Bikram Yoga: A Full-Body Work Out

Though yoga has been around for centuries, the last couple of decades or so has seen a huge increase in yoga's popularity throughout the United States, and elsewhere, for full-body workouts. While it is true that some types of yoga are excellent calorie-burning, muscle-building workouts, you will need to familiarize yourself with the different types of yoga in order to determine which ones will achieve this end. Among the many different types of yoga, there is hot yoga -- a form that requires a heated room, based on the theory that the heat will aid in relaxation and deeper injury-free stretches. One of the best-known types of hot yoga is Bikram yoga.

What is Bikram yoga?

In the 1970s, founder Bikram Choudhury began teaching his form of yoga that consists of a set of 26 poses, done in a 105-degree room with a duration of 90 minutes. Unlike many other types of yoga, there is no variation in Bikram yoga sessions. Bikram's focus is basically a form of renewal circulation -- systematically forcing old blood out of small sections of the body, and then allowing new blood back in. The result is a feeling of rejuvenation, as well as deeper and deeper stretches on all of the skeletal muscles and allows for a higher heart rate.

Is this the right yoga for my full-body workout?

While Bikram yoga can give you a full-body workout, it might not be exactly what you're after for weight management. This form of yoga is excellent for muscle tone and lengthening, as well as stress management. If you're looking for a more calorie-burning approach, you may find a more satisfying result with Yoga Fit or some form that uses more flow and movement than Bikram yoga. That said, Bikram yoga is considered excellent for maintaining a healthy weight once it's reached, as well as allowing for some weight loss.

Before deciding if Bikram yoga is the right choice for you, consider sitting in on classes for a few different types of yoga. Take time to discuss the fitness level, energy requirements, and physical demands with each instructor, and discuss your goals with yoga in order to find the best fit.

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Bikram Yoga is style of yoga developed by Bikram Choudhury after his emigration from India to the United States. Not only is the sequence of asanas designed to generate heat to warm the body, these 26 bikram yoga poses or postures are practiced in rooms heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Often called hot yoga, Bikram finds its roots in traditional hatha yoga and is designed to support the increase and movement of fresh, oxygenated blood throughout all parts of the body.

Bikram devotees swear by the 105-degree temperate and specific yoga moves that separate Bikram yoga from the rest of the pack. Read on to learn what is making this brand of yoga so hot right now.

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Twenty six poses?  Ninety minutes of challenging asanas? Temperatures of up to 100 degrees? Forty percent humidity? How can any of that reduce stress? How does that relieve tension? What are the stress relieving benefits of hot yoga?

Bikram yoga classes always consist of the exact same 26 Bikram yoga poses, called asanas, each of which is held for 10-60 seconds apiece during the twice-through routine of the class. If you want to be in the know, learn these poses.

Since intimidation or lack of knowledge often keeps would-be yogis out of the studio, read on to learn what you can expect at your first hot yoga class.

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