercising in warm environments) can be linked to it. Below are some of the stated benefits of this form of yoga.
Improved Physical Performance
When working out in a warm environment, the body’s blood vessels dilate and the muscle tissue expands. Combined, this allows blood and therefore oxygen to flow easily throughout the body, increasing the body’s ability to perform at a higher degree. There is also the argument that improved blood flow helps injuries to heal quickly, as well as the heat flushing toxins out of the body.
More Intense Workout
Due to the combination of extreme heat and the occasional strain of yoga positions, Bikram yoga is said to raise a person’s heart rate and therefore make their workout more intense. This means that the body must work harder and therefore it learns to perform better under a higher level of stress and strain.
As with any situation where heat is involved, the pores will open up and the toxins or daily dirt that has accumulated underneath the skin will be released. Regular attendees of Bikram yoga classes swear by not wiping the sweat away, allowing the pores to remain open and all the toxins to be released. Because of this, many say their skin has improved greatly since attending classes.
Build Long, Lean Muscles
While participants must not overstretch, the temperature at which Bikram yoga is conducted can help to relax the muscles and therefore allow them to be stretched further. This contributes to a healthy, more toned body and contributes to healthy muscles.
There is no doubt that Bikram yoga is becoming more and more popular, but it’s worth noting that there has been very little research done into both the benefits and possible negatives of this form of exercise. Because it can put the body under a lot of strain, it’s recommended that participants who are unsure of their physical state should consult a doctor before attending a class.