Bikram Yoga

Some like it hot

“38 degree’s? You’re crazy! “This phrase, coupled with large, disbelieving eyes or a skeptical raised eyebrow is the most common reaction I get when I tell you that I practice Bikram Yoga and teach.

Maybe it sounds for ordinary Europeans, whose feel-good temperature of between 20 and 25 degrees is crazy to stand at 38 degrees with others in a room and to practice yoga. For most Indians that is quite normal. The birthplace of yoga enjoys in its subtropical and tropical regions of the country during the warm season temperatures well above 40 degrees. The temperature was also the first thing that appealed to me when I first heard of Bikram Yoga. Since I can remember, I love the heat, I thaw only really at temperatures of about 20 degrees. I did so immediately clear: I have to try. And from the very first moment I knew: I am finally arrived. This is the Yoga, for which I was searching for so many years.The combination of heat and asanas did me and my niggles well. After the first hour, I felt as if a cleaning crew had my entire body scrubbed spotless inside. But not only my body was changed after the first hour: Although I was completely exhausted, but my mind was calm and relaxed and floated my soul. This wonderful feeling I even years later still after each hour. The radiate many Bikram Yoginis and -Yogis also. There’s even a term for this: “Bikram Glow”.

What is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram yoga was developed by Bikram Choudhury Yogiraj. This is a sequence of 26 hatha yoga asanas, framed by two pranayama exercises. Each class lasts 90 minutes. Is practiced in a mirrored on at least two sides space is air-conditioned at 38 to 40 degrees and about 40 percent humidity. Any breathing exercise and each Asana be performed twice in succession. We speak of the first and second set. The first set is used to discover the Asana. You can build them up clean and at the same time to feel into the body: How do I feel today with this exercise? The second set is then there to deepen the asana – and as deep as it goes on the day, at any given moment. The asanas are classical hatha yoga way maintained, there is no smooth transitions between them. Each exercise is concentrated and precisely taken and dissolved. The first half of the sequence is composed of standing asanas. After the body has been prepared in this way, it is on the ground. This transition will start with an approximately two-minute Shavasana. Body and mind are brought to rest and refuel energy for floor exercises. In the bottom series follows each Asana a short relaxation. This change of tension and relaxation, the healing effects of yoga in the body can develop optimally. Will conclude the session with a final Shavasana. Bikram trained with his guru Bishnu Charan Ghosh from the outset and yoga therapy. The order of the exercises he chose so that the body is systematically worked through from top to bottom and from inside to outside. Each exercise builds on the previous one. Therefore, the order is never changed. The sequence opens every joint, mobilizes the spine, strengthens every muscle, internal organs and glands are fresh with blood.The asanas are to the effect chosen that everyone – even absolute beginners and people with injuries – it can perform. The focus is on strengthening the spine. “A healthy spine equals a healthy life”, our guru always says: “A healthy spine is a healthy life equal.” Aids are not used. Bikram is the belief that aids prevent one from to face the caused by imbalances in the body and mind challenges really. In Bikram Yoga asanas each student’s results on its own level by – as good as body strength and flexibility allow it.


Why the heat?

Bikram Choudhury brings it easily to the point: The blacksmith heated the iron even before he forges it.Would he try to form cold iron, would be
broken hammer. So it is with the human body: If you want to stretch and shape it, one must first warm him up good and then keep warm. The prana, the life energy is brought through the first breathing exercise to flow, the first few exercises to fold the inner fire. The heat from the outside supports and prevents the body cools down through the temperature gradient from the core body temperature to the outside temperature. The whole body, every muscle, connective tissue, tendons and joints remain supple. The heat has also, however, other physiological effects: activation and strengthening of the cardiovascular system, activate metabolism, support the excretion of metabolic waste products through sweating increased, strengthening the immune system and reduce the risk of injury. Since one strong sweat per hour, it is important to drink a lot. It is recommended to have during the day to take sufficient water to be well hydrated to get into the yoga class. After an hour a balance of water and electrolyte balance is necessary. In the hour itself should not drink a lot, because a full water tummy upsets during the exercises. A few small sips during the hour are perfectly adequate.In addition to the physiological heat also has a mental effect. The Yogis say that the human mind is like a drunken monkey: always on the move. Especially beginners are in a Bikram Yoga hour strong busy to fight the unaccustomed heat. Fluchtgedanken, visions of a bath in ice cubes or fantasies of a fresh breeze by the sea are quite normal – no matter how long ago already Hatha Yoga was practiced. But over time you get used to the heat. You can learn to calm the body and mind through a conscious, deep and quiet breathing. Willpower, concentration and self-confidence to be strengthened. And suddenly the point is there, where it may not be warm enough so that you feel comfortable in the hour.

