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For this week’s “Focus On” post, I thought it would be fun to focus on one of my favorite types of yoga : Bikram yoga. What is it: A hot yoga practice designed by Bikram Choudhury, based on traditional yoga techniques. Bikram Yoga’s goal is toward general healthiness and Bikram Choudhury claims the heated studio facilitates deeper stretching and injury prevention, while reducing stress and tension.
Choudhury claims that blood circulation is affected immensely during Bikram Yoga because of two processes called extension and compression.
The room full of super drippy sweaty people didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would…but the men in wet, tight, white shorts were totally distracting! Don’t mean to be a downer, whatever works for each of us is great, and whatever gets someone doing yoga is alright by me!
I’ve never done Bikram, but I just got a 30 day pass to a local yoga studio, and I’m so excited to try out hot yoga! I’m young, healthy, not at all over (or under) weight, I bike, box, do jiu-jitsu, and lift weights, no health problem at all. Haha, I was so not prepared for my first class and felt like I was going to die by the time I was done. As for the expense, I am fortunate that my studio has a program that offers people an opportunity to clean the studio one night a week in exchange for unlimited free yoga.
I’ve tried Bikram and was turned off by lack of variaty, but that is just my personality!
Funny story – I told my BFF to try bikram, but I let her know that it would be difficult.
Gentle Chair Yoga stretches, postures and breathing techniques will improve your quality of life no matter how old you are.
If you cannot get down on a mat, you may want to try out a class that uses a chair as a prop. Often times the chair is used as something to hold onto when standing Yoga positions for Chair Yoga are being practiced, The chair assists with balance and provides more confidence when attempting the different poses. I continue the stretches at home but I benefit more from being with my instructor and group of friends. Though Yoga positions for Chair Yoga vary a bit because participants do sit down for part of the class, they are not completely separate exercises from traditional Yoga – just modified. According to the University of Michigan Health System, people are fit when they can do physical activity with energy and a sense of well-being. The Mayo Clinic reports that practicing Yoga may help with sleep problems, fatigue and mood, which in turn could have positive effects on a variety of  health conditions such as high blood pressure, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), vertigo, depression, and chronic syndromes such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia (FMS).
Practicing Yoga is also ideal for people suffering with Arthritis because it reduces the pressure placed on joints, while still offering opportunities for stretching to increase flexibility and range of motion. For me, living with CFS, FMS and Arthritis, Chair Yoga has been instrumental in controlling pain. Some of the modified Yoga positions for Chair Yoga are Downward Facing Dog, or assisted balance poses, such as Tree or Dancer.
With an inhalation, sweep your arms above your head, you can tilt your head back and look up.
When you feel ready to end, sit for a few moments with your hands at your heart center, your head gently bowed forward, and your eyes closed.
To read more about my journey living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia – click here. Since ancient times, yogas an as have been a supreme solution to endless body ailments and diseases. While yoga, one need to relax the body muscles and mind completely so that the entire concentration can be given on the pose for the maximum benefit. Yoga techniques for relaxation can be attained perfectly only when the muscles release the grip of the body and accept the responsive signals from the brain and contracts, thus making you feel light and relaxed.
Ironically, the simplest but the most difficult of all yogic postures is the corpse posture or the dead pose.
This posture aims to free the mind from the matter, thus it is considered as the best technique for relaxation in Yoga.
Yoga relaxation methods before sleep is extremely beneficial as they can cure ailments like insomnia, anxiety and so on.
The legs can either be kept straightened or bend them at the knees keeping the feet flat on the bed. Now after you complete eight breaths, roll over to the right side and do the same keeping the extra pillow in between the knees. The various yoga asanas or postures are known to provide the individual with multifold benefits physically, mentally and also spiritually. In fact yoga asanas are also known to be one of the best ways to lose weight as this form of exercise is known to help one to lose weight in a uniform manner and that too without any harmful side effects that one may face while trying to lose weight or reach an optimal weight through the various commercial options.
Except for some of the advanced yoga asanas, yoga can be performed by almost every person at any age.
Knowledge of basic yoga positions is essential as it helps prepare our body take up yoga, help body joints retain their good health. Seated yoga mudra pose stretches the shoulders, neck and upper back while relieving tightness there. Bikram yoga asanas is done to warm up and stretch every joint, muscle, ligament, tendon, vertebrae and organ of the body down to the cellular level. Eight Series Of Ashtanga Yoga Asanas is done to warm up and stretch every joint, muscle, ligament, tendon, vertebrae and organ of the body down to the cellular level.
