UFC star Paige VanZant heating up for MMA return with scorching Bikram yoga sessions

UFC star Paige VanZant is heating up for her octagon comeback with sizzling hot Bikram yoga sessions.

The American MMA star was beaten last time out, on points by Jessica Rose-Clark, on her flyweight debut.

Paige VanZant has been in a smouldering yoga studio

But she already looks in sensational shape for her next UFC bout after sweating and stretching in one of the gruelling classes.

A standard Bikram yoga class is only for the hardcore practitioner.

Classes run for 90 minutes and consist of the same series of 26 postures, all set in a room heated up to 42 °C

VanZant was putting herself through dangerous dehydrating processes to campaign at strawweight and made the move up in January, only to suffer her fourth MMA defeat.

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UFC star Paige VanZant shows off her dance moves in Instagram post

The loss did not harm her positive outlook and the former Dancing With the Stars guest stunned fans with a display of her dance moves on Instagram.

The 24-year-old came second when she appeared on the 2016 series and made her a cross-over star.

The fighter captioned the post ‘Practicing for my @dancingabc redemption’, hinting at a return to the dancefloor.

But VanZant has no plans for a career switch.

She tagged the post with “JK (just kidding) still a gangster fighter.”

VanZant came second on the 2016 edition of Dancing with the Stars
 

VanZant has a career 7-4 record in UFC

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The 24-year-old moved from strawweight to flyweight in 2017
VanZant won’t be giving up the day job any time soon however
VanZant was born in Portland, Oregon

VanZant was one of 11 women signed to set up UFC’s strawweight division in 2013, making her debut a year later.

She defeated Kailin Curran by a TKO in the third round, in a fight that won ‘Fight of the Night’ honours.

Noted for her aggressive grappling, VanZant also has a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Two of VanZant’s seven wins have come by submission, against Courtney Himes and Alex Chambers.

UFC beauty Paige VanZant challenges social media to do a perfect worm dance

Bikram Yoga Confession: how I lost my practice. |

Forgive me Bikram for I have sinned, it has been 6 years since my last yoga challenge.

I don’t really know how it happened.

My bow pose and I, 2010.

When I returned from teacher training I couldn’t get enough of the practice. Yoga was my life. All I cared about was doing the standing splits, touching my forehead to my toes, eating better, hydrating  more and sleeping consistently.

I didn’t eat dairy, wheat or sugar. I didn’t go out. I practiced five or six days a week. I taught 12 classes a week, sometimes 14, I hung out at the yoga studio. I journaled about the things I learned about myself in class. I didn’t drink.

But I was 19 Bikram! Just a kid. And I hadn’t let myself be a kid. There I was, hyper-disciplined, making yoga my life when it hit me: I wanted more.

I wanted to see what it was like to dance till 5am. I wanted to follow other career paths. I wanted to eat wheat and dairy. I wanted to be friends with more than my water bottle and naturopath.

Soon, the desire to escape my self-imposed discipline grew so strong that I started crying an hour before class. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to judge myself in the mirror. I didn’t want to obsess about standing bow or the amount of sugar in my diet.

I wanted a bit of freedom.

I blamed the yoga.

It was foolish, Bikram, I know. But it was so easy to point a finger at the most consistent and disciplined thing in my life: my practice.

I began to resent my standing bow. I stopped trying in forward stretching. I danced till dawn. I ate dairy and wheat. I began skipping class. I stopped being disciplined.

Days, weeks, months went by. It took me 3 months to want to be in the yoga room again. Slowly, inconsistently, I started practicing again. I didn’t love the hot room anymore, I was still mad at the practice. But I was trying.

After another year it became clear that it wasn’t the yoga, but it was me.

I began to understand that I wasn’t being true to myself. I had forgotten that I practice so that yoga can enrich my life but not become my life. I didn’t want to be a career yogi, but a yogi with a career.

I forgot to honour that I was both the girl who loved dancing and the girl that loved working hard.

In a way, diving so deeply into the practice taught me the most valuable lesson of all: that we must all follow our own path and stay true to our spirit. You talk about it all the time Bikram. How yoga teaches us self realization. How our practice teaches us to like and love ourselves.

And so here I am nine years into my practice, about to turn 26.

For the first time I am ready to love both parts of me, the girl that loves to stay up dancing until 5am and the girl who loves to eat fresh salads and work on her standing bow.

So I am trying again. I am ready to welcome some discipline back into my life.

For 30 days, I am going to show up and try. I will still drink lattes and eat pastries but I will also dream of standing bow and touching my forehead to toes. Let’s see what we can make happen in 30 days.

See you in the hot room, Bikram.

Winter Makes Me Crave The Bikram Yoga Heat | Hot Off The Mat ™

I sometimes feel ambivalent about the heat in a Bikram Yoga class. Most days I like it, seeing the heat as an important part of the Bikram Yoga process. Occasionally, especially on very humid days, it can feel stifling and overwhelming. It can get to be too much.

But in the winter, I crave it. I wake up in the morning thinking about it, set up in the hottest part of the room, wallow in my glorious sweat, and dream about my next class almost as soon as my current class ends. I hate being cold and the Bikram Yoga heat is a great escape from winter.

Winter can be hard on the body. The dryness of the air gives me a scratchy throat even though I sleep with a humidifier every night. The skin on my hands turns red and dry. My muscles and joints feel tighter and achier. I always seem to catch a cold or flu — perhaps because I am cooped up inside more often than at other times of year. And there is the possibility of seasonal depression, unless I take action to avoid it.

For all of these reasons, Bikram Yoga becomes even more important to my well being during the winter months. The daily stretching and flexing of my body helps alleviate the aches and pains and gives me a needed boost of energy. Many of the postures provide a boost to the immune system which can help me shake off a cold faster than I would otherwise. And the quiet mediation time helps me to fight off the winter blahs.