Why the mirror?

Many people wonder about a mirror in the yoga studio because it represents vanity and narcissism. The classic historical way to teach yoga, was that a teacher is concerned with a student. Unfortunately, it is difficult to make yoga accessible to many people about in this way. The solution found Bikram physically assemble a sequence of asanas and pranayama that anyone can carry that works the entire body and can cure so many diseases as possible. Since it is impossible for the teachers in larger classes, during each asana to go to each individual, the student needs the opportunity to correct based on the instruction of the teacher himself. The solution: the mirroring of the yoga room. Thus, the mirror is definitely not the narcissistic absorption in one’s own image. He is – as in a ballet studio – primarily a control tool to verify the often deceptive body sensation again and correct. As the exercise is built up step by step correctly and how the alignment should look (the orientation in attitude), the teacher explained in detail. The individual student can correct his attitude itself, learns his body feeling to improve and is not constantly dependent on the help of the teacher. In addition, the mirror has a mental and emotional effect: I am confronted for 90 minutes with my reflection. If I engage in this confrontation, teaching me the mirror a lot: He teaches me to love me as I am – with all my flaws and perceived imperfections. He teaches me to recognize my beauty and uniqueness again. He helps me to find myself and to connect body and soul again. That is Yoga: the connection between body, mind and soul.

Important principles for Bikram Yoga practice – and for life

In the training we were taught first and foremost: No expectations, no judgment, no excuses.

✤ No expectations – Do not expect anything. Your expectations limit your experiences. The reality is often quite different from what you imagined you. Closets do not mess itself. Just be open to everyone and everything.

✤ No judgment – Whatever physically, mentally and emotionally happened to you, whatever is taught you and how, whoever you meet here: Rate anything or anyone, but take everything and everyone with an open heart and an open mind at. For every situation and every person you can learn something.

✤ No excuses – bother your environment not with apologies or excuses. Give always your best, then you have given everything. You know (still) do not know what you can do all things.

The hard way is right

Bikram Yoga has changed me physically, mentally and emotionally thoroughly positive. Many years in sales had made me an overweight, unbalanced and sometimes cynical people. Today my body is thanks to Bikram Yoga back in shape, strong, flexible and free of symptoms. Emotionally, I am again balanced, happy and satisfied. Mentally I am much stronger trust much more to me than before and not always looking for the path of least resistance. Because that I have learned from Bikram Choudhury: “The right way is the hard way” – “. The right way is the hard way” The path of least resistance leads to a detour back to the same fork in the road back to the one for themselves has chosen the easier way. Only one has now wasted time and energy. Therefore, one should take the more difficult path, because on it will grow one, it leads to self.

