What is Bikram Yoga?
Bikram’s beginning yoga class is a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises in a heated room for 90 minutes. Classes are suited for all ages and levels of ability. Each posture stretches and strengthens muscles, ligaments and joints and stimulates the organs, glands and nerves. With regular practice, Bikram yoga improves health, increases energy, helps prevent illness and injury, and limits the effects of aging. This practice is both a physical and mental challenge. Physically, Bikram yoga changes the body’s shape, improving muscle tone and promoting weight loss. Mentally, this practice combines the skills of concentration, patience and self-control to improve mental clarity and reduce stress. BYSJ welcomes all first-time yoga students and regular practitioners.
For more information about the Bikram Yoga method, please see the Bikram Yoga website.
Who is Bikram?
Bikram Choudhury began learning Hatha Yoga poses in his native India at the age of 3 under the study of Bishnu Ghosh, the brother of Paramahansa Yogananda, founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship. By age 11, Bikram became the youngest champion ever to win the National India Yoga Competition. At age 20, a weightlifting accident crippled Bikram. With the guidance of his guru, Bikram created this 26 posture series to restore his health. Bikram perfected his comprehensive system suitable for all ages and levels of fitness and brought it to the United States in 1973.
In 1974, Bikram founded the Yoga College of India in Beverly Hills, California. Since that time, Bikram yoga postures have been proven to help heal our western cultural problems of stress, knee injuries, asthma, insomnia, type II diabetes and many other chronic ailments. Today hundreds of schools around the globe teach the Bikram method and millions benefit from the Bikram yoga series.
Why the heat?
The room is heated to 105 degrees with 40% humidity. A few of the benefits of this heat…
- Warms your muscles and soft tissue to help you to safely work deeper into the postures, improving flexibility
- Raises the heart rate to boost cardiovascular workout
- Improves blood circulation, helping to heal injuries
- Boosts your immune system function
- Strengthens your focus and increases your discipline, determination, and concentration
- Adapting to exercising in heat, your body operates more efficiently under every condition!
Why the carpet?
Carpet is prescribed for the Bikram yoga series because it’s the best floor for hot yoga. Not only is the softer floor more forgiving on your bones and joints, but more importantly it’s the safest floor. Pools of sweat on hardwood floor—ugh, slips are just waiting to happen!
The good news is Bikram Yoga San Jose’s floor is not “carpet,” it’s Flotex! This high-performance, anti-allergen, hospital-grade flooring has built-in anti-microbial treatment that prevents E-Coli, MRSA, and other such harmful little buggers and bacteria. We also use Odorox to diffuse any potential lingering bacteria and smell. In addition to regular vacuuming, we regularly do a deep steam clean on our carpet with Benefect, an environmentally-friendly, completely botanical disinfectant cleaner!
So, you can feel safe, comfortable, and free of hygiene-worry at BYSJ.
How does it work?
The heat in the room helps ignite our body’s own heating system. Breathing exercises at the start of class coupled with the heat in the room, begin to warm the body from the inside out. The metabolism starts to speed up, and as the lungs fully expand and take in more oxygen, the heart starts to pump oxygen-rich red blood cells.
The 26 postures are sequentially designed to isolate portions of the body a section at a time by closing off circulation to a group of muscles, organs, and glands for a few seconds. When you relax out of the posture, oxygen-rich blood returns at a high speed to the closed part of the body, sending in nutrients and flushing out waste. By this method of contraction and release, circulation improves and we open up blocked areas of the body.
By the end of class, Bikram Yoga gives you a full body work-out: every cell is re-vitalized, the spine strengthens, and all systems return to their intended 100% working order, giving you an energized body and a relaxed mind.
What happens if I am not flexible?
This is the most common misconception that prevents people from coming to a yoga class. Yoga is not about how flexible you are already, but about strengthening your body and spine in all directions and, gradually, improving flexibility. Through consistent Bikram Yoga practice, your flexibility will improve, but it is not necessary to be flexible before coming to class.