Asanas in Ashtanga yogas are grouped into series of six for purifying and strengthening the body.

The material on this web site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. I was actually very intimidated by Bikram for quite a while until I took my first class in Orlando. The room is heated (100-105*) with humidity set around 30-40% –which makes it feel like rainforest yoga ?? The practice consists of 26 postures which are completed twice and two breathing exercises. Bikram claims that his system stimulates and restores health to every muscle, joint, and organ of the body.
These two dynamics are said to work together to deliver fresh blood to every joint, muscle, and organ within the human body. Usually they’ll follow a “script” for classes… and let’s just say my teacher in NY didn’t do any of that.
Not only will it make you feel icky, but if the instructor is cranky, they’ll point you out. This style of yoga encourages me to work extremely hard each time I go, and afterwards I feel amazing.
You can always take the pose to the next level, and since the poses are the same, it’s easy to see how you improve over time. Driving to the studio + class + changing out of nasty sweaty clothes = easily 2.5 hours out of the day.
The lady that did it was really nice (suprising seeing as though she was pregnant) and really helpful since it was my first time.
No question about it, it is an intense workout and definitely life changing for many people. I felt like I had so much energy afterwards though and went home and blogged about my experience. A friend of mine just completed a challenge and will be doing a guest post about her experience soon. I go there feeling slouched over in pain, and leave there feeling taller and more at peace. While it does not directly prepare you for intense physical activity, it allows you to keep up with your daily life and generally improve basic routines.
Some of the poses are discrete enough to be done while at work in the office, in a wheelchair, or in a plane, such as simple spinal movements, deep breathing techniques and wrist or ankle rotations.
This is one that you can start your day with: Begin with your hands at your heart center (breast bone), palms together in prayer pose. If seated, sit well in your chair with your back away from the back of the chair, feet planted firmly on the floor. Science has confirmed that this posture reduces the pulse rate as well as the blood pressure and brings perfects the rate of respiration.
There are also certain specially designed yoga asanas which can be practiced by pregnant women as part of their pre natal exercise program. And even though the sage Patanjali is credited with being the father of Ashtanga yoga and many, if not all people, attribute the entire body of yoga to him, it would be a fallacy to fall for.
Bikram’s Yoga claims to increase circulation to all organs in the body, and claims this helps in the prevention of heart disease and organ failure. While performing a specific asana (pose), the practitioner stretches or compresses a certain part of the body, thus cutting off circulation temporarily. First water break is after eagle –they’ll let you know it’s “party time”- and after that, if you need water, grab a drink at the end of a pose before the rest period in between.
I’ve never worn my heart rate monitor for class, but know a few people that have and it’s ranged from 500 to over 1000 calories per session, which is pretty amazing. I thought it was super challenging and I felt like a badass when I was done, but sometimes it was a bit too intense for me. Being at home, I find it difficult to just sit by myself for twenty minutes and be introspective. They cite flexibility as one of the key components of fitness and many of the postures strengthen muscles, too. As you begin to exhale, sweep your arms back out to the skies and return your hands to your heart center.
If standing, be sure your body is well aligned with your feet planted firmly,  hip distance apart.
In yoga, the term ‘relaxation’ denotes keeping the body loose from the earthly and materialistic tensions. Prepare your mental self for sleep and calm your mind; get into the bed, lying on your back and covering till bust with the blanket. Now close your eyes and breathe steadily through your nose, the exhaling speed should be the double of inhaling. Once done, turn to your left with the pillow between the knees and follow the breathing pattern for 32 times. There are also various cleansing yoga asanas such as Laghu Shankha Prakshalan (digestive system cleansing technique), Basti (colon cleansing) and the Baghi (tiger exercise) which tend to help in maintaining optimum health as they influence the metabolism of an individual by acting upon the various types of hormonal secretions that tend to occur at any given point of time in the body of an individual. Truth is, yoga evolved over centuries and many great seers and sages contributed their mite to the subject.
According to Choudhury, many people only use up to 50 percent of their lung capacity and thus the lungs must be stretched in order to withstand holding more oxygen. This restriction of circulation causes the heart to pump more blood in reaction to the shortage. In between poses, you get a rest to either stand motionless and reap the benefits of the posture, or you’ll be laying down in savasana.
Actually, a couple of times I felt like I was going to pass out—and that’s not something I usually look for or enjoy in my workouts!