Bikram Yoga in criticism

Yes, I am enthusiastic Bikram Yogini. That makes me not blind to the often critical attitude, which can be found in the yoga community and in the press with respect to our Guru and his teaching philosophy. I would like to comment on the criticisms that have struck me most: “In Bikram Yoga, there is no spirituality.” I should like with a quote from B. K. S. Iyengar reply: “Our goal is the penetration of the mind, but to put things at the beginning at all in motion, there is no substitute for welding.” Who wants to go the full yogic way will achieve self-realization. But this trip to the self begins with a first step and that is Hatha Yoga, the physical yoga. Only when the body is healthy, we can discipline our mind and eventually find our own. In a Bikram Yoga hour, the focus is on the body, the next step is Raja Yoga, the yoga of the mind. Eventually I in my development reaches a stage where a Bikram Yoga class is a 90-minute movement meditation for me. Those who managed to discipline the body and mind wants, might learn about the philosophy and spirituality of yoga in the next step more. In Bikram Yoga, we failed in Hatha and Raja Yoga, the basis for the further path of self-realization, the foundation for a spiritual development. How and whether the spiritual journey continues, each student is left to itself.Everyone who comes in a Bikram yoga class, has the freedom to discover his own form of spirituality – or not. “The heat increases the risk of injury, because I stretch myself.” This may sound really, physically, it is not correct. The body in the heat its limits the flexibility and resilience. What leads to strains and overloads, is always a lack of mindfulness. My body sends in the heat, the same signals, if I move to my limits. These signals, anyone who wants to practice without injury, must be observed and respected. In the heat it is more flexible than at room temperature, as muscles, tendons and connective tissue with blood well, are warm and supple. Euphoria (the Juhu-I-can-my-toe-touch effect), ambition and competitive spirit cause some practitioners disregard the body signals and go to sleep. “This is so boring, always practicing the same asanas.” Then answer I with a clear: No! Yoga is a way. No one comes in a yoga class and makes equal everything absolutely right. The longer I practice, the more accurate I will in the asanas. I can go deeper with time, they understand better and learn more and more intense, what they do for me. Body and mind are becoming increasingly open and I always find more peace and quiet in the asanas. Our guru Bikram Choudhury polarized. Many love him and many dislike him. Gladly there is the opinion that has been formed over the people, with the opinion of his way to teach Hatha yoga, mixed. Unfortunately. This may be because journalists like to gloat over the absolute unvarnished utterances of our gurus and they exploit with pleasure in a direction that does not fit into the image that many have of a yoga guru. His knowledge and wisdom are in this case like under the table. Just give her any such promotional headline. Who has interviews with Bikram seen or read, knows that he is probably the nightmare of every PR consultant. He does not mince his words, always says this, what he thinks, and also before expletives he does not shy away when they emphasize what he wants to say. This is not always smooth ear. But honestly: What’s so bad about a completely open man? To me they are the best. Since there is no room for interpretation. Sometimes the pill is bitter that gives one to swallow Bikram. Luckily! The object of a guru to give me what I need, and not what I want.

The “Hot Room”

Until about the mid-1990s Bikram has trained a few selected students to teachers. Then he has to be convinced to offer a training course. There are now several thousand licensed Bikram Yoga studios that employ exclusively personally trained and certified by him teachers worldwide. The training takes place twice a year and is still led by him. Bikram Yoga is often devalued as “Celebrity Yoga”. love that many celebrities Bikram Yoga, may lie with the fact that Bikram from Shirley MacLaine to Los Angeles was brought and quickly gained Hollywood fame through this connection, of course. But the names of the prominent students are actually irrelevant. You have – like the rest of us – just know, accomplishes what small and big miracles this type of yoga to us. But we love it and always return to the “Hot Room”.

Bikram Choudhury

was born in 1946 in Calcutta. With six years he met his guru, Bishnu Charan Ghosh, the younger brother of Paramahansa Yogananda ( “Autobiography of a Yogi”). From then on, studied Bikram Yoga with him and later also started weightlifting. At age 13 he became the youngest until then the All-India Yoga Asana Championship. The next two years he remained unbeaten, earning him the title “Yogiraj”. At 18, an accident shattered his knee in weightlifting. The doctors wanted to amputate the leg. In desperation Bikram turned to his Guru who healed him in six months by means of Yoga. 1965 sent Bishnu Ghosh him to Bombay, where he practiced inter alia in hospitals yoga therapy. first time there he got the idea for his Hatha yoga sequence. As Bikram left India towards Japan, Bishnu Ghosh gave him his Karma Yoga for the journey: to spread yoga in the world. After Bikram the then US President Nixon healed by an advance phlebitis, he received in gratitude a green card. In 1973 he finally moved to Los Angeles, where he opened his first yoga school in the same year. Even today, there is the headquarters.


One thought on “Bikram Yoga

  • October 29, 2016 at 9:55 am

    I tried it once .. was way too hot for me. But thanks for the nice writeup!


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