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Bikram Yoga

by Bea July 29th, 2009 | Exercise, Injuries
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bikramI recently started taking a Bikram Yoga class in Boston, Massachusetts, because I wanted to try something new. My friend works there, so she told me about the trial period classes, and I thought it would be a fun thing to try!

For those of you who do not know, Bikram Yoga, otherwise known as “hot” yoga, is a type of yoga that is done at about 105 degrees Fahrenheit and at about 60% humidity. It is a 90 minute class in which the instructor walks you through twenty-six different poses that are all done twice. The second set of each exercise is typically shorter than the first one.

I know that I feel amazing after walking out of one of those classes. I’ve never sweat so much before in my life, and I apparently burn over 900 calories per class! However, thinking about the poses that are carried out, I began to wonder if Bikram Yoga could be detrimental.

What I have found is that if you are a healthy person, Bikram should be fine. I found that people with low and high blood pressure should be careful during these classes. Also, you are often asked to stretch much further than your flexibility. Because you are in a hot room, it’s doable, but you must be careful.

The most common injuries are those to your lower back and knees. There are postures that require extreme bending of the knees — squats and sitting backward on folded legs, for example — and they tend to cause tears in knee cartilage. A lot of pressure is put on your knees during these classes, and you are often asked to lock your knees. Whenever I practice with a sports team, I am always warned against locking my knees– the exact opposite of what goes on in Bikram. The instructors know that some poses cause pain. When we perform the back bend they tell us, “this is going to hurt, it should hurt, keep bending, come down, look back, stretch back…” and yes, it kills!

Yoga can be really helpful to your health. It promotes getting oxygen to organs, increases flexibility, and more. If you perform everything correctly, all should go well.

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Comments 2 Responses to “Bikram Yoga”
  1. […] one that most people think of off the top of their heads is indeed Hot Yoga, or Bikram Yoga. In Bikram Yoga, one typically practices the same 26 poses in a 100-110 degree room. The purpose of […]

  2. Jen says:

    I have taken Bikram Yoga – the locking of the knee comment above is not what I experienced, in fact – the instructor explained how the term ‘lock’ is misunderstood – it really is meant to contract one’s muscles – lift up the muscle – if you have ever done ballet dancing it is the same experience – finding your core balance….ask your instructor for additional explanation and see if they can help.

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.