Why Bikram Yoga?

Whitney Bikram Yoga

Instead of asking “Why Bikram yoga?” or even “Why yoga?” – it’s important to first ask why do anything at all that makes you feel better?

Yes, a lot of people feel great with their exercise routine of running, jumping, swimming or lifting weight and following their raw, paleo or vegan diet lifestyles. They should keep doing that. However, as someone who has experienced all sorts of exercises and the injuries that come with them, Bikram yoga helped me the most.

I graduated with a degree in exercise prescription. During my work and studies, I was introduced to a variety of exercises and therapy programs. After years in the health industry, I learned about Bikram yoga and its benefits. Eventually, I made the decision to become a Bikram yoga instructor with the goal of combining my knowledge of the exercise world with yoga and providing my students with the best possible solutions throughout their healing journeys.

Here are five things that I really enjoy about the Bikram yoga practice:

    1. The Bikram yoga routine:

As an instructor for over 10 years and a practitioner for over 12 years, I have learned that the Bikram practice increases the practitioner’s self-awareness, physical and mental strength and brings a new level of determination. Consistency is undeniably important to maintain your routine, and Bikram’s class is definitely a precise sequence. The beginner sequence always follows the same 26 postures and two breathing exercises, which allow us to deepen our practice and understand how each posture works, and how it impacts us. If we start to modify a posture instead of taking the time to do it more slowly, we can lose the therapeutic effect.

    1. The heat in the Bikram yoga practice

If there’s one thing Bikram is known for, it is that it’s hot and sometimes really hot. The heat sometimes scares people, but it is the heat that allows people to move more easily into postures. The temperatures also helps detoxify the body.

    1. The accessibility of the Bikram yoga practice

Bikram yoga is a practice accessible to everyone. Anyone who passes me on the street — the athlete, the elderly, the emotionally or physically broken soul, the young student or skateboarder — all of these people would be able to do Bikram’s beginning yoga series. For example, athletes may push themselves to their limits, but for someone with a bad back or bad knees this will be a very different process. The goal is to stay committed. It is a practice that everyone can work with. It stimulates the organs and the flow of oxygenated blood throughout your whole body.

    1. Bikram yoga as a stress reliever

Bikram Choudhury scientifically designed the introductory sequence to provide a complete workout through the balancing and strengthening of every system in the body, which should prevent illnesses and injuries. The series of postures combines elements of concentration, patience, determination and self-control, which lead to increased mental clarity and reduces stress. A regular practice of Bikram yoga also improves body posture and spine alignment. It relieves back pains and headaches, strengthens muscles, reduces symptoms of chronic diseases, gives better self-confidence, improves body image, improves flexibility, balance and strength and gives a general feeling of wellness and peace. Taking the time to do yoga will rejuvenate you.

    1. The role of Bikram yoga in one’s life

One thing that attracted me the most to Bikram was that it is pure. There are no distractions; it’s just you and your mat. When Bikram becomes your practice, you have it for life. Life is not easy and often, we are faced with difficult challenges that take away our energy, focus and ambitions. We feel as though we are on the edge, but it is in these moments that Bikram yoga provides you with the stability, clarity and motivation to start over and stay strong.

Bikram yoga works. It’s the way the series was designed … its systematic and perfect for me — and might just be for you too.

 

Author, Whitney Rydingsvard McCormick

Directer / Owner of Bikram Yoga U-District, Seattle

Is therapeutic hatha yoga a cure for diabetes?