And there is the heat. The glorious, juicy, humid climate of the room helps moisten my throat, sooth my skin, and brings me back to the sun and fun of summer — for 90 minutes at least. Now if only I could bottle it and take it with me as I head back outside into the cold.

Fellow yogis, do you crave the Bikram Yoga heat in winter?

Hot Off The Mat is also on Facebook and Twitter

 

Is It OK To Leave Bikram Yoga Class Early?

In my morning Bikram Yoga classes a handful of people usually leave early — some after the standing series and some about 15 minutes before class ends. Hey, I get it — 90 minutes plus shower and travel time is a lot in the morning, especially if you need to be at work at a particular time. Teachers at my studio do not seem to mind — too much — and I often hear them say that some class is better than no class. But is that really true?

While out-of-town this summer I practiced at another studio where leaving early was not an option. In fact, now that I think about it, I don’t remember ever seeing anyone leave early from a Bikram Yoga class at any studio other than my primary one. I know we all appreciate the flexibility to leave early on occasion, particularly in NYC where everyone has a crazy schedule, but is leaving Bikram Yoga class early a good thing to do for your body?

I am lucky enough that I am typically able to stay for the entire class, and never gave leaving early much thought, until last week when I actually needed to leave early. It was a Monday class, which is always a littler bit tough for me after a weekend away. Even so, everything during class was fine, and after Half-Tortoise, I took my Savasna, which I then extended into a Final Savasna while others were doing the first set of Camel Pose. When Camel was over, I collected my things, headed home to shower and the day went on.

But the next day, I was incredibly sore. Not your typical Bikram Yoga sore, but sore enough that I was wondering how I was going to make it to class. In particular, my legs ached, especially my quads, and my lower back. Had I worked particularly hard in class the day prior or was something else going on? I wondered if maybe skipping the end of class stretching postures like Camel, Rabbit, Head To Knee Pose and Stretching Pose, and Spine-Twisting Pose had taken their toll.

Despite the soreness, I went to the full class the next day, and the next, but I remained somewhat uncomfortable until after class on Thursday, when things finally seemed to release. Maybe I was fighting a virus, or maybe I was just tired because it was my children’s first week back to school. But, maybe it was because I left class early on Monday. I am curious if others have had the same experience.

Readers, are you more sore when you leave Bikram Yoga class early?

You can also find Hot Off The Mat on Facebook and Twitter

 

Is bikram yoga safe for back pain?

Bikram Yoga is a popular yogic form which comprises twenty-six different postures and 2 breathing exercises that must be performed within 90 minutes. The room is heated to about 40 degrees before performing these postures, and each of these is known to possess healing properties for specific veins, muscles, joints, ligaments and internal organs of the body.

The hot temperature makes Bikram yoga unique among other yoga disciplines. The Bikram yoga’s twenty-six posture exercises systematically move freshly oxygenated blood to each part of the body.

Bikram Yoga is considered very beneficial to cure back pain. For back pain, it is not only considered safe but advantageous too. By practicing Bikram yoga twice a week, one can experience noticeable improvements. The combination of heat and humidity also helps the body to perform deeper stretches without discomfort.

Advantages of Bikram Yoga

There are several advantages of resorting to Bikram Yoga for treating back related problems. Some of them are

  • Back pain is usually caused due to rigidity and weakness of muscles. Bikram Yoga, also known as ‘Hot Yoga’ relaxes the muscles and strengthens the ones supporting the hips and shoulders, providing relief to backaches
  • Bikram Yoga is particularly suitable in cases of herniated discs which cause major lower back problems. Some of these poses have miraculous effects in such cases and can be a better alternative to long-term medications
  • Sciatica pains, which are primarily nerve oriented problems, can also be soothed substantially with Bikram Yoga sessions. Sciatica pains worsen during the emotional turbulence of any kind, and it is then that Bikram Yoga helps you gain control over your emotions so that such aggravated pains can be controlled
  • Sometimes, women experience chronic lower back aches that may worsen during premenstrual symptoms. Bikram Yoga can be useful in such cases as well. It helps in relaxing muscles and flushing of toxins from the body, facilitating painless and free movement of the body.

Precautions to be taken

The advantages of Bikram Yoga for backaches are subject to certain mandatory precautions. Some of them are:

  • Postures need to be practiced under the guidance and supervision of a trained instructor
  • Your yogic postures should be accurate. Assess your pain endurance level so that you do not subject it to more than what your body can handle
  • Avoid sharp forward bends if the pain is too much
  • Stay hydrated throughout the session.

Bikram yoga offers various other health benefits. Some of them are:

  • It helps in healing old injuries and chronic pain
  • It prevents respiratory problems
  • It helps in burning fat and aids weight loss
  • It strengthens muscles and improves the flexibility of the spine
  • It helps to stretch and strengthen sciatic nerves and tendons in the legs
  • It improves the efficiency of the immune system.

So what are you waiting for? Practice Bikram Yoga and avail its benefits!

Read more articles on Alternative Therapies.

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Practicing Bikram Yoga After a Mastectomy – Blaze Yoga and Pilates

Don’t let surgery limit your practice. Physical therapy is a must to improve range of motion and quality of life going forward. And, what do you know, the handouts and pamphlets with which I was sent home depict exercises straight out of the yoga tradition. Following are notations of how I modified the postures. Please incorporate what benefits your physical situation; don’t feel limited by my experience.

First, you will experience pain so move slowly into the postures. That being said, don’t let your fear of pain limit your achievements. Many times I stopped reaching at the same point I left off during the previous class, or even at a weeks old measure. I went through all sorts of pressure-relieving  modifications during the cobra series savasana because I assumed it would take months and months AND months to bear weight. It didn’t.

Test your limits every class. I’m not saying it’s okay to pop your stitches, but your body and your abilities change every day. It’s a good idea to check them every day so you don’t get stuck in last week’s temporary inability. For convenience, I’ll refer to a ‘well side’ and ‘surgical side’ to avoid all the rights and lefts.

