Many people find that Bikram yoga has a natural place in a holistic approach to wellness and beauty. This fits well with our philosophy at MEDES, where we believe that beauty is part of wellness, and wellness a part of beauty.
So what exactly is Bikram yoga?
Like other forms of yoga, Bikram involves the holding of various postures and aims to train the mind as well as the body. It is practised in a hot room, generally warmed to 40°C, with 40% humidity.
Bikram yoga’s founder, Bikram Choudhury, was born and grew up in India, but he lived most of his adult life in America. He chose 26 yoga postures that he found gave him the most strength and flexibility, and built a practise around these poses that forms the basis of Bikram yoga. The movement initially became popular in the late 1960s and early ’70s and is now practised around the world.
The health and wellness benefits of Bikram yoga are numerous and include:
-Improved strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance
-Increased feelings of well-being
-Reduced stress and anxiety
A less well-known benefit of Bikram yoga is what is does for your skin. Many people don’t realise that skin is the body’s largest organ. An average adult’s skin weighs about three and a half kilograms and covers more than two square meters, so it’s worth looking after!
Our recommendations for post-Bikram glow
The heat and humidity in a Bikram yoga room help stimulate circulation, increase perspiration, and assist the body in eliminating toxins through the skin’s pores. While Bikram yoga is for every skin type, it’s especially beneficial for those with oily, acne-prone skin.
What to expect in a Bikram yoga class:
The first thing you’ll notice in a Bikram yoga class is that the room is hot and humid. This is to recreate the conditions in which Bikram developed his yoga in India. Bikram realised that performing yoga in these conditions helped to warm the body’s muscles and joints, encouraging blood flow and helping protect the body while performing the postures.
The postures of Bikram yoga are not particularly difficult and are, in fact, suitable for beginners, but holding these postures in the heat and humidity makes the lessons quite strenuous. Students generally come out of class sweating, but grinning from ear to ear.
A typical class:
Jodie Peterson, the owner of Bikram Yoga in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, at Brookvale, conducts classes that last for 90 minutes, in which students perform the 26 Bikram yoga postures twice.
“When you do the postures the first time, the body warms up and the blood vessels open,” Jodie explains. “The second time we go through the postures, we can push the body further.”
One of the movements that’s part of each lesson is Savasana, also known as “the dead man’s pose” or “the corpse pose”. Savasana is a restful posture in which students lie flat on their backs with their eyes open, relaxing between other postures and then for a longer period of time at the end of class.
Jodie says that Savasana is an especially important posture for those living a modern Western lifestyle, where relaxation often doesn’t feature into our busy lives.
When asked if it was mainly women who attended her classes, Jodie laughed, something she does quite a bit.
“Last week’s Tuesday class had 15 men and two women,” she says. “But generally, we have a fairly even mix.”
Typical students are aged in their 30s and older, but Bikram yoga is designed to be accessible to people of all ages and all levels of fitness.To find out more about classes at Bikram Yoga, Brookvale, go to www.bikramaustralia.com.au or contact your nearest yoga centre.