Recently we have had a lot of students commenting on how Bikram yoga has helped manage or control diabetes, prevent and heal the ravages of the complications caused by the disease, and improve their overall quality of life. It is well known that regular practice of yoga can help reduce levels of stress, enhance mobility, balance blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, improve circulation, and enhance the function and efficiency of neurological and endocrine organs, all of which greatly benefit a diabetic student. We wanted to delve a bit deeper into the topic, exploring more specifically how the postures therapeutically improve the condition of diabetes. In our research, we found this testimonial, by Julian Goldstein, dedicated Bikram yoga practitioner, and in his own words, she gives a wonderful response to this ‘how’ (question). We have taken the testimonial from www.bikramyoga.com, the international Bikram yoga website, where you can find other articles and declarations of how Bikram yoga has helped manage and cure a wide range of diseases and disorders. As always, we recommend you discuss any treatment plan with your doctor or medical practitioner. Enjoy xx

Diabetes kills more than 350,000 Americans every year, while slowly ravaging the bodies of its surviving victims. This year alone approximately 700,000 Americans will fall victim to their diabetic onset. For 90 percent of the roughly 14 million people who are Type II diabetics, the onset will have occurred in the prime of their lives. Diabetes causes complications such as blindness, kidney failure, stroke, heart disease, hypertension and circulatory disorders leading to amputation of toes, feet and legs — ultimately causing premature death.

But are diabetes victims or perpetrators living lifestyles that beg for this malady to manifest itself? Having diabetes for over 28 years has given me some insight. But not until I discovered how to reverse this chronic disease did it become clear that I was not a victim of diabetes, but rather a casualty of my own lack of knowledge of how to care for my physical system properly.

You might ask, “Didn’t you go to the doctor and have regular physical checkups?” Certainly, I did. Sadly, it’s not until something specific arises, a manifest symptom or negative test result, that medical science steps in. Our doctors are the best in the world when it comes to treating trauma, and curing and preventing infectious disease. Chronic diseases like diabetes, however, have everyone stumped. Our doctors are able to keep us alive only with insulin and anti-diabetic medications. Continued long-term use of these medicines, unfortunately, creates complications of their own. But what if there was a way not only to reverse diabetes, but prevent its manifestation as well?

There is a Way to Reverse Diabetes I tripped over a treatment quite by accident after having suffered a herniated disc in my lower back. Three doctors proclaimed, “Surgery!” This is a risky alternative in any case, but even more so because of my diabetes. Then I heard that regular practice of hatha yoga may help my back problem.

Of far greater benefit, I soon learned, was that performing the yoga postures daily for five months eliminated my need to take insulin or any other anti-diabetic medications! I had required 75 units of insulin daily. Insulin kept me alive, but not healthy. Hatha yoga put me back on the road to good health.

This method is a therapeutic form developed by Bikram Choudhury, a yoga master from India and my teacher. His method consists primarily of two pranayamas (breathing exercises) and 26 asanas (postures). How can yoga reverse diabetes? Isn’t it just another form of exercise? Well, yes–and no. All diabetics know that daily aerobic exercise helps control blood sugar and improve circulation (poor circulation is a major complication of diabetes). Though the exact mechanics are not precisely known, exercise reduces the amount of insulin required to maintain normal blood sugar levels. For some adult onset diabetics, proper diet and exercise are all that’s required to regulate normal blood sugar. But for the vast majority, oral medication or insulin injection is necessary to maintain life. Many who at first can control blood sugar with diet and exercise find that, in later years, they also require medication.

What does hatha yoga offer that ordinary exercise doesn’t? Certain postures have a therapeutic effect upon various organs and glands. Those postures that benefit the pancreas and its functions are of the greatest interest to diabetics and pre-diabetics. It is the correct application of these postures that can reverse diabetes.

Among these are the backward bending postures such as the Ardha Chandrasana (Half-Moon pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Salabhasana (Locust Pose), Poorna Salabhasana (Full Locust Pose), Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) and Ustrasana (Camel Pose). These postures bring stimulation to the pancreas, as they exercise the erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, obliques, deep intertransversarii and posterior abdominal wall. Also, most of these postures cause the internal viscera to stretch, bringing stimulation to the pancreas and other glands and organs that otherwise receive no stimulation.

Other postures such as Dandayamana-Bibbaktapada Pashimotthanasana (Standing Separate Leg Head-to-Knee Pose), Ardha Kurmasana (Half Tortoise Pose), Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose) and Janushirasana with Pashimotthanasana (Head-to-Knee with Stretching Pose) provide stimulation and rejuvenation to the cells of the pancreas and other endocrine glands by way of compression. Compression of these glands, followed by relaxation, causes an increased volume of highly oxygenated blood to reach the cells, bringing nourishment that rejuvenates atrophied cells.