I actually just graduated from yoga teacher training in the Baptiste style and it sparked a new passion for trying other yoga styles and teachers.
Also, stretching in those high temperatures can really increase the risk of tearing muscles. I think I will make that a resolution for the new year, try to sit still for twenty minutes and clear my mind! Whatsoever, the breathing process should be smooth and without any stress; keep up the pace for some time.
The various yoga asanas are not only beneficial to losing weight and to maintaining good health but also help the individual in de-stressing and getting over the various symptoms of that depression and anxiety that one tends to face in their day to day life.
In a 2007 interview, Choudhury stated that when one is practicing pranayama she or he will eventually be able to enhance oxygen conversion and absorption, as well as improve blood circulation, as in many other forms of cardiovascular activity.
It was too “strict” for me –they yelled at me for drinking water before eagle pose– and the instructor was more like a drill sergeant than the warm, fuzzy yoga teachers I was used to. You can wear pants, but I’d definitely recommend crops over full-length and tighter, sweat-wicking material. And I really didn’t like how the teachers were constantly telling you to lock your knees. It has been observed that by practicing the various yoga asanas an individual is also known to get alleviated from various medical issues such as arthritis, chronic fatigue, AIDS, asthma and even obesity. Once the asana is complete and the individual comes out of the posture, the new oxygenated blood is able to rejuvenate the arteries that were being compressed. Nothing is more uncomfortable than wearing something baggy, drenched in sweat for 90 minutes.
The room was heated at 105 degrees, but they told the n00bs to set up in the back of the room. Some of the advanced yoga asanas also tend to set the individual on a path of discovering themselves as they involve meditation and various breathing techniques.
Because of the volume change and influx of fresh blood, it is said that infection, bacteria, and toxins can be released through this process. The second time I went back, I knew what to expect, was familiar with the poses and teaching style, and loved it. These forms of yoga asanas also make the individual aware of their various levels of consciousness thereby bringing them various psychological and spiritual benefits. So it might have been 105 degree where the instructor was, but it was about 120 degrees, or more, where I was.
It has been medically researched and proven that yoga asanas if practiced correctly on a regular basis are known to help people overcome various respiratory problems. Besides being able to meditate in any position, which was the primordial intent of yoga, down the ages, asanas were discovered to have abundant health benefits and hence their practice came to be a part of the regimen of daily living for ancient Indians. One of the yoga asanas is known as the hatha yoga asanas which is known to be very beneficial for people who are suffering from prostate problems such as an enlarged prostrate. Thankfully, the tradition is seeing a significant revival the world over.Benefits of YogasanasThe regular practice of yogasanas has proven to be of immense health and therapeutic value.
The hatha yoga asanas involve deep breathing, meditation, various strengthening exercises and even stretrching. In addition to their various physiological benefits, research down the decades has proven that they positively affect our minds, as well. Nowadays there are also plenty of yoga studios that have come up that train the students on various forms of yoga asanas. Why, our life force energies as well as our creative intelligence can be molded and augmented by their regular practice.The regular practice of yogasanas helps to keep us physically fit, reduces weight, normalizes blood pressure, controls stress and cholesterol levels and improve overall performance of the body and mind. These yoga centres or studios also train their students in hatha yoga asanas which besides concentrating on ones breath also gets the individual to concentrate on their alignment.
The resultant physical fitness bring about reduction in stress levels while enhancing vitality. The hatha yoga asanas are known to be one of the best yoga asanas to be practiced by both beginners as well as intermediate level yoga students. Asana is the only known workout known to tone up the internal structure of the body, be it the organs, blood or blood vessels, while simultaneously bringing about synchronization in levels of vata, pitta and kapha in the body, better explained in detail in Ayurveda.There are literally hundreds of asanas, generated over the centuries.
Another form of yoga asanas are the Bikram yoga asanas which are relatively more vigorous and hence result in the burning of more calories. Bikram yoga diet also promotes eating of foods that are light, non spicy and hence easy to digest. Bikram yoga asanas are practiced in a room with high temperatures.A lot has been said and written about yogasanas as part of Yoga. To achieve this asanas help in balancing and harmonizing the basic structure of the human body. Which is why, if performed regularly and consistently, they have a wide range of therapeutic benefits, both physical and mental. Over time though, various rishis and connoisseurs of yoga discovered various ways and means of implementing meditation in a variety of postures in daily life. Not just that, as time passed, they even came to realize the therapeutic benefits of this limb of yoga.

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