Bikram Yoga


What is Bikram Yoga?

Yoga Means Union

The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word for yoke, yuj, and the term literally means “union.” Different yoga practitioners have different interpretations of what sort of union that is, but it's generally taken to mean a sort of spiritual union between the individual and the universal, a union with the divine through integration of mind, body and spirit.

Anything that's more than 7 thousand years old is bound to have gone through a few changes, and yoga has been through more than its share. Different yoga practitioners and teachers have developed different styles and different techniques: Kundalini Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Tantra Yoga, Tibetan Yoga. Each has their own spin on how to find that path to union and enlightenment.

Bikram Yoga is a Form of Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga (Hatha is sanskrit for “force”) is the form of yoga that stresses the mastery of the physical body, and it is the form that has most captured our attention in the West, where it's seen as a way to develop physical health and mental well-being.

Hatha yoga combines a series of postures with breathing exercises. When someone tells you that they're taking a yoga class at the gym or that they've started practicing yoga postures with a  DVD, they are most likely engaging in some form of Hatha Yoga.

Example Hatha Yoga Position

Bikram is a “Hot” New Form of Yoga

Bikram Yoga was created by Bikram Choudhury. It is a copyrighted series of 26 asanas or postures done in a room that's heated to 105 degrees Farenheit or hotter.

Bikram was born in Calcutta, India, in 1946 and studied Hatha yoga under one of its most famous teachers, Bishnu Ghosh. Bikram was a natural at even the most difficult poses. In his teens, he won the National India Yoga Championship four times in a row.

As an adult, Bikram opened several successful Yoga schools in India, and then several in Japan, before finally opening schools in San Francisco and Hollywood in the 1970s. Bikram helped spread the practice of Hatha Yoga in the United States, and his particular form has become one of the most popular. He's created an ever-expanding yoga empire that shows no signs of slowing down its rapid growth, with official instructors, authorized schools, celebrity practitioners and endorsers, and a series of best-selling books and videos.

To read more about one of the most important aspects of Bikram Yoga, the heat, click next.

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