Pranayama: One elbow will not be able to lift as high as the other, or as high as the class before you had surgery. Look in the mirror. Look. In. The. Mirror. Right away, with the first breathing exercise, accept where you are. You will be amazed how much the mirror helps the healing process. Lift surgical-side arm to tolerance and hold it. Focus on the expansion and stretching you feel in your chest on the inhale. With each class, continue to lift that elbow and breathe deeper. Don’t pay attention to the uneven appearance. Worst case scenario: with your arms at your side, shrug or lift your shoulders up and follow the same inhales and exhales. Tensing up or holding my breath amplified the pain. Slow, conscious breathing carried me through everything.

Half Moon: Think of your well-side arm as a stake, and your surgical-side arm as a vine that’s going to climb up that stake. Start by lifting your surgical arm as high as you’re able. Maybe you place your hand on your same side shoulder to form a stubby wing. Gradually creep your fingers towards the well shoulder, then the arm and pull yourself up on it. Your goal is to reach the top and interlock your fingers. I felt more when the surgical-side was on the bottom in the side bend. When it became too much, I lowered that arm and let it fold across my ribs. I used the same modifications with backward bending.

Hands to Feet: Don’t be in a hurry to fold forward with both arms stretched out in front of you. I started out squatting down and grabbed the back of the well-side heel. Surgical side arm was bent like T-Rex. Let it down slowly. Don’t go crazy pulling on the good side. It hurts to squish in the beginning.

Awkward: Think ‘I Dream of Jeannie’. Stretch well side arm out as usual. Fold surgical-side arm across your front and start by reaching up towards the opposite shoulder. Once there, start creeping your hand down well side’s arm. As you feel more comfortable, separate into two outstretched parallel arms.

Eagle: At first you’re not going to be able to swing your arms without popping a stitch. Do your best to entwine your arms in eagle formation. For me, this posture was the least effected. You may be surprised to realize prior to surgery you pulled your arms into your chest rather than down from your shoulders. The pain you feel now due to that compression will reinforce the need to make that correction going forward. Ahhhh, the silver lining.

Standing Head to Knee: As with Half Moon, the well-side knows what to do. I started out with my surgical-side arm pressed at my side and bent at a right angle. As I leaned forward surgical-side arm crept down my leg towards the ball of my foot until I was able to interlock my fingers. This was my screw-you-you’re-not-going-to-get-to-me posture. It was helpful to have a posture I wanted to attack; a posture I didn’t want to defeat me.

Standing Bow: For the surgical side, I grabbed my foot and kept my heel against my butt while stretching forward. Slowly I started to kick my leg back as far as my pectoral muscles and arm pit could tolerate the stretch. You will feel the difference between kicking back and up on your surgical side. Here’s where you realize just how much the kicking and stretching keep you balanced. For the well side, go back to the image of the T-Rex arm. As I healed I let the surgical-side arm hang straight down while the well side kicked. When the pain eased, I started raising the arm first with a bend at the elbow and then outstretched.

Balancing Stick: Refer to the hand/arm positioning in Half Moon. If it becomes too much, either wrap surgical-side arm around your torso and give a hug, or hold it against your side, parallel to the floor. As you feel better, allow surgical-side arm to hang straight down at a right angle to your body. Next step: slowly raise your arm.

Standing Separate Leg Stretching: Do what you can, what feels comfortable, but do something.

Triangle: This was my horror show. There’s just no comfortable place to put your arm. As with Standing Bow, you realize the importance of opposing forces: right arm stretch up, left arm stretch down. I couldn’t figure out what to do with my head and neck when the surgical-side arm was supposed to be stretching up. Don’t get discouraged. Do your best. It was a great opportunity to focus on patience and acceptance.

Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee: Treat it like Balancing Stick.

Tree: I kept my surgical side arm at my side and bent at the elbow.

Toe Stand: Scary at first because there’s a good chance you’re either going down face first, or you’re going to stretch surgical-side arm out to make a landing and be in pain. I tried to turn this posture into a positive challenge. Slow down the bent knee descent and try it with one good arm. It’s great preparation for the advanced entry in to the posture.

Savasana: It really helped me to regroup, slow down my breath and let go of what was upsetting me.

Wind Removing: Hold surgical-side arm folded in on itself; keep it close to your body. As you heal, open up the angle.

Sit up: Keep surgical side arm down, fold at elbow across your torso like a belt at your waist. You’ll be surprised how much more you use your abs! At first it’s really challenging to keep your spine straight, but that’s the goal. I chose attempting the sit up rather than rolling over. Rolling over leads to being belly down and the necessity of pushing up and I just didn’t want to deal with that.

Cobra: You know that saying ‘when a door closes, a window opens’? That was my Cobra. It was too much pressure to start cobra from a belly-down position. I was forced to squeeze my elbows into my side at a right angle and find the back muscles needed to stay lifted! Add in the arm strength and you got yourself a damned good Cobra.

Cobra Series Savasana: Oh good lord, really?! Just lie on your side fetal-style.

Locust: Ok, so I just panini-ed my tits in Savasana to *relax* and now I’m supposed to do it intentionally?! Do your best. As with Cobra….you’ll find those back muscles.

Full Locust: Rather than take off from a belly down position, I approached the posture with landing gear up. Surgical-side wing was tucked in at first.

Bow: Well-side hand grabbed a couple inches below the toes. Surgical-side arm was pressed to my side like I was going into a nose dive. My Bow was intentionally lopsided to keep pressure off the surgical side. It was more of a weeble roll at first, but gradually improved to where I could set up the posture and with healing, add the kick.

Fixed Firm: I lowered down into the posture with surgical-side arm folded over at my waist. With time and stretching I was able to reach for the opposite elbow.

Half-tortoise: Another T-Rex arm posture. You may feel like the entire ninety minutes is an exercise in futility because one side is laid up and you will be sorely wrong. Just as those with limited or no ability to see or hear often sharpen their other senses, you will locate those underutilized muscles and master a posture. Half-tortoise is one of those postures.