Diabetes appears to be primarily a deficiency of the pancreas. Yet our body’s internal feedback system is so complex that, when modern allopathic medicine prescribes a drug for one problem, it causes a myriad of other complications, some worse than the original symptoms. Hatha yoga is a body balancing system. Its therapeutic application utilizes the body’s power to generate its own medicines that have no negative side effects. Therapeutic hatha yoga may be considered as complementary medicine, adjunctive to modern allopathic medicine.

Since stress further complicates diabetes, the calmative effects of performing hatha yoga and the specific practice of Savasana (Dead Body Pose) at correct intervals also contributes to the reversal of this so-called chronic, incurable disease. And when certain other postures, such as Trikanasana (Triangle Pose), or Tuladandasana (Balancing Stick Pose) are applied in the therapeutic manner, aerobic conditioning occurs, eliminating the need for other exercise forms as therapy. Since hatha yoga improves flexibility and overall muscle tone, however, most everyone finds their overall athleticism improved. Additionally, age is no barrier. Though many diabetics find it difficult, if not almost impossible, to maintain a regular exercise regimen as they grow older, they are still able to maintain an effective therapeutic hatha yoga regimen.

The application of therapeutic hatha yoga to reverse “incurable” disease is relatively unknown in the West, but that is changing. Dr. Deepak Chopra, the famous endocrinologist and author of Quantum Healing, combines Western medical technology with ayurvedic medicine. A significant part of his patients’ treatment includes this form of yoga. Dr. Dean Ornish, who is famous for his radical techniques for reversing heart disease, states, “Increasing evidence indicates that medications to lower blood pressure and cholesterol prevent or reverse heart disease in only a small percentage of people. These drugs sometimes make people worse.” Therapeutic hatha yoga, diet and meditation form the major part of his treatment.

If heart disease can be “reversed,” “cured,” “controlled,” “managed without medications,” etc., then why not diabetes? Dr. Phulgenda Sinha, director of the Institute of Yoga in Patna, India, and Washington D.C., and author of Yogic Cures for Chronic Diseases, states, “The yogic treatment restores the normal functioning of the pancreas and other glands of the endocrinal system. When these glands begin to function properly, the individual is fully cured of the diabetic disorders and his health is restored to normal level.” Is a cure for diabetes too much to hope for? Diabetes is an age-old disease that has been treated successfully in the Eastern world by methods we in the West are just beginning to try, let alone understand. Amazing as it may seem, therapeutic hatha yoga has been shown to:

  1. Control diabetes at significantly reduced insulin levels for Type I diabetics;
  2. Control diabetes without any external medication for Type II diabetics;
  3. Prevent and heal the ravages of the complications caused by diabetes with the body’s own medicine.

Further, Recommend Reading: 

Bose, Buddha,
Key to the Kingdom of Health, Calcutta, India, Statesman Press, 1938.

Chopra, Deepak, M.D.,
Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine, New York, Bantam Books, 1989

Choudhury, Bikram,
Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class, New York, Putnam Publishing Group, 1978

Funderburk, James, Ph.D.,
Science Studies Yoga, A Review of Physiological Data, Glenview, IL, Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science & Philosophy of USA, 1977

Jain, Suresh C., et al.,
“A Study of response pattern of non-insulin dependent diabetics to yoga therapy,” Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 1993, 19, 69–74

Mishra, S.K.,
“Diabetes mellitus in Indian medicine and its management by yoga,” Excerpta Medica ICS, 1979, 454, 373-378

Monro, Robin, et al.,
“Yoga Therapy for NIDDM: A controlled trial,” Complementary Medical Research, 1992, 6/1, 66-68

Ornish, Dean, M.D.,
Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease, New York, Ballantine Books.

Sinha, Phulgenda,
Yogic Cure for Common Diseases, New Delhi, India, Orient Paperbacks, 1976.

