Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bikram Yoga | The Hot Yoga Benefits

Yoga is an exercise of the body and mind that has its origins in ancient India. It has since branched out into several sub-disciplines, each with its own unique features, albeit with common roots. Bikram yoga is a variation of yoga that is performed in a heated room. Usually, before any form of physical workout, warm-up exercises are conducted to increase the body temperature and flexibility of the body. Since Bikram yoga is performed inside a hot room, the muscles are already prepared for a physical workout.

Benefits of Bikram Yoga

Practitioners of bikram yoga poses believe that the heat helps you go deeper into a yoga pose as the body becomes more flexible. This also reduces the chances of injury as the muscles loosen up and there is less strain on them. Moreover, the tendons and ligaments are lubricated, thereby increasing your strength. This conditions the tissues to stress, making them tougher and less prone to damage.

Stretching your muscles in the heat stimulates blood flow to different parts of the body, thereby encouraging circulation of blood and improving the functioning of the circulatory system. Increased blood flow also increases oxygen and nutrient content to different body parts thus invigorating various organs and systems. As your body is at a higher temperature, performing respiratory exercises increase your breath-holding time and consequently helps regulate your heart rate and keeps your blood pressure normal. Additionally, your lung capacity improves, thereby helping overall cardiovascular health.

How Bikram Yoga Works?

Practicing yoga is a hot room stimulates the lymphatic system responsible for flushing out toxins from your system. This rids your body of harmful substances and makes it healthier. The hot room makes your body sweat, which promotes detoxification and elimination through the skin, the body’s largest organ. The body raises its temperature while fighting an infection. Similarly, the raised temperature assists your immune system and reduces the chances of infection.

Additionally, the heat increases metabolism levels and speeds up the breakdown of glucose and fatty acids. This helps to tone your body and lose weight. The heat also causes the body to burn fat more effectively. It also stimulates the functioning of the nervous system. The endocrine system is given a boost and this can help correct any hormonal imbalances you might have.

Hot Yoga Practice and Precautions: Bikram yoga is a strenuous variation of yoga and not for the faint of heart. Do consult your doctor before embarking on any exercise routine. This form of yoga is not recommended for pregnant women. Do ensure that you learn Bikram yoga under the tutelage of a trained instructor.