* Bikram Yoga was founded by Bikram Choudhury, a former Olympic weightlifter. These yoga classes last about 90 minutes and go through a series of 26 poses. Bikram yoga’s trademark is the hot temperatures the yoga sessions are conducted in. Temperatures can go up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity is around 40 percent.

Bikram yoga is done in hot rooms because the heat will make your body more flexible. This heat which seems like such a nightmare is actually the temperature in India on hot days. So, it is not bad for the body. When you sweat profusely, your body will be flushing out toxins.

Is Hot Yoga Bikram Yoga?

One must understand that hot yoga has become very popular these days but not all hot yoga is Bikram yoga. Just because a yoga session is done in a hot room does not make it Bikram yoga. Many people who are doing hot yoga think that they’re doing Bikram yoga when in fact they’re doing Vinayasa yoga in a hot room.

Bikram is an undisputed yoga champion in India and the poses he created are based on his knowledge and experience of this ancient art. That makes it very unique and highly efficient because Bikram knows more about yoga than most people who have been doing it for years. With over 1000 yoga studios around the world and having fans like Demi Moore, George Clooney, Robin Williams and many more speak to Bikram yoga’s efficacy.

Bikram himself has been quoted as saying that his yoga gives you a workout “from the bones to the skin and the fingertips to the toes”.

The 26 poses will make you stronger, more flexible, leaner, increase your energy, improve your sleep and generally leave you feeling and looking better. Initially, most people face difficulties adapting and performing these difficult poses. The stifling heat does not help either. But don’t worry. With time, all these moves and poses will be under your belt.

Here’s a list of a few of the different Bikram yoga poses and their benefits:

  1. Half-Moon – To increase spine flexibility, strengthen core muscles, promote proper kidney function
  2. Hands to Feet – Improves circulation, tones ligaments, upper body and back muscles
  3. Awkward Pose – Tones legs, increases circulation, improves balance, cures slipped discs, alleviates rheumatism and arthritis
  4. Eagle Pose – Opens up skeletal system, improves blood flow to sex organs and kidneys
  5. Standing Head to Knee – Improves flexibility, strengthens hamstrings
  6. Standing Bow Pose – Strengthens spine
  7. Balancing Stick – Strengthens heart, promotes good posture and improves concentration

Bikram Yoga - Poses 1 to 6

Bikram Yoga - Pose 7

These are just the first 7 poses and you can see how many benefits there are. The full 26 poses are an excellent workout for both your muscles and internal organs. You may wish to get Bikram’s book – Bikram Yoga: The Guru Behind Hot Yoga Shows the Way to Radiant Health and Personal Fulfillment by Bikram Choudhury.

If you’re curious as to what the poses are and you wish to try them at home, you may want to do more research on YouTube or Google and see the different poses. Bikram Yoga is fantastic, even top athletes will benefit from this practice. And if you’re a beginner to yoga, you might want to give Bikram yoga a try. The best way is with a certified Bikram Yoga teacher.

But if you go it alone, please always remember that yoga works more muscles in your body than most fitness programs do! So, be gentle with yourself, and give yourself time to learn the proper pose. Yoga is not a competition, and how flexible you are, it’s about unifying your mind, body and spirit and bringing it in balance through a pose. So don’t compare yourself to someone who has been practicing it for years, but compare your progress and evolution and how well you feel over the next years to come!

Below is a video about the miraculous benefits of Bikram Yoga on the Jo Show. In it she interviews Aimee Folette, an NYC certified Bikram Yoga instructor. Enjoy!