Camel: As if Camel isn’t emotionally or physically challenging enough to begin with! While Standing Head to Knee was my posture to rally the troops in the standing series, Camel was my touchstone in the floor series. It has all the elements: back bending, stretching, being upside down and completely exposing your chest. Attack it. The release feels so good.

Rabbit: Keep surgical-side arm close to your side for support. Add in the pull as you’re able.

Head to Knee: I used the same modifications for Standing Head to Knee

Final Stretching: I started to feel the feeling of accomplishment. I’m almost there! Don’t focus on the lack of range of mobility in your surgical side, turn your attention to how far you’ve come and how good it feels to flex your feet and stretch your calves, how good it feels to squeeze your quads and release your hamstrings and how good it feels to fold your torso over your legs. I started with BOTH arms in a pike position with my elbows by my hips. This was my release.

Half Spine Twist: My biggest challenge was for surgical-side arm to grab the knee. I hugged the top of my opposite side knee instead and stretched up like crazy. Add the twist.

Kapalbhati: Woo-hoooooooo! Give yourself a pat on the back, you did great!

So, that’s my practice, with a few peeks into my stream of consciousness during class. What I’ve noticed with my practice is that the past events have not limited my depth or expressions of the postures. As I mentioned earlier, I am extremely fortunate to be able to return to the place where I left off prior to surgery. Sure I feel a slight tug or tightness at times but no physical limitations. I have the mental ones! That is the crutch I grab for every so often. The one that says it’s ok to take it easy, the one that reaches for the modification not because I need it, but because I don’t feel like squeezing or kicking or sucking it in….the one that is still enjoying hiding in the back row. There it is, I said it.

bridget headshot 2Bridget Dubravsky is a Certified and Practicing Bikram Yoga Instructor from Maine. She is also the author of Bikram Yoga and Breast Cancer.

Bikram Yoga and the Mind

 

by Barbora Simek

Bikram Yoga is obviously a very physical practice. Often, the physicality of the practice draws the ire of other yoga communities who centralize their practice around meditation. But anyone who has practiced Bikram Yoga for long enough, knows that consistent practice has a profound and lasting impact on the mind.

“One life time is not long enough to talk about life, one lifetime is not long enough to talk about the body, one lifetime is not long enough to talk about the mind, but the basics you must know.” Bikram Choudhury

The mind can be your best friend and your worst enemy. Bikram calls the mind your telecommunication system, the vehicle that sends messages not only to your body, but the world around you. “How you use [your mind] can make you Hitler, Osama  Bin Laden, Gandhi or Jesus Christ,” says Bikram.

He points out that our mind is constantly feeding us information, “sometimes to satisfy you, sometimes only to satisfy itself.” To discipline the mind becomes one of the most important tasks in life, as it is the mind that will dictate what kind of life we will lead.

Our minds are constantly being inundated by wants and needs. “Sometimes we want but we don’t need, sometimes we need but we don’t want,” says Bikram. True discipline of the mind then, according to Bikram, is when you can make decisions based on both wants and needs accordingly.

There are many ways your mind is exercised in a Bikram Yoga class, but Bikram likes to break it down into five categories, otherwise known as the ‘five aspects of the mind.’

Bikram says that we are all born with two of these aspects that are strong and developed, the practice of yoga helps us to cultivate and strengthen all five. Each of these aspects are like muscles, the more you use them the stronger they become. The stronger they become the more you can use them in abstract and creative ways.

Faith

As we all do the postures, and feel challenged by them (often thinking things are impossible) we build faith by continuing to struggle towards our goals. As we grow through our practice we begin building faith in ourselves by seeing what we are capable of accomplishing, transcending and achieving in the room.

“If you do not believe in yourself, you cannot believe in God, in any subject or in others,” says Bikram. “When you have faith in yourself, you have the key to the kingdom, you can have faith in everything on earth.”

Self-Control

In the moments when we feel too hot, too tired, too thirsty and we want to run, chug water, yell at our teacher, our peers or ourselves, we learn self control. We teach ourselves, instead, to stay still, to drop the water bottle and breathe.

Different from mere discipline, self-control and self-discipline is being able to use your own guidance to chose a path that finds equilibrium between your mind and soul.

Concentration

“Concentrate, meditate,” you hear your teachers say all the time.

The poses in class take focus: to stay balanced, to keep your muscles engaged, to keep your mind clear. When the challenge of the class gets harder, your ability to concentrate becomes more vital to ensuring that you can survive and enjoy the class. Exercising this ability, to let go and focus on what truly matters is invaluable to life outside the yoga room.

“To achieve success in life, the best tool is concentration,” says Bikram.

Finding your concentration in the yoga room, when all circumstances around you are pulling at your focus, is the meditation of Bikram Yoga.

Determination

It happens in the last 10 seconds of the posture, in the moments when muscles burn, when we are tired, sore or weak. It is in the moment you chose to hang on a little longer, to stay in the room, to come to class when you rather watch 30 Rock. It is determination. We have all felt it, we have all used it. The more determined we become the more easily we are able to see things through, whether it is a 30 Day Challenge, or pursuing a new career, determination is what helps you to make the leap and stick to it.

Patience

Patience is likely one of the most essential aspects to a successful yoga practice. Whether it is patience with your own body and experience in the class, your fellow practitioners, teachers or environment surrounding you in the room, Bikram Yoga constantly pushes us to re-discover and cultivate patience. As we learn to balance our patience and perception of time, we begin to see an outcome. We begin to understand and interact with ourselves and our surroundings in a new light.

Note : all quotes taken from the lecture by Bikram Choudhury October 27th 2005

 

Hot Yoga Health Benefits – not just Bikram Yoga but also….

