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Bikram Yoga

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Overview



Bikram Yoga
Founder Bikram Choudhury
Established late 20th century
Practice emphases
Unchanging sequence of postures in a heated room, designed as a rejuvenating exercise to strengthen the entire body, from head to toe.


Bikram Yoga - Bikram Yoga
Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga is a system of yoga that Bikram Choudhury synthesized from traditional hatha yoga techniques[1] and popularized beginning in the early 1970s.[2][3] All Bikram Yoga classes run for 90 minutes and consist of the same series of 26 postures, including two breathing exercises.[4] Bikram Yoga is ideally practiced in a room heated to 40 °C (104 °F) with a humidity of 40%.[5] All official Bikram classes are taught by Bikram certified teachers, who have completed nine weeks of training endorsed by Bikram.[6] Bikram certified teachers are taught a standardized dialogue to run the class, but are encouraged to develop their teaching skills the longer they teach. This results in varying deliveries and distinct teaching styles.[5]

Bikram Choudhury

Bikram Choudhury, founder of the Bikram Yoga system, is also the founder of the Yoga College of India. Born in Calcutta in 1946, Bikram began practicing yoga at age four. He practiced yoga 4–6 hours every day. At the age of thirteen, he won the National India Yoga Championship. He was undefeated for the following three years and retired as the undisputed All-India National Yoga Champion. Bikram later devised the 26 postures sequence and founded Bikram’s Yoga College of India. He has also written books and sings.[7]

As of 2006, he had 1,650 yoga studios around the world.[8]

Health Benefits

The health benefits of the additional heat are "largely perceptual".[9] A small study by the American Council of Exercise found no difference between a hot yoga session and a regular yoga session.[9]

After practicing Bikram yoga three times per week for eight weeks, a 2013 study of healthy adults found that deadlift strength and flexibility improved, and participants lost a small amount of body fat. However, they found no improvements on cardiovascular measures.[10]

Other commonly suggested benefits include enhanced strength, increased flexibility, improved posture, mental clarity, a balanced blood pressure and improved ability to concentrate,[citation needed] fewer toxins and impurities,[11] and Bikram claims specific poses can help clean out the veins and arteries.[12]

Releasing Toxins Through Sweat

A study published in 2012 found that certain toxins are released through sweat.[13] The study concluded that "induced perspiration may be useful to facilitate elimination of some potentially toxic phthalate compounds including DEHP and MEHP. Sweat analysis may be helpful in establishing the existence of accrued DEHP in the human body."

Another study was released in 2012 regarding Bisphenol A (BPA) - an ubiquitous chemical contaminant that has recently been associated with adverse effects on human health. The study[14] found that "BPA was identified in sweat, even in some individuals with no BPA detected in their serum or urine samples."

Another study released in 2012 found that "Some parent phthalates as well as their metabolites were excreted into sweat."[15]

Controversy

Safety

Excessive sweating caused by the hot and humid conditions of a Bikram yoga room can result in dehydration. There is also a risk of hyperthermia: overheating of the human body. Symptoms include nausea, dizziness, fainting, and potentially heat stroke. A strong focus on hydration before and after class, combined with listening to one's body and resting during class when necessary, reduces these risks.

Various conditions such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and some cardiac complications can cause unique sensitivities to heat. Those struggling with these conditions are encouraged to check with their doctors before beginning hot yoga.[16] Additionally, those who take medications for depression, nervousness, or insomnia may also wish to check with a doctor to determine if the heat will exacerbate any medical conditions.

