Bikram Yoga Helps Improve Bone Mineral Density

In our last post, we looked at how Bikram Yoga (BY) helps with physical fitness. This week, we will discuss how BY improve bone mineral density, which is important all through out our lives, but especially as we age.

Maintaining bone mineral density (BMD) reflects the strength of bones, and is important in reducing instances of osteoporosis and falls-related fractures. Healthy lifestyle choices such as nutrition, regular exercise – especially resistance training, and impact based activities, help minimize BMD loss and reduce the risk of fractures later in life.

Yoga can be an excellent tool in helping maintain peak bone mass and slow down bone loss. We know some of the main components of the BY practice is balance, flexibility, lubrication of joints, increased range of motion, spinal alignment and a significant improvement in lower-limb strength. It’s also a weight-bearing exercise, where students use their own body weight to create resistance in the postures and torque on the bones to build bone density, much in the same way you build muscle strength (through Wolffs Law). Bones get stronger and stay strong when they are called upon to do more. Given all of this, your yoga practice helps keep you more stable and sturdy, helps reduce the risk of falls and fractures, and helps maintain BMD, especially for those who cannot engage in high-impact or more dynamic activity such as running.

A study in 2010, “Bikram Yoga as a Countermeasure of Bone Loss in Women“, clearly shows this link between BY and a higher BMD – saying that BY practitioners had above average bone mineral density at the lumbar spine, hip and in total body scores. Even more impressive, each of the subjects had a total body calcium Z-score one standard deviation above the norm for their age and ethnic cohort. Please click on the highlighted title to read the article yourself.

If you have a story you’d like to share on how BY has helped with your own body, we’d love to hear, and if possible, feature you in our newsletter or on social media! Please talk to Sherry at reception, or send your story to info@bikramyoganorthbrisbane.com.au . You can follow us on Instagram @bikrambrisbane

How Bikram Yoga helps with your Physical Fitness

Over the next weeks, we are going to explore the benefits of the Bikram Yoga series, and will begin with how Bikram Yoga helps with your physical fitness.

Physical fitness consists of five fields of health (cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility and body composition), and six skill-related fields (balance, reaction time, speed, agility, power and coordination). The health related fields are particular interesting as they are associated with better overall health and lower risk of chronic disease, disability and mortality.

After reading through some research performed on a group of Bikram students over an eight week period in Colorado, USA (link is at bottom of this blog), the observed recordings and data proved what we all experience in our bodies from a consistent Bikram practice. The research results showed significant increase in both upper and lower body range of motion, balance, muscular endurance and strength, coordination, and reductions in back pain, adipose tissue (body fat), inflammation, and BMI due to the increased energy expenditure. Lastly, they did note a significant improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness in individuals who were otherwise more sedentary, asthmatics and older. There were also recordings of improvements in hormonal-imbalances.

Of course how your nourish your body with food and lifestyle choices will influence your physical fitness as well, we cannot ignore that. However, the benefits of a regular Bikram practice will put you in good stead towards feeling your best and moving confidently as you age. The twenty-six postures and 2 breathing exercises systematically moves fresh, oxygenated blood to one hundred percent of your body, to each organ and fiber, stimulating each of the body’s system to perform optimally, it boosts detoxification, enhances coordination, flexibility and balance, and requires you to both use and improve your own body strength.

We love hearing from our students how their health and lives have changed since including Bikram into their routine. If you have story to share, please let us know at the studio, on our blog, or any of our social media pages. We are on instagram – @bikrambrisbane and facebook – Bikram Yoga Nundah.

We look forward to seeing you at the studio xx

You can look further at the studies here:

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00124278-201303000-00035

June ’19 News

A warm hello to our community! We hope you are enjoying your time at the studio, and look forward to seeing you more in the hot room as the cooler months set in. We’ve added two state-of-the-art humidifiers to the hot room (you may have noticed the extra mist inside!), ensuring that we are still getting our sweat on each time we step on our mats for Bikram or Inferno Hot Pilates. Our Yin classes are still on every Thursday at 6:30pm, and Sundays at 6pm, our monthly silent class is on the last Sunday morning at 7am, and our Kundalini workshops have been added to the schedule every month now, by popular demand. We are even looking to at putting them on fortnightly, so please let us know if this is something you’re interested in.

We’d be so grateful as well if you could please post and check in on your social media when you come to class. Did you know, Before Yogananda died in 1952 he whispered to his student- “something called social media is coming… and if you don’t post and check in, it’s the same as not doing savasana at the end of class” but worse 😉  Help us promote our family business, we really appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts.

Thank you to our teachers, for the knowledge and care you share to your students in your classes, carrying them through from start to end, and helping them feel better in themselves and their bodies. Thank you to our angels, for keeping our studio clean and tidy for everyone to enjoy! And thank you to our students, for coming to the studio and taking positive action towards being the best version of themselves possible. You are a big inspiration!