Julian Goldstein, B.S., M.S., CYT, and member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, was a certified yoga therapist who had taught therapeutic hatha yoga to diabetics at the Yoga College of India in Encino, California. He published a support group newsletter for diabetics called Diabetic Backtalk and was the author of the book Diabetic Always — Insulin no More! Or Any Other Darn Pills! He was also the founder of the non-profit Diabetes Alternatives Foundation.

 

How to detox from Sugar in 10 days

Here’s the not-so-sweet truth. We are damaging our health by consuming truckloads of hidden sugar.

Sugar Is the New Fat

Despite years of us being brainwashed into thinking that fat is bad, it turns out sugar—not healthy fats —is what makes you sick and contributes to weight gain.

Sugar in all its forms is the root cause of our obesity epidemic and is a key contributer to many chronic diseases sucking the life out of us – heart disease, cancer, dementia, type-2 diabetes, ADD anxiety, depression, and even acne, infertility, and impotence.

The average person consumes about 70 kilo’s of sugar a year. That’s roughly 22 teaspoons every day for every person in Australia. And our kids consume about 34 teaspoons every day.

Food Addiction: Is It Real?

Here’s another shocking fact: Sugar is eight times as addictive as cocaine.

Being addicted to sugar is not an emotional eating disorder. It’s a biological disorder, driven by hormones and neurotransmitters that fuel sugar and carb cravings—leading to uncontrolled overeating. This is not a limited phenomenon. It’s the reason nearly 70 percent of Australians and 40 percent of kids are overweight. In one study, Harvard scientists found that a high-sugar milkshake (compared to a low-sugar one) not only spiked blood sugar and insulin and led to sugar cravings, but it caused huge changes in the brain. The sugar lit up the addiction center in the brain like fireworks in the sky. Think cocaine cookies, morphine muffins, or smack soft drinks.

Why You Need a Sugar Detox

We need a clear path to detox from sugar, to break the addictive cycle of carb and sugar cravings that rob us of our health. And you can get on your way in 10 days!

Top 10 Big Ideas to Detox From Sugar

1. Make a decision to detox.

There are three simple quizzes to help you learn if you need to detox. If you answer, “yes” to any of these questions, a sugar detox is your ticket to feeling great quickly and losing weight painlessly.

The first is the diabesity quiz.

  • Do you have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes? (90 percent of Americans have not been diagnosed.)
  • Do you have belly fat?
  • Are you overweight?
  • Do you crave sugar and carbs?
  • Do you have trouble losing weight on low-fat diets?
  • Do you have high triglycerides, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, or been told your blood sugar is “a little high?”

The second is a food addiction quiz.

  • Do you eat when you’re not hungry?
  • Do you experience a food coma after eating?
  • Do you feel bad about your eating habits or avoid certain activities because of your eating?
  • Do you get withdrawal symptoms if you cut down or stop eating sugar?
  • Do you need more and more of same bad foods just to feel good?

The third is the FLC Quiz (or the Toxicity Quiz). FLC stands for Feel Like Crap. FLC Syndrome has a list of symptoms including bloating, gas, reflux, irritable bowel, joint or muscle pain, brain fog, memory or mood problems, sinus or allergy symptoms, and more. Millions of us have FLC Syndrome and don’t realize that we are only a few days away from health and happiness. Do you experience any of these things? If so, detoxing from sugar can greatly help you.

2. Be a turkey (a cold one).

There is no way to handle a true physiological addiction except to stop it completely. Addicts can’t have just one line of cocaine or just one drink. Go cold turkey. But you won’t have to white-knuckle it because if you follow these 10 ideas, you will automatically reset your body’s neurotransmitters and hormones.

Stop consuming all forms of sugar and artificial sweeteners, which cause increased cravings and slow metabolism, and lead to fat storage. Also get rid of anything with trans or hydrogenated fats and MSG (watch for hidden names). Ideally, for 10 days you avoid any foods that come in a box, package, or a can, or that have a label. Stick to real, whole, fresh food.

