The truth about Bikram Yoga. What is it? And Why Should I Want to Practice?

Yoga is a healing practice that engages the body and mind. Through precise movements, breathing and meditation, practitioners can come into the peace of the present moment. Flexibility, balance and strength all improve with repeated practice.

Bikram Yoga was developed by renowned teacher Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s. He began heating his classrooms to mimic the climate of his hometown in southern India. For this reason, Bikram is practiced in a room heated to about 103 to 108 degrees. That’s a little different from “hot yoga” (see below). Here at YogaSol, in Norwalk, CT, our state of the art heating system is electronically controlled, with system checks and temperature updates every 30 seconds.

Bikram Yoga also follows a specific sequence of 26 postures. Students improve flexibility and circulation through this sequence, while the high temperatures allow them to enter each posture more easily. The poses were chosen by Choudhury from classic hatha poses designed to “systematically move fresh, oxygenated blood to 100 percent of your body, to each organ and fiber.” The sequence of postures were also specifically designed to unlock each area of the body, in the order that will provide the most flexibility while recharging your inner strength and providing balance to your days and rest to your nights. This routine, and the termperatures, are what sets Bikram apart from other forms of hot yoga. The deep stretches are performed in the same order each practice to give the student maximum flexibility, circulation, endurance and oxygenation. Bikram yoga promotes revitalization, recovery from injury and overall wellbeing, making your body stronger and better able to defend against illness.

Is Bikram Yoga Different Than Hot Yoga?

Hot yoga studios practice different types of yoga. Most studios try to keep their hot yoga classes anywhere from a balmy 75 degrees to a steamy 95 degrees. The elevated temperatures help get your body ready for the workout quickly by loosening your muscles, similar to a workout warm up. The heat is also excellent for increasing sweat, allowing your body to release toxins. This is one reason we always recommend drinking lots of water and even supplementing your electrolytes. [Read here for more of our Bikram Yoga Tips for Beginners.] We don’t want anyone to end up feeling dizzy.

Since we practice Bikram Yoga, our goal is to replicate the environment found in southern India. Our yoga teachers set the thermostats from 103 to 108 degrees. Now, that’s Hot Yoga! Some studios also control the humidity. We keep our studio at 60% humidity. Our state of the art system keeps our temperatures and humidity from fluctuating, even slightly. We have the ability to remotely monitor the environment and take immediate mobile action to keep your class experience consistent and enjoyable.

As described above, Bikram Yoga is a prescribed sequence of postures. This sequence is repeated in each class in the same order.

Dan Markowitz Bikram Yoga poseThere’s an inner turmoil in my body, mind and spirit, that is crying for order and meaning, and that’s why I practice. – Dan Markowitz, Founder, YogaSol

Our founder, Dan Markowitz, describes this routing as a way of creating order and meaning in his life through the structured practice.

Think you’ll get bored? Think again!

While the postures are the same, each teacher brings a different approach to the Bikram Yoga practice.

“Even though Bikram Yoga is the same 26 poses every time, each instructor gives you a different experience. They guide you through the practice, and no one is judging you!” – Lana Chin, YogaSol Client

Our classes range in length from 90 minutes to 75 minutes long. Our Bikram Music class has an ever evolving playlist, featuring clients’ Bikram Yoga Class in Dark with Twinkle Lightsfavorite songs or honoring specific decades, bands and musicians. Some of our classes are held in the dark with twinkle lights, and some are held while storytelling. We even have a Hot HIIT Pilates class so you can rev up your metabolism and weight loss. [What is Hot HIIT, high intensity interval training? Read our Hot HIIT blog article.] Each experience is structured but unique, repetitious but new. We keep our classes consistent, and our teachers keep your practice fresh, helping you embrace where you are today and encouraging you toward your practice goals.

Our Bikram Yoga classes are suitable for practitioners of all levels. As with any form of exercise, it is important to work at your own pace. The discipline is flexible enough to provide a vigorous experience for conditioned athletes and those beginning to explore new movement options.

Finding the Right Instructor

YogaSol has several dedicated and student-focused instructors who share a passion for the Bikram Yoga practice. Dan Markowitz studied under Bikram Choudhury. Having learned the practice from the source, Dan carries deep knowledge of its elements and benefits.

As with any movement practice, choosing a teacher is a very personal decision. In the case of hot yoga, it is particularly important to practice under an instructor who knows any potential hazards and can ensure you are performing the postures safely.

Bikram Yoga may become a new way for you to experience your body’s full potential in a supportive environment that lets you start from any level. At YogaSol, you will learn from caring teachers who have a deep understanding and love of yoga practice, while pushing you to get the most you can out of each posture.

Join Our Next Class!