See you at the studio soon! Love Sherry and the team at BYNB xx

June Special – Members can bring a friend for free to our Yin or Inferno Hot Pilates Class

We invite our members to bring a friend complimentary to one our Yin or Inferno Hot Pilates class. It must be your friend’s first time to our studio.

Thinking of doing two Bikram classes in one day? Here is how to pace yourself:

Back to Back

So you’re going to do a double, good for you! There are two kinds of doubles that you could do: back to back (only 1/2 hour between classes) and a split double (one in the morning, one in the afternoon/evening.)

– Take it easy in your first class, pace yourself. Gently remind yourself that you are doing a double during the class. It can help give you perspective and keep focus. If you didn’t get through standing bow without falling out a lot, remind yourself that you are going to be doing it again in the next class, so don’t sweat it, just take note of what you want to focus on the next time. As it’s coming right up!

-Second class you may notice you’re more flexible. You might have more energy or you might be fatigued. Just notice how you are feeling and listen to your body. The second class usually feels as if it goes by quickly.

– Have something to drink in between classes that will replenish electrolytes and give you a little sugar. Fresh juice or coconut water is ideal. You might even try raw dates (just one or two), they digest very quickly and provide immediate fuel for your body to burn. Some people can even have a banana or some fruit, just not a lot – and give yourself at least 15 mins before the next class is going to start. Don’t ingest any protein or large amounts of fiber (like a smoothie) as it can take your body a while to break this down.

– Eat a fresh and balanced meal afterwards to replenish electrolytes and drink more water than usual.

Split Double

– Replenish your electrolytes after your first class. Drink water throughout the day. Set a goal of maybe two or three liters before your next class. Don’t drink it all at once!

-Try not to eat a really large meal in between your morning and evening classes. Try a couple of small meals instead. Have a snack two or three hours before taking your second class. Make it a healthy one. (nuts, fruit, veggies)

– The second class can be a bit of wild card depending on what you did with your day in between classes. Some people will feel more flexible others may feel rather tight in places they didn’t expect. Just take it one posture at time. Remember something you did in your morning class that worked for you and see if you can bring your attention to it.

-Have a juice/electrolyte drink or smoothie waiting for you after your second class.

Doubles in general:

-Avoid drinking alcohol on days that you are going to, or have done a double.
-Avoid excessive caffeine. (skip the afternoon latte before your second class!)
-Get to bed early the night before.
-Be proud of yourself!

They’re not as scary as your mind makes them out to be!

A yoga teacher’s letter to her first time student

Sweat and Stretch at Bikram Yoga North Brisbane

 

Dear First Timer:

You don’t even realize how amazing you were throughout your first class!  You stayed in that hot, sticky, drippy room the entire time.  You followed instruction.  You took a seat when you needed one.  You even found stillness during Savasana.

I know you are doubting these words right now.  I know that you looked at the folks in the front row and had the thought, “That will never be me.  They must have been born with freakish flexibility or godly strength,” but I’m here to tell you that they started the same way you did, following along, trying their best, and wondering how they had found themselves in this crazy yoga class.  The only thing they did that others sometimes do not, is come back. And not just a couple of times, but again and again and again as they looked for a way to master the class, to master their body, their mind, and their breath.  To master their lives.

I wish that for you.  That you come back.  That you try again.  You might have resistance to this practice.  You might find an excuse why it isn’t for you.  It was too hot.  The teacher was too loud, their voice booming through the microphone, so that you cannot even pretend that you cannot hear them.  And at times they even called out your name to encourage or correct you and you wished with every loud beat of your heart pounding in your ears that they would simply leave you alone.  It was too bright and and the mirrors were too much, as you watched your face get an alarming shade of red you had never witnessed before.  You might even have a headache tonight as your body urges you to drink more water and eat better food after you dripped with what seemed like buckets of sweat throughout the class.

I hear you.  Yoga is not easy.  It is a challenge.  Taking up a regular yoga practice is one of the bravest things you can do in life.  It means you are willing to become better than you are today.  It means you are ready to take responsibility for your own life’s story and face yourself on the soul level for at least an hour, day after day, to see where you are locked up both physically and mentally in order to free yourself from past injury and emotional turmoil.  It is more than a workout.  It is a work in.

I hope I see you in my class again.  For me, there’s nothing better than sharing this yoga and I want to share it with you.  I look forward to the day you look in the mirrors and smile at what you see or maybe even pull your mat up to the front row, so you can really get a good look at you and your practice and where you are in that moment.  For someday, if you stick with it, you will find your own strength and your own flexibility, in and out of the studio and you, my friend, will shine.

Sincerely,

Your Yoga Teacher

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

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