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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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