Why Hot Yoga 26 & 2 is the OG Hot Yoga in the US

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"Best hot yoga studio ever!"
- Jason H, Old Greenwich

Hot yoga 26 & 2 offers many benefits. And some people don’t realize it, but hot yoga 26 & 2 is the OG hot yoga in the US.

The roots of yoga began over 5000 years ago in India. Because of the heat and humidity in India, there was no need to create a different environment called “hot yoga.” So, while we can’t claim to be the OG, OG hot yoga, we do practice the original hot yoga that was brought over to the US. And we do create an environment that intends to mimic the hot and humid climate of the yogis in millennia past.

There are many different yoga practices, and the asana practice is just one of the 8 limbs of yoga. Asana practices include Vinyasa, Hatha, Iyengar, Ashtanga yoga, and Hot yoga.

There are different hot yoga classes, but the original hot yoga 26 & 2 classes were popularized in the US by a man named Bikram Choudhury back in the 1970s. Read on to learn the history of what used to be called Bikram yoga and why you should try Hot Yoga 26 & 2.

History of Bikram Yoga

Bikram Choudhury was a student of Hatha yoga. He originally learned yoga from a mentor in India Bishnu Charan Ghosh. While practicing with his  mentor, he borrowed the poses he was taught and created a practice he named after himself. He used twenty-six poses, practiced in a specific sequence in a 90-minute routine.

Bikram brought this practice to the US in the 1970s. And he quickly attracted Hollywood stars. By the 1990s, Bikram yoga had become popular worldwide, with yoga teacher training meaning thousands of Bikram studios began emerging. As a matter of fact, that’s when Dan opened his original yoga studio here in Connecticut.

Bikram’s unique spin on the Hatha-based practice was creating the environment similar to India’s native climate. Specifically, he practiced and taught in heat up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity around 40%. He believed India’s climate added unique benefits to practicing yoga.

Turns out, science agrees! Look for our next article on the health benefits of heat exposure.

While Bikram yoga gained popularity due to the benefits many people received from their regular practice, trouble brewed with the Bikram Choudry team. Around 2012, scandal emerged. And over the next 5 years, the world uncovered inappropriate and unacceptable behavior from Bikram the teacher. Subsequently, he filed for bankruptcy and left the US. The scandal caused many of us who benefited from our regular 26 & 2 practice to struggle through feelings of betrayal by the person and love of the yoga. We grappled with wanting to distance ourselves from disgusting behavior and continuing to get the physical pain relief/stress relief/spiritual connection we had experienced with the 26 & 2 sequence for years.

In the end, it was clear that the poses and practice had actually preceded the person…by thousands of years. There was ancient wisdom and healing in the flows that could not be corrupted by a power-hungry human being.

What Is Hot Yoga 26 & 2?

Yoga aims to create harmony in the body, mind, and spirit. The traditional and ultimate goal is to achieve samadhi, also known as enlightenment. It is about self-realization, community, and healing.

Hot Yoga 26 & 2 uses the original 26 Hatha-based poses, practiced for thousands of years in India. We believe in the results we see when we practice hot yoga 26 & 2, like alleviation of pain, stress relief, and harmony in our members. And while we practice other types of hot yoga, our hot yoga 26 & 2 classes remain our most popular.

While there are benefits in hot yoga, there are differences between the practices. Usually, general Hot yoga uses vinyasa flows and may change each class. The temperature and humidity level may also differ. However, Hot Yoga 26 and 2 follow the same series each time. We practice 2 rounds of the 26 poses, in the same sequence, and we have 2 breathing exercises in the 90-minute or 75-minute flow.

Benefits of Hot Yoga 26 and 2

The Hot Yoga 26 and 2 series aims to work the entire body in heat and humidity. It means there are various benefits of this practice, which all yoga levels can try.

Some of the top benefits of Hot Yoga 26 & 2 include:

Many benefits of Hot Yoga 26 & 2 also apply to other forms of yoga. However, the specific series and heat allow for focus on every movement, pose, and breath. The sequence becomes meditative, helping warm up muscles and reducing the risk of injury due to the heat.

The heat can also help release the endorphins and other neurotransmitters to improve mood. Sweating offers many benefits, including helping you feel healthier in your body and mind. Plus, you will feel a great sense of achievement after the sequence.

We’ve seen members get their hearts pumping, nourish their skin, reduce blood glucose levels and stress, and build bone density. One of our members actually showed us her bone density test before and after, and it was a BIG deal! Studies have found improvements in mood and daily functioning after this practice.

26 Yoga Postures

The 26 poses in the series never change. Hold times can vary depending on the instructor and the student’s ability, but usually, it is for around 5 to 60 seconds. Here are the 26 poses and two pranayama exercises for Hot Yoga 26 and 2.

Yoga Post List in Order

  1. Standing Deep Breathing Pranayama
  2. Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose or Standing Side Stretch)
  3. Utkatasana (Awkward Pose or Chair Pose)
  4. Garudasana (Eagle Pose)
  5. Dandayamana Janusirsana (Standing Head-to-Knee Pose)
  6. Dandayamana-Dhanurasana (Standing Bow-Pulling Pose or Dancer)
  7. Tuladandasana (Balancing Stick Pose or Warrior 3)
  8. Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasana (Wide-Legged Fold)
  9. Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
  10. Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Janushirasana (Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose)
  11. Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)
  12. Padangustasana (Toe Stand)
  13. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
  14. Pavanamuktasana (Wind Relieving Pose)
  15. Pada-Hasthasana (Head-to-Knee Pose)
  16. Bhujangasana (Cobra)
  17. Salabhasana (Locust Pose)
  18. Poorna Salabhasana (Full Locust Pose)
  19. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
  20. Supta Vajrasana (Fixed Firm Pose or Reclined Hero’s Pose)
  21. Ardha Kurmasana (Half Tortoise or Child’s Pose)
  22. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
  23. Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)
  24. Janushirasana With Paschimottanasana (Seated Head-to-Knee Pose)
  25. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Spine Twisting Pose)
  26. Kapalbhati Breathing in Vajrasana (Breath of Fire)

Differences and Similarities

You may notice that certain yoga poses have different names, such as Half Tortoise instead of Child’s Pose. However, how you do these poses is the same. The pranayama techniques are also used in different yoga practices but with slight modifications to the traditional seated positioning.

It is always best to follow the instruction of a yoga teacher to check the best alignment and how to do each pose. You can follow alignment advice online, which can help with improving your alignment.

However, to learn the Hot Yoga 26 series properly, attend a reputable yoga studio. You will also experience the right temperature, which is an integral part of the series. Look out for specific Hot Yoga 26 classes for this series; otherwise, you may end up at a different type of Hot yoga class.

Try Our Most Popular Classes

There are many benefits of the Hot Yoga 26 series, so teachers and studios still teach it until this day. The poses have historical roots in India and came from a lineage long before Bikram. However, the name has long been changed to honor those impacted by the unacceptable behavior of Bikram. We want to keep the focus on the yoga practice and the benefits you receive from the yoga community.

Dan and Jeanne have created an oasis for calm and community to practice yoga and build strength, flexibility and patience in a supportive and caring environment.  – Josh H, Yoga member, Yelp Review

In order to learn the sequence correctly, try a Hot Yoga 26 & 2 class for yourself. Are you based in Norwalk, CT? YogaSol offers Hot Yoga and Hot Pilates to energize your mind, body, and soul.

Book a class today to try for yourself!

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