Series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises

Each Bikram yoga class begins with Pranayama breathing, an exercise intended to encourage focus on one's breathing while releasing the muscles in the neck and shoulders. This is followed by the Standing Series of asanas, in which main focuses include strengthening muscle groups, increasing flexibility and balance, and proper alignment of the body. Next, the Spine Strengthening Series addresses the spine in segments by isolating and strengthening spinal muscles. The Floor Series, which Bikram calls the "real yoga," takes advantage of the warmed-up state of the Bikram yoga student at this point in the class. Stretching, back bending, and forward bending are foci in this series. Finally, each Bikram class ends with Kapalbhati breathing, which includes snapping the belly in toward the spine to create forceful air movement that improves digestive and pulmonary health.[17]

Competition

Another controversial component of Bikram Yoga pertains to the prevalence of Yoga Asana Championships, regionally and nationally. While practitioners of other forms of yoga maintain that competition contradicts the idea of peace and unity, Bikram contends, "Competition is the foundation for all democratic societies. For without 'Competition', there is no democracy."[18][citation needed]

In India, where yoga originated, yoga competitions have been around for over a century.[19] Yoga Sports Federation which hosted The 9th Annual Bishnu Charan Ghosh Cup in June 2012 says that yoga competitions inspire both practicing yogis and newcomers to sharpen their skills. Another aim of the Federation is to turn Yoga Asana into a recognized Olympic sport.[20]

The 26 Asanas (postures)

The following are the 26 postures of Bikram Yoga. These are taught in the Beginning Bikram Yoga Class. The sequence is taught by people who have been trained and certified by Bikram Choudhury.[29][30]

# Sanskrit English
1 प्राणायाम

Prāṇāyāma

Standing Deep Breathing (lit. Breath Extension)
2 अर्धचन्द्रासन with पादहस्तासन

Ardhacandrāsana with Pādahastāsana

Half Moon Pose with Hands To Feet Pose
3 उत्कटासन

Utkaṭāsana

Awkward Pose
4 गरुडासन

Garuḍāsana

Eagle Pose
5 दण्डायमन जानुशीर्षासन

Daṇḍāyamana Jānuśīrṣāsana

Standing Head To Knee Pose
6 दण्डायमन धनुरासन

Daṇḍāyamana Dhanurāsana

Standing Bow Pose
7 तुलादण्डासन

Tulādaṇḍāsana

Balancing Stick Pose
8 दण्डायमन विभक्तपाद पश्चिमोत्तानासन

Daṇḍāyamana Vibhaktapāda Paścimottānāsana

Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose
9 त्रिकोणासन

Trikoṇāsana

Triangle Pose
10 दण्डायमन विभक्तपाद जानुशीर्षासन

Daṇḍāyamana Vibhaktapāda Jānuśīrṣāsana

Standing Separate Leg Head To Knee Pose
11 ताडासन

Tāḍāsana - This is the Sanskrit for first posture Mountain pose. The Sanskrit for Tree pose is Vriksasana

Tree Pose
12 पादाङ्गुष्ठासन

Pādāṅguṣṭhāsana

Toe Stand Pose
13 शवासन

Śavāsana

Corpse Pose
14 पवनमुक्तासन

Pavanamuktāsana

Wind Removing Pose
15 पादहस्तासन

Pādahastāsana

Hands To Feet Pose
16 भुजङ्गासन

Bhujaṅgāsana

Cobra Pose
17 शलभासन

Śalabhāsana

Locust Pose
18 पूर्णशलभासन

Pūrṇaśalabhāsana

Full Locust Pose
19 धनुरासन

Dhanurāsana

Bow Pose
20 सुप्तवज्रासन

Suptavajrāsana

Fixed Firm Pose (lit. Reclining Thunderbolt Pose)
21 अर्धकूर्मासन

Ardhakūrmāsana

Half Tortoise Pose
22 उष्ट्रासन

Uṣṭrāsana

Camel Pose
23 शसांगासना

Śasāṁgāsanā

Rabbit Pose
24 जानुशीर्षासन with पश्चिमोत्तानासन

Jānuśīrṣāsana with Paścimottānāsana

Head To Knee Pose with Back Stretching Pose
25 अर्धमत्स्येन्द्रासन

Ardhamatsyendrāsana

Spine Twisting Pose (lit. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)
26 कपालभाति

Kapālabhāti

Blowing In Firm Pose (lit. Skull Illuminating)