What kind of benefits will I see?
You can expect to see and feel the reshaping of your body. Physically, you will lose inches, gain muscle tone, and improve strength and balance. Mentally, your concentration and willpower improves, and you feel less stressed. Medically, you will notice that you are healthier and less prone to injury. Bikram Yoga has been medically proven to help those suffering from insomnia, depression, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, shoulder, knee and back injuries. By changing your body, you will also change your mind and improve the quality of your life.
How often should I practice?
For optimal results, we recommend you come as least 2-3 times per week. Less frequence attendance still helps, of course, just not as quickly or completely! A consistent practice helps reduce the symptoms of many chronic conditions and promotes relaxation.
How do I create a login to access my account? What can I see in my account?
Take a minute and create a login to access your Mindbody account, the software we use at BYSJ. We’ve made it easy for you by just following this video tutorial. Once created, you will be able to check the following whenever you want:
Need to know how many classes you have left on your card? Simply go into your account, look under the tab “My Info,” and then hit the heading that says “Account” to see the status of your account.
Need to know your payment history? Sign in to your account in Mindbody and see “My Info” section and select the tab that says “Purchase History.”
Have a new email address? Sign in to your account in Mindbody and see the “My Info” section. Go to the tab that says “Profile” and update accordingly.
Is it safe to practice Bikram Yoga while pregnant?
Many women may feel intimidated by the heat of the room, since doctors often caution women away from saunas and jacuzzis. However, in Bikram yoga your body temperature rises only minimally- the average is 0.6 degrees. Just be sure to stay well-hydrated and feel free to bring a sports drink or snack into class if you find you are light-headed or hungry during class. If you need, you can even bring a thermometer to class to check your temperature during class.
How do I practice Bikram Yoga while pregnant?
If you have never done Bikram Yoga before, wait until after you’ve had your baby and come back and start in! Pregnancy is not the time to start a new form of exercise.
For current practitioners, Bikram Yoga can be a safe and healthy form of exercise during pregnancy, and many have practiced right up until delivery. Women who practiced Bikram Yoga during pregnancy have reported feeling better during pregnancy, with fewer complications, shorter, easier deliveries and calm, happy babies. You can learn to breathe, cope with stress and stay comfortable in your body through all of the changes pregnancy has to offer.
Still, there are some important notes to consider before continuing your practice:
- Get the approval of your doctor, midwife, or medical practitioner who knows you and your medical history. For this reason, we ask you to sign the special pregnancy waiver during this time.
- As soon as you know you are pregnant, start practicing Rajashree’s pregnancy modifications. Rajashree’s pregnancy series was also made into a DVD video and handbook, both of which are available for purchase in our retail section.
- Take it easy and enjoy yourself! Now is not the time to kill yourself! Practice at about 50% of your capacity and never to exhaustion. Set up in a cooler area of the room or by the door, and feel free to leave class anytime to cool down.
A few more notes:
- First trimester can be challenging as you adjust to new hormones and increased blood volume.
- Do not push your hips forward in the backward bends. The cartilage in your hips is preparing for birth by loosening and is less stable than it was before you were pregnant.
- After the first trimester, skip all forward compressions and belly-down postures.
- From the second trimester on, practice standing postures with your feet six inches apart for balance and stability.
“Doing Bikram yoga during my pregnancy helped maintain mobility in my body without the normal aches, pains and discomfort that many pregnant women talk about. I felt more connected with my baby and my body’s internal wisdom that was involved in the creation of Katya. Yoga also made recovery after pregnancy and birth quick and effortless. My body literally bounced back an hour after giving birth. I was walking around, going to the bathroom and felt good. All the nurses and mid-wives were amazed.” – BYSJ Teacher, Marialena Roussere
Didn’t answer your question yet? No problem, just contact us and we’ll get you the answer.