3. Don’t drink your calories.

Any form of liquid sugar calories is worse than solid food with sugar or flour. Think of it as mainlining sugar directly to your liver. It turns off a fat storage machine in your liver, leading to dreaded belly fat. You don’t feel full, so you eat more all day and you crave more sugar and carbs. It’s also the single biggest source of sugar calories in our diet. That includes soft drinks, juices other than green vegetable juice, sports drinks, and sweetened teas or coffees. One 500ml soft drink has 15 teaspoons of sugar; Gatorade contains 14 teaspoons of the stuff in one bottle. One can of soft drink a day increases a kid’s chance of being obese by 60 percent and a woman’s chance of type 2 diabetes by 80 percent. Stay away.

4. Power up the day with protein.

Protein, protein, protein at every meal—especially breakfast—is the key to balancing blood sugar and insulin and cutting cravings. Start the day with eggs or a protein shake.

Use nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, chicken or grass-fed meat for protein at every meal. A serving size is 100 – 200 grams or the size of your palm.

5. Eat unlimited carbs (the right ones).

Yes, that’s right, unlimited carbs. Did you know that vegetables are carbs? And you get to eat as much as you want. There is one catch. I only mean the non-starchy veggies such as greens, anything in the broccoli family (cauliflower, kale, collards), asparagus, green beans, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, fennel, eggplant, artichokes, and peppers, to name a few.

Avoid potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash and beets—just for 10 days. Also skip grains and beans for 10 days. It supercharges the results so you lose weight and feel great.

6. Fight sugar with fat.

Fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does. Fat makes you full, balances your blood sugar, and is necessary for fueling your cells. Along with protein, have good fats at every meal and snack including nuts and seeds (which also contain protein), extra virgin olive oil, coconut butter, avocados, and omega-3 fats from fish.

7. Be ready for emergencies.

You never want to be in a food emergency when your blood sugar is dropping and you find yourself in a food desert such as an airport, the office, or in a maze of convenience stores, fast food joints, and vending machines. carry healthy snacks with you at all times, filled with protein and good fats, so you never have to make a bad choice. Here’s what’s in mine:

  • Nut butters (i.e. almond butter) and carrot sticks
  • Almonds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds
  • A can of wild salmon or sardines
  • Unsweetened wild blueberries

8. Swap distress for de-stress.

If you are stressed, your hormones go crazy. Cortisol goes up which makes you hungry, causes belly fat storage, and leads to type-2 diabetes. Studies show that taking deep breaths activates a special nerve, called the vagus nerve, that shifts your metabolism from fat storage to fat burning and quickly moves you out of the stress state. And all you have to do is take a deep breath.

Try a “Take Five Breathing Break”. It’s something you can do anywhere, anytime. Simply take five slow deep breaths—in to the count of five, out to the count of five. Five times. That’s it. Do this before every meal. Watch what happens.

9. Put out the fire (of inflammation).

Studies show that inflammation triggers blood sugar imbalances, insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, and type-2 diabetes. The most common source of inflammatory foods other than sugar, flour, and trans fats are hidden food sensitivities. The most common culprits are gluten and dairy. We often crave the foods we’re allergic to. Without them we feel lousy and want more. Quit gluten and dairy for 10 days. Getting off them isn’t easy, but after just 2 or 3 days without them, you’ll have renewed energy, relief from cravings, and will see many of your common symptoms disappear.

10. Get your Zzz’s.

Getting less sleep drives sugar and carb cravings by affecting your appetite hormones. In human studies, depriving college students of just two hours of the recommended eight hours of sleep led to a rise in hunger hormones, a decrease in appetite-suppressing hormones, and big cravings for sugar and refined carbs. You want more energy if you don’t sleep, so you go toward quickly absorbed sugars. Sleep is the best way to fight against the drive to overeat. You literally can sleep your cravings and your weight away.

Enjoy and let us know how you go! We believe combing yoga, healthy eating, and adequate rest is the best way to achieve optimum health.

With love, The BYNB Team xx

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