‘Hot’ yoga is normally associated with a particular system called Bikram yoga, set up by Bikram Choudhury in the early 1970’s. All Bikram classes are the same (rather than have different types or ‘levels’) and run for 90 minutes where a teacher talks the yogis through 26 postures including 2 breathing exercises, one at the start and one at the end. The reason it is described as ‘hot’ yoga is that Bikram yoga is ideally practiced in a room heated to 40 °C (104 °F) and a humidity of 40%.

Yes, that’s 40 °C !

Only Bikram certified teachers can teach Bikram classes and so, of course, there are variations that have developed under the heading ‘hot’ yoga that use similar principles and postures but are not the same as Bikram Yoga.

So what are the benefits of hot yoga? 

Most people who attend Bikram yoga classes will tell you from their own experience that, after getting over the surprise that you can actually last 90 minutes in 40 °C while doing challenging exercises, the long term effects are that you feel stronger, lighter, more flexible, your skin is clearer and you generally feel ‘fresher’…perhaps not immediately after the class, but in your daily living there’s more of a spring in your step. You may even find that your appetite changes to wanting to eat fresh food rather than processed food and if you have an injury of some kind there are many many examples of people who feel that yoga, whether ‘hot’ or not, has healed them. Here’s an inspirational video that shows what a strong commitment to practising yoga can lead to:

For those of you who like scientific proof of the benefits of hot yoga, here is the conclusion of some research reported by the Department of Health and Exercise Science, Colorado State University in 2013, as a result of monitoring some yogis who attended Bikram Yoga classes:

Yoga subjects exhibited increased deadlift strength, substantially increased lower back/hamstring flexibility, increased shoulder flexibility, and modestly decreased body fat compared with control group. 

This is a fairly limited list of benefits and many who attend Bikram yoga, and some of the other systems that have developed out of it will say there are many more benefits they experience besides just musculoskeletal efficiency.

One of the main consequences of practising any form of hot yoga is the copious sweating which helps to detoxify the body, leading to clearer skin, weight-loss and fewer ‘nasties’ in the body because they have been flushed out during the practice. To help with this, and in getting through the class itself, yogis are advised to drink plenty of water around 2 hours before the class so that they are hydrated when ‘entering the heat’. The heat in the room, and consequently the body, supports greater flexibility of the muscles and so yogis can go  deeper into the positions. Here’s a video of a class of yogis doing the 26 Bikram yoga postures, condensed into just under 2 minutes!

Many natural, organic health practices are dismissed when there is a lack of ‘scientific proof’ and on this site we try wherever possible to list any proof that has been established for any of the claims made. But we also give credence to personal experience and this link takes you to a very long list of testimonials from people who say that practising Bikram yoga has led to recovery from, in many cases, very serious illness.


Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class


But it’s not all Bikram……

In the UK, in London, a new form of hot yoga, Fierce Grace, has been developed by Michele Pernetta who introduced Bikram Yoga to the UK in 1994 after returning from LA where she had been a personal student of Bikram Choudhury for many years. Unlike Bikram Yoga there are 5 different classes within the Fierce Grace schedule to suit the different needs and preferences of yogis who attend. I go, not as often as I’d like, but I go and after initial resistance to change from the standard Bikram classes I have found that the ‘Core’ class is the one that has helped me most with a difficult hip and some mobility challenges I have which arise from it. For me, this has been the benefit of developing a range of classes to suit different needs as ‘Core’ helps me even more than the Bikram classes used to. For more information about Fierce Grace click here.

Sources:

http://www.news.colostate.edu/Release/7359

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22592178

http://www.fiercegrace.com/manifesto

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What are your thoughts about, or experiences of Hot Yoga, whether Bikram Yoga or some other system? 

Let us know below…….

Ottawa Commercial Photographer – Bikram Yoga – JVL PhotographyJVL Photography

Ottawa Commercial Photographer – Bikram Yoga

I absolutely love shooting comprehensive campaign work for my clients. As a commercial photographer, working on images from the very inception of the concept is where I like to be. I was thrilled to receive a call from Claire at Bikram Yoga Ottawa to revamp her images for their new website and other potential ad material. She wanted to work with her current line of instructors, and she wanted the images to be bold and colourful. Perfect; those are right up my photographic alley.

Most Yoga studios wide open with lots and lots of mirrors everywhere, mirrors can be a logistical nightmare if you’re planning to light and shoot the photographs on location. I also envisioned a very-straight on look, consistent, so that we wouldn’t be altering the set for every single shot. Bikram is on the third floor of an old office building in downtown Ottawa with lovely large windows facing West. The early morning light would be easy to blend with a flash exposure, while creating a lovely reflective cityscape as a background; giving these images a sense of place beyond just *any* yoga studio. I thought the windows would be my key to an easier shoot too, no mirrors to Photoshop me and my gear out of every time, no need to shoot it as a composite, just interchange every instructor and run them through their poses. I was kinda wrong…

See all that stuff on the wall? Yeah, I had to Photoshop that out. And since I chose to not shoot the series as a composite (read: on a plain background then moving the subjects into the static studio background), I had to edit the wall, the lights, the distracting elements in the background for EVERY. One. Nineteen photos. That’s my bad. Two different approaches, I chose to take one that ended up being more difficult. The benefit is that we do have variance in the backgrounds. The perspective always changes based on the best angle of view for the pose, and the final series is each one unique.

The extra space on the images will help with various website layouts, creating a good amount of custom commercial “stock” photography for Bikram to use on various pages, banners, and in print advertisements. I’m very pleased with the results, and the final product is a collaborative effort like all commercial photography. The client and I were able to come up with a great vision for the final product, she spent the extra time and money on a more unique photographic setup, as well as details like makeup by Natalie Peachy, pedicures and manicures: you’d be amazed at how much better a person feels in front of the camera after that kind of pampering. Thanks to Cole for assisting on this job, since there was no parking in the building, we had to lug our gear up and across Bank Street.

