Bikram Yoga Moves and Breathing Techniques

The steamy 105-degree temperature isn't the only thing that sets hot yoga apart from other varieties; the class also features a unique set of Bikram yoga moves and breathing techniques. Read on to learn what Bikram devotees assert is the benefit of this particular brand of yoga.

Hot poses
Bikram Choudhury created this type of yoga and each class flows through the same 26 pose, or asanas, program he created in 1972. The poses are often familiar to those who have studied other areas of yoga in the past, but Bikram is the only class you will find that offers this specific set in this specific order. The class begins with standing postures, such as the Eagle, Triangle and Tree poses, before moving into backbends like Cobra and Bow pose, followed by forward bends. The practice ends with twists, which are known to be detoxifying, a fitting conclusion to a type of yoga that's all about sweating out the toxins.

Just breathe
Hot yoga is also characterized by two breathing techniques, or pranayama. One type is 80-20 breathing. You start by taking in a full breath through your nose, but as you complete a pose you'll only release 20 percent of the breath through your nose. You'll probably need some practice before you can complete this technique properly. Until you build up your lung capacity and get used to the breath, you may need to take extra breaths. The second method is exhalation. With this type, you take a full breathe in through your nose and once you achieve the next pose, you exhale.

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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.

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?

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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.

For busy, professional adults, finding methods for fitting a productive fitness program into a hectic schedule can be stressful enough. For many, Yoga offers an opportunity for a unique physical and spiritual work out offering a reduction in stress as well as leaner and more tone bodies.

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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