References

  1. ^ "Bikram's Yoga College of India". Bikramyoga.com. Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
  2. ^ Corporate registration for "Bikram Choudhury Yoga, Inc." Number: C2288343
  3. ^ a b Farrell, Maureen (September 3, 2009). "Bikram Yoga's New Twists". Forbes.com. 
  4. ^ Wilson, Cynthia. "Different types of yoga and their benefits". Womenio. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Bikram Yoga Basic". BikramYoga.com. 
  6. ^ "Yoga teacher training programs". Bikramyoga.com. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  7. ^ “Bikram Choudhury,” last modified 2010, accessed April 4, 2012, http://www.bikramyoga.com/Bikram/bikram.php
  8. ^ Shakespeare, Jocasta (10 June 2006). "Bend it like Bikram". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Internicola, Dorene (8/05/2013). "Hot Yoga: Experts Say It's Safe, But Does It Really Have Added Benefits?". Huffington Post (Reuters). Retrieved 31 July 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ Tracy, Brian L.; Cady E.F. Hart (2013). "Bikram Yoga Training and Physical Fitness in Healthy Young Adults". Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 27 (3): 822–830. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825c340f. ISSN 1064-8011. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  11. ^ "About Bikram Yoga", Bikram Yoga. Retrieved on 21 October 2013.
  12. ^ "Tuladandasana", Bikram Yoga. Retrieved on 21 October 2013.
  13. ^ Pub Med Central Canada. "Human Elimination of Phthalate Compounds: Blood, Urine, and Sweat (BUS) Study". 
  14. ^ Genuis, S. J.; Beesoon, S; Birkholz, D; Lobo, R. A. (2012). "Human excretion of bisphenol A: Blood, urine, and sweat (BUS) study". Journal of Environmental and Public Health 2012: 185731. doi:10.1155/2012/185731. PMC 3255175. PMID 22253637.  edit
  15. ^ Genuis, S. J.; Beesoon, S; Lobo, R. A.; Birkholz, D (2012). "Human elimination of phthalate compounds: Blood, urine, and sweat (BUS) study". The Scientific World Journal 2012: 615068. doi:10.1100/2012/615068. PMC 3504417. PMID 23213291.  edit
  16. ^ "Bikram 101". Yoga.com. 
  17. ^ http://bikramyoga1.com/
  18. ^ Official website
  19. ^ Beck, Sara (11 June 2012). "Yoga Is Not Just Posing as Sport at World Event". The New York Times. 
  20. ^ "The 9th Annual Bishnu Charan Ghosh Cup". Bishnu Charan Ghosh Cup. 
  21. ^ "Yoga, Inc.". Bad Dog Tales, Inc. 
  22. ^ "Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 121 / Friday, June 22, 2012 / Rules and Regulations" (PDF). U. S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  23. ^ Bloomberg "Yoga, AstraZeneca, Intel, UN: Intellectual Property" http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-17/yoga-astrazeneca-intel-un-intellectual-property.html
  24. ^ BIKRAM’S YOGA COLLEGE OF INDIA, L.P.; BIKRAM CHOUDHURY, v. EVOLATION YOGA, LLC; MARK DROST; ZEFEA SAMSON; and DOES 1 through 10 (UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 2012) (“As such, we hold it unconstitutional.”). Text
  25. ^ Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class (Second Edition)
  26. ^ Yoga Journal "Rape Accusations Against Bikram Choudury" http://blogs.yogajournal.com/yogabuzz/2013/05/rape-accusations-against-birkram-choudury.html
  27. ^ The Raw Story "Millionaire Yoga Guru Bikram Choudhury Accused of Rape and Human Trafficking" http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/14/millionaire-yoga-guru-bikram-choudhury-accused-of-rape-and-human-trafficking/
  28. ^ Yoga Dork "Former Bikram Legal Advisor Files Extremely Disturbing Lawsuit over Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, Assault" http://yogadork.com/news/lawsuit-asana/bikrams-former-head-of-legal-files-extremely-disturbing-complaint-involving-sexual-harassment-discrimination/
  29. ^ "Bikram yoga 26 postures". BikramYoga.com. 
  30. ^ "26 Bikram Yoga Poses". www.bikramyogaposesguide.com. 
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