What is Bikram yoga? 26 Pure Bikram Yoga Asanas and Its Benefits

Yoga is one of the exercises that help in keeping body healthy, fit and free from most of the health issues. Yoga is followed in India from ancient times and practiced by most of the famous people to maintain their fitness. It is done completely with hands or legs and there is no requirement of any equipment unlike the gym or any other exercises. Each posture of pure Bikram Yoga is having several benefits. And if anyone is suffering from any specific problem then they will be able to get it cured by doing it for the mentioned period of time.

There are several yoga gurus in India training pure Bikram yoga at various centers. Yoga is getting popular mostly in the western countries these days who are wishing to maintain good health. These instructors follow and teach their students all the yoga asanas that are required for maintaining a healthy body.

What is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram Yoga is not something a specific type or form of yoga. But it is the traditional yoga in the revised form practiced by one of the experienced yoga gurus with the name Bikram Choudhary. This pure Bikram Yoga is designed from the original Hath Yoga and is known as hot yoga since 1970’s. This specially designed classes of yoga have many better health benefits and due to which it has been accepted by most of the western countries. All over the globe Bikram Yoga got popularized and at present there are near about 1500 hot yoga studios. And these studios are maintained only by the certified pure Bikram Yoga instructors. Pure Bikram Yoga practitioners include famous personalities and celebrities across the world.

Bikram and Hatha Yoga

Bikram Yoga is a revised form of the traditional hath yoga with lots of variations in it over the traditional ones. Pure Bikram yoga is in the following way and differs from all others.

Bikram Yoga Benefits

Bikram Yoga is offering lots of benefits that are essential to survive a happy life. Let’s have a look at the benefits of doing Bikram Yoga poses.

Pure Bikram Yoga Poses

26 poses and 2 breathing exercises of Bikram yoga are dealt with warming, stretching of muscles, ligaments along with tendons to get the health benefits. There are 26 postures of Bikram yoga we are going to discuss in detail along with its benefits.

1. Standing Deep Breathing (Pranayama)

The set of pure Bikram yoga poses starts with the Pranayama which is a breathing exercise in the standing position.

Stand with your feet grounded interlace your fingers place the knuckles of those interlaced fingers firmly beneath your chin.

Simultaneously as you inhale slowly raise your elbows like wings on either side of your head while resisting with your fingers. Lower your chin into the lowermost part of you.

Elbows should be at their peak at full inhale. The goal is to eventually elevate your elbows until your forearms meet your ears. Do not bend forward only lower your chin in a fluid movement open your mouth and release your exhalation slowly and steadily from your mouth for a long gown of six.

While simultaneously dropping your head backwards your elbows touch at the exact end of the exhale. Most people only use 10% of their lungs never allowing them to reach the maximum intended capacity which was intended.

This exercise brings the lungs to their full capacity increases circulation to the whole body and prepares the muscles for activation. During your exhalation bring your arms wrists and elbows forward meeting in front of your face, drop your arms naturally to your sides.

All the issues related to breathing gets repaired such as Bronchitis, shortness of breath along with emphysema. It also helps in providing oxygen all over the body at the same time improvises focus on ay work that is being performed.

2. Half Moon Pose (ArthaChandrasana)

Stretch your arms overhead sideways interlocking your fingers and making a tight grip without bending your arms or legs.

Slowly bend directly to your right as much as possible keep your entire body facing forward. Keep your arms straight and simultaneously push your hips directly to the left feel the pull along the entire left side of your body.

Look at your Halfmoon reflection in the mirror from the side your body is in a straight line. Stretch a little bit more and stay there for 10 seconds.

Slowly come up to center position while keeping your arms overhead. Lift your torso to the ceiling while keeping your arms straight and pressed against your ears palms flat and thumbs locked holding tight.

Bend slowly to your left as much as possible while pushing your hips to the right come slowly back to center position and straighten your arms overhead. Lift your torso up out of your hips inhale and hold your breath and slowly drop your head back as much as possible.

Bend arms and body backward while keeping your arms straight. Push forward more and bend backwards more and your weight should be on your heels. Slowly come up to center position keeping your arms over your head palms together and thumbs crossed.

Then forward from the hips all in one piece from glutes to fingertips. When you no longer can keep your legs straight completely relaxed bending your knees as well as reaching around your legs grabbing hold of your heels with your hands and allowing your four fingers and thumbs to touch the floor.

Bend your elbows and press the inner forearms completely against the back of your calves. The goal is eventually to touch your elbows together behind your knees. Stretch your body towards the floor while touching your stomach to your thigh muscles chest on the knees and face below the knees. Straighten your legs as much as possible concentrating on your exhalation as you breathe while lifting your hips toward the ceiling. Hold this pose for six breath cycles. Release your heels and come up slowly. now lower your arms slowly to your sides.

3. Awkward Pose (Utkatasana)

Stand with your feet apart more than six inches with your heels and toes square like an H.  Do not allow your knees to track past your big toes. Raise your arms in front of you so they are parallel to the floor with palms facing down keeping all muscles engaged and tight.

Stand up on your toes like a ballerina with your knees apart six inches. Sit until the backs of your thighs are parallel to the floor as if you were sitting in a chair.

It is okay if you cannot come completely down and instead try to come halfway down. Focus on one point in the room keeping total concentration with that spot.

Slowly come up continuing to keep hands and arms parallel to the floor and allow your arms to meet your side’s while slowly lowering your feet completely to the floor

4. Eagle Pose (Garudasana)

Stand with feet together and raise your arms overhead swing your arms down and allow your right arm to wrap around the left crossing at the elbow.

Twist your right hand towards your face and around the left forearm bend your knees about six inches until you feel a healthy pull and transfer your weight to your left leg while lifting your right leg high bringing it over the left thigh and wrapping around your calf and foot totally.

Once your leg is wrapped sink down even deeper onto the standing leg.

Uncross arms and legs and reverse posture to the left then raise arms overhead and back down to your sides.

5. Standing Head to Knee Pose (Dandayamana Janu sirsasana)

Slowly lift your right leg and interlock your fingers in front of you hinge down from the hips to allow your interlocked fingers to grasp firmly beneath your foot about one inch from the base of your toes with your thumbs resting on the tops of your toes.

