There is a multitude of yoga including Bikram yoga, a practice of postures or asanas in a room heated to 40 ° C. Marine Ochin, Bikram yoga teacher and director of the two Yoga Bikram Paris centers helps us to get to know this discipline better.
In Sanskrit, “yoga” means union of body and mind. This discipline is both physical and meditative. It comes in several forms including Bikram yoga initiated by the Indian guru, Bikram Choudhury. If it is personally controversial, the fact remains that the practice as such of this yoga continues throughout the world. Indeed, Bikram yoga is not franchised and has no other link with the master than that of strictly reproducing and only its series of postures in a room heated to 40 ° C.
History of the bikram yoga
The founder of Bikram Yoga, Bikram Choudhury was born in Calcutta, India in 1946. It was at the age of 4 that he started practicing yoga with his spiritual master: Bishnu Gosh, who strongly inspired Bikram in this. which concerns the creation of bikram yoga.
What is Bikram yoga?
Bikram yoga draws its knowledge from hatha yoga, the original discipline from India. Bikram Choudhury is said to have been able to heal a double knee fracture thanks to yoga. He wanted to generalize the practice to make it accessible to all but coming from Calcutta, he practiced in very hot weather. As he travels a lot, he realizes that his practice was not the same when the air temperatures were lower. He then decides to think about his discipline in a room heated to 40 ° C and to develop a series of immutable postures. Bikram yoga is therefore a “hot yoga” or hot yoga taken to the extreme.
What are the differences with traditional yoga?
Heat is the main differentiator between bikram yoga and traditional yoga, but there are others. Particularly in the objective: unlike traditional yoga, bikram yoga is used much more to treat physical problems. In addition, bikram Yoga has a low number of postures compared to traditional yoga, and the sessions are longer than traditional yoga sessions which can last from ten minutes to 60 minutes.
What does a Bikram yoga class look like?
“Wherever you go in the world, real Bikram yoga classes can be recognized by very specific elements”, says Marine Ochin before detailing: “For 90 minutes, you do 26 postures and two breathing exercises twice in a room. heated to 40 ° C. The postures are very simple, there is no asana on the head or inversion. The teacher is placed in front of a mirror, on a small podium and is equipped with a microphone to be perfectly visible and heard . He never touches the pupil. He directs him by voice, with clear explanations so that the yogi corrects himself and therefore better integrates the posture without hurting himself “.Indeed, in the philosophy of Bikram yoga, the body is where it should be. Correcting a posture must be done gently and naturally by the student himself so that the asana is well and assimilated.
What are the benefits of Bikram yoga?
The heat in natural humidity allows to work in depth the flexibility and the concentration. “The human being has a strong capacity of adaptation. During a first session, the heat can surprise but little by little, the body integrates it and each session becomes more and more accessible”. Thanks to it, the muscles relax more easily, the stretches are deep without hurting. “The heat therefore protects but also makes you sweat”.
If this is not really proven, the heavy sweating would allow some to lose weight. In any case, regular and in-depth practice makes it possible to build, sculpt and lengthen the muscle thanks to the sheathing specific to yoga.
Likewise, because the postures are access around the spine, back pain manages to be relieved. “The great heat also encourages greater concentration. The fact of repeating the same postures continuously allows you to gradually dive into a meditative state which helps to relax and reduce stress.” The yogi then no longer thinks, no longer seeks what posture to achieve. He practices simply and can thus approach the meditation specific to the discipline.
- To improve perceived stress.
- Improve the quality of sleep: bikram yoga helps reduce sleep disorders thanks to its anti-stress action.
- Improve the quality of life and psychological well-being.
- Increase glucose tolerance, bone mineral density, arterial stiffness.
- Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease: Bikram yoga causes a reduction in heart rate, total cholesterol, triglycerides and hypertension, as well as an increase in cardiac endurance, which helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. .
- Strengthen joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments thanks to the fact that the 26 postures work on the whole body.
- Reduce the risk of osteoporosis: bikram yoga helps increase bone density and reduce the risk of bone loss
Who is bikram yoga for?
No matter their age, physical condition or yoga level, all individuals can practice bikram yoga. It is effective for individuals who wish to maintain their physical condition and improve their well-being.
Are there any contraindications to the practice of Bikram yoga?
The high heat could impress or even block but according to Marie Ochin, there are no specific contraindications. “Yoga, and in particular Bikram yoga, is very physical. So people who are prohibited from cardio should not practice and those who are in doubt should seek advice from their doctor.”
The heat can cause dehydration , an increase in heart rate and internal temperature, which can be dangerous for some people. Bikram Yoga is not recommended for people at risk of psychosis since it has been at the origin of psychic decompensation in certain predisposed individuals.