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Bikram Yoga

I love my yoga and have done for many years.

A good yoga session leaves me feeling fresh, relaxed and rejuvenated. Yoga gives me time to leave the world behind. No phone calls, no emails and nothing at all to worry about other than breathing and stretching.

People have been practicing yoga for over 5,000 years, so why you would need to tinker with a winning formula is unclear to me.

In 1974 a gentleman by the name of Bikram Choudhury created this new form of yoga and it is proving to be quite a hit.

Bikram yoga is otherwise known as 'hot yoga' and for a very good reason. A true Bikram class is done in a room that is heated to a scorching 40.5 degrees!

Proponents of Bikram claim that the heat enables deeper stretching and promotes greater circulation thus helping to rejuvenate the body and eliminate toxins.

It is even claimed that regularly practicing Bikram can leave you with an enhanced lung capacity. With all this in mind, I decided to see what all the fuss was about.The first thing that hits you when you walk into a Bikram studio is the stifling heat!

It feels as if it engulfs you from the moment you step inside and from that point on there is no escaping it.

If you are a guy, the second thing that you will notice is that you will most likely be the only man in a room full of sportily dressed women. For some men, this might be a godsend but for me, well to be honest, it felt weird and slightly unsettling.

The yoga itself consists of a regular set of poses done in sequential order. In a normal room the poses would be little problem. But in a Bikram room it is very different.

Before long, you find yourself sweating profusely and giant beads of sweat drip from your body and soon your towel is so wet that it is of little use at all.

You quickly learn that sweating goes hand in hand with Bikram and there is nothing you can do about it. If you're worried about looking and smelling beautiful, then a Bikram class is not for you.

You also quickly learn that Bikram yoga is hard work. Halfway through the class I started to sit out a few sequences just to get some rest. I would never do this in a regular yoga class.

Persevere however, as you will find that the pace of the movements starts to slow towards the end of the session and your body will start to relax and recover.

Finishing a Bikram class brings a great sense of relief and a feeling of calm euphoria. The heat definitely did help stretch out my tired and weary muscles.

Bikram is definitely something that is worth giving a go. I enjoyed the experience but, ultimately, I must say that I prefer my yoga a little on the mild side.

Bill Scanlan 
Professional Triathlete

Last modified on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 10:29
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