Straighten your leg completely and keep your thigh muscles tight. Now pull the ball of your foot and your toes towards you bending your elbow straight down toward the floor.

Use your strength to pull more on the toes with your hands push more forward with the heel. Slowly straighten up and pull your knee towards your chest before allowing your right foot down.

Then pick up your left foot and lock your standing leg and reverse the pose holding it for 10 seconds. The pose helps develop concentration patience and determination.

Physically it tightens the abdominal and thigh muscles improves the flexibility of the sciatic nerve and strengthens the tendons and biceps of the thigh muscles and hamstrings in the legs.

Then slowly straighten up and allow your arms to fall back at your sides.

6. Standing Bow Pulling Pose (Dandayamana Danurasana)

Lift your right arm from your side and allow your palm space up with your arm outstretched.

Bend your right knee and lift your right foot backward and upward placing your foot into your cupped hand.

Raise your left arm in front of your fingers together and pointing forward.

Lovell your hips squarely forward with the raised in ease moving directly to the floor. Roll forward like a wheel until your abdomen is parallel to the floor. While at the same time 20 toes and kicking your right foot upward and backward with all your sweet.

Allow your leg to come slowly back downwards while allowing your hand to slowly come to your side as well repeat with the left side.

7. Balancing stick Pose (Tuladandasana)

Reach your hands above your head and allow your right leg to come forward about three feet with level and squared hips. While hinging from the waist and pivoting forward on your hip joints and raising your left leg behind you until your entire body is parallel to the floor.

Step back to Center with feet together and arms still outstretched over your head.

Repeat on other side of the body and release your arms back down to your sides standing

8. Standing separate leg stretching pose (Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Paschimottanasana)

Lift your arms overhead take a big step to the right about three to four feet allow your arms to come down hinge forward from your hips putting your weight onto your heels.

And sliding your arms down the back side of your legs to grip the backs of your ankles firmly near the heel with your thumbs on the outside of the feet.

Slowly straighten up and raise your arms back parallel and bring your right foot back to center. Raise your arms to meet back overhead and allow them to fall back down to your sides

9. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

Raise your arms to meet overhead and then allow them to fall parallel to the floor. While simultaneously taking a step to your left with your left leg push your hips and stomach forward.

Keep your left knee strong and flexed while turning your right foot and leg directly to the right bending your right knee while keeping your spine straight.

Keeping your arms straight bend your torso directly to the right while placing your elbow in front of the right knee and the fingertips against the big toe.

Look up at the ceiling fingers together and palm facing forward straighten your right leg back to standing and turn your right foot forward with your arms still extended sideways.

Turn your left foot and leg to the left while keeping your right foot facing forward. Straighten the left leg and turn body and foot to the front then move your right leg back to center.

This is the only posture in the world that improves every muscle joint tendon and internal organ in the body it revitalizes nerves mains and tendons.

10. Standing separate leg Forehead to Knee Pose (Dandayamana Vibhaktapada Janu Sirsasana)

Elevate your arms to have your palms meet overhead.

With your right leg take a big step sideways also turning your hips torso face and arms overhead directly to the right.

Keeping both legs straight then forward from your hips and touch your chin to your chest.

Straighten up still facing to the right and reverse the pose to the left

11. Tree Pose (Tadasana)

With your feet together fix your gaze upon one spot in the room. Reach down and take a hold of your right foot to meet the top of your left thigh with the sole facing the ceiling.

Straighten your spine and tighten your buttocks force the bent knee downward and have your palms meet in front of your chest.

Gently lower your right leg to the floor and relax it. Refix your gaze and pick up the left foot continuing the pose on the other side.

12. Toe stand (Padangustasana)

Exactly isn’t Tree Pose shift your weight to your left leg and lift your right foot up onto your left thigh. Place your hands in front of your breastbone palm to palm bending from the lower spine reach forward with both hands to the floor.

Supporting yourself with your fingers sink down slowly the rest of the way on the ball of your left foot until your right buttock is sitting on your left heel.

Once you are down with your legs still crossed over your left side move your hands to your side sitting on your heel and balancing yourself on the bottom.

Stand up slowly by putting both hands in front of you. Or she left me backward until its strength and come up the same way you went down.

Lower your right foot and shake the leg to relax it.

Raise the left foot onto your right thigh and repeat the toast end on the left side

13. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Spread your towels on the floor and lie flat on your back. You should never live with your feet toward the front of the room.

Arms should be at your sides with palms facing upward feet relaxed and flopping.

Breathe normally and completely relax for two minutes.

Corpse pose return circulation to normal and teaches complete relaxation

14. Wind Removing Pose (Pavanmuktasana)

From where you lie in Savasana, bend your right knee towards your chest interlacing your fingers of both hands and taking hold of the raised leg two inches below the knee.

Keep your elbows close to your body and shoulders relaxed on the floor. Pull your knee to your chest with your foot relaxed. Lower the right leg and both arms to the floor and then bend the left knee and reverse the pose. Then lower the left leg and both arms to the floor.

Lift both knees up to the chest and clasp your arms around them just under the knees and hug them tightly hands grasping opposite elbows.

Keeping your shoulders on the floor pull your knees down to the chest as much as possible. And lower your chin to your chest and force your hips downward until your tailbone touches the floor. Lower both legs and arms to the floor

15. Bikram Yoga Sit Up (PadaHasthasana)

Lie down on your back with your toes flexed upwards towards the ceiling and bring both arms overhead and cross your thumbs.

Promptly dive forward while you exhale and reach for your toes keeping your legs on the floor.

16. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

Lie down on your towel on your stomach with your legs and feet together all the muscles in your legs and buttocks are tight like rocks.

Look up at the ceiling using your spine strength to lift yourself and raise your torso off the floor only to your bellybutton.

