The Bikram experience and benefits of it

Meital Abraham, Reporter

The benefits of Bikram Yoga include detoxification, the improvement of your immune system, flexibility, mental concentration and relaxation of the body, according to Best Health Magazine. But before I express my deep appreciation and love for Bikram Yoga, you have to know the difference between hot yoga and Bikram.

Hot yoga can refer to any yoga class in a heated room of 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit. The poses are usually a vinyasa style of practice, where the poses are linked and often “sun salutations,” according to AboutHealth. On the other hand, Bikram Yoga was originated by living yoga master Bikram Choudhury. Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 postures and two Pranamaya, or breathing, exercises. Each posture is performed twice in a 90 minute class, and the room is heated to about 105 degrees.

Over Thanksgiving break, I went to Bethesda, Maryland with my parents to visit friends of the family. My father’s friend convinced him to go to the 9:15 A.M. Bikram Yoga class in Tenleytown. I tagged along, as well as the friend’s son. I’m typically a person who enjoys heat, I occasionally wear sweaters during the summer. However, 105 degrees felt hotter than I thought it would, not to mention you’re not allowed to speak in the hot room. Nevertheless, I stuck it out and completed the class. The main goal in Bikram Yoga is to stay in the room and focus on your breathing. Although I was exhausted after the 90 minutes, I felt energized in a new way. It wasn’t like working out at a gym where you’re tired and just ready to go home after your workout. I felt ready to take on the day after those 90 minutes. I also completely underestimated Bikram Yoga. I don’t mean to come off as offensive, but my schema of a yoga class is a bunch of soccer mom types that stretch and “do poses” for a while and then say “namaste.” Bikram Yoga was the most challenging exercise I’d ever done even though it doesn’t involve cardio. In one 90 minute class, the average person burns over 700 calories, according to LiveStrong. The thing I enjoyed most about the class wasn’t the great exercise or the calming feeling that stays with you the entire day, what I enjoyed most was that it was self-paced and no one judges or pays much attention to you. So, since my father and I both loved it so much, we recently started trying out Bikram Yoga in Austin.

The second class was much more demanding than the first. The room felt hotter, the postures seemed more impossible, and despite not being allowed to eat two hours prior to class, two of the postures made me light headed and a bit nauseous. I didn’t get the calming, relaxed feeling after I had finished class, all I felt was an underwhelming sense of self-accomplishment. So, naturally, after class my father and I decided to ask the instructor why the second class was so much harder than the first. Her reasoning was that because we knew what to expect, it actually made the class harder. She told us that the more we come, granted we’re not both so sore that we can’t, we’ll adapt to the heat and improve our postures. We went for another class the next day, and the instructor was right. We both felt as relaxed and at peace as we had the first time we went. For that class, we had a different instructor due to the fact that they rotate between locations. This instructor explained how the hot room improves the immune system. Apparently, at 105 degrees, your body can be tricked into thinking you’re running a fever, so your immune system will try to fight it. If your immune system is fighting every day, it will get stronger. The people at the studio were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. After my second class, an Indian man came up to me and told me that he’s been doing Bikram Yoga for years. He used to have back and blood pressure issues, but after three months of practicing Bikram Yoga, his back issues went away, his blood tests came out perfect and he had lost 45 pounds. The instructor told me that her first class she couldn’t even get through three postures, she rested in the room after two and a half.

I think everyone should try Bikram Yoga at least three times in their life because there are only benefits, and everyone is completely understanding if you can’t get through all of the postures. Bikram Yoga is very effective for anyone with health issues, and I highly enjoy and recommend it. 

If anyone would like to try Bikram Yoga they can go to PureBikram off 1431 and East Whitestone Blvd. in Cedar Park, Texas, next to Cinemark Cedar Park. It’s $30 per person for a two-week trial, in which you can go at any given time, the trial even includes that you can borrow a mat and towel for free. If you attend six classes within the two weeks and would like a full membership, PureBikram waves the $30.