Arch your back as much as possible with head and torso still only using your spinal strength. Slowly lower out of your torso and turn your face to one side.

17. Locust Pose (Salabhasana)

Lie on your towel on your stomach with your chin on the towel. Put your arms under your body with elbows turned upward against your abdomen raise the right leg straight upward to a 45-degree angle.

The toe of your right leg should be pointed slowly lower your right leg to the floor while still keeping your arms under your body. Lift your left leg straight up and hold with the toe pointing.

Slowly lower the left leg and tilt your head down so that your lips touch your towel. With arms in the same position and legs, straight toes pointed take a deep breath and raise both legs and hips simultaneously off of the floor.

Lower both legs slowly with control and pull your arms out from underneath your body and relax them at your side’s the palms up and turn your face to one side.

18. Full Locust Pose (PoornaSalabhasana)

Lying on your towel on your stomach stretch your arms out to the sides with your palms facing down.

Put your chin on the towel and your knees legs and feet together on a deep inhalation all in one movement look up at the ceiling and raise your arms head chest torso and legs up and off the floor.

Slowly come down and turn your head to one side with your arms relaxed at your sides.

19. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

Lie on your stomach on the towel then your knees and bring your feet towards your buttocks. Grasping the instep firmly about two inches below your pointed toes.

On a deep inhalation look up at the ceiling while lifting your thighs and upper body off of the floor. Kick backwards against your hands while lifting the legs even higher off of the floor.

Roll your bodyweight farther forward the higher that you kick. Lower your torso and leg slowly and turn your head to the side

20. Fixed Firm Pose (SuptaVajrasana)

Move your feet apart only the width of your hips. Place your hands behind you on your feet.  Bend your right elbow down to the floor behind you. And then bend your left elbow to the floor so that your torso is leaning backward supported by the elbows.

Raise your arms overhead opposite hands grabbing opposite elbows with both arms flat on the floor.

Tuck your chin downward towards your chest and completely relax. Come up slowly using elbows and hands for support and rest your hands on the tops of your thighs.

21. Half Tortoise Pose (ArdhaKurmasana)

Kneel down Japanese-style at the front of your mat. Raise your arms up over your head sideways with your palms together. The arms touching your ears then slowly forward on your lower spine in a straight line from the tailbone to your fingertips.

Stretching your spine forward and emphasize this deep exhalation. Stretch your arms forward as much as possible then touch your forehead to the mat with your chin away from your chest.

Totally relax your back and shoulders come up exactly as you went down slowly in one solid piece keep your hips touching your heels and back is straight lower the arms down sideways.

22. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Stand up on your knees on your mat. Knees and feet six inches apart. Put your hands on the back of your hips with your fingers pointing toward the floor.

Keeping your hands on your hips drop your head back completely. Bring your right hand down and take a firm hold of your right heel thumb on the outside and fingers pointing downward.

Then bring your left hand down and take hold of your left heel thumb outside again and fingers pointing inward. Simultaneously arc your torso backward .you should feel it in the small of your back come up slowly the way that you went down.

Right hand to the right hip and left hand back to the left hip to help you to straighten.

23. Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana)

Kneel on your mat Japanese style reach around and grasp your heels so that your thumbs are on the outside and you are cradling your heels in your palms.

Lower your chin to your chest with emphasis on your exhalation and curl your torso slowly and tightly forward. Until your forehead touches your knees and the top of your head touches the floor.

Lift your hips into the air rolling your body forward like a wheel if there is a gap between the forehead and knees walk the knees forward until they touch the forehead rather than reaching for the knees with the forehead.

Very slowly uncurl back up to your kneeling position an exact reversal of the way that you came into this posture.

24. Head to knee pose and stretching pose (Janushirsasna with Paschimottanasana)

Sit on the floor and stretch your right leg to the right. Bend your left knee raise your arms overhead sideways and with your arms and head together stretch down over the straight right leg.

Take hold of your right foot with both hands and fingers tightly interlocked under the toes and the thumbs crossed on the tops of the toes.

Pull back the toes towards you as much as possible. Come up slowly and reverse the pose on the left side. This is a pulling exercise and slowly bend your elbow straight down toward the floor.

Tuck your chin to your chest and touch your forehead to your knee. If your knee is bent try to push it down with your forehead. Come up and extend both legs straight out in front of you. Take hold of your big toes with the first two fingers of each hand.

Pull the toes towards you as much as possible. With the emphasis on exhalation and without bending your knees touch your elbows to the floor and touch stomach chest and face to your legs.

Your goal is to pull your heels off of the floor and touch your forehead to your toes come up slowly and allow your hands to rest at your side.

25. Spine Twisting Pose (ArdhaMatsyendrasana)

Bend your left leg so that your knee is on the floor and your left heel is touching the side of your right buttock. Bend your right knee and bring your right leg over the left leg.

Putting your right foot down just to the left of your left knee. Bring your left arm to the right and over your right knee. Press the elbow of that arm back against the right knee in between the left knee and the right ankle.

Grasping the kneecap firmly with your palm. Turn your head to the right and twist your face shoulders and the whole torso to the right unwind.

Reverse legs and arms and do the pose to the left side now.

Spine twisting pose is the only exercise that twists the spine from top to bottom at the same time. It increases circulation and nutrition to spinal nerves veins and tissues. It improves spinal elasticity and flexibility in addition to the flexibility of the hip joint.

26. Blowing in Firm (Kapalabhathi)

Kneeled down Japanese-style with your spine very straight and hands resting on. Begin to blow your breath vigorously through your lips as though blowing out a candle.

Concentrate on your exhalations pull in your stomach and firmly and then immediately relax in your stomach and contracted firmly with the next exhalation.

Repeat this 60 times slowly and rhythmically giving each exhalation one count.

Watch Bikram Yoga Video:

All the above are the set of 26 poses in Pure Bikram Yoga, which helps in maintaining a balanced health from the head to toe by circulating blood as well as oxygen to entire body parts.