Bikram yoga, established in the 1970s by Bikram Choudhury, is a specialized form of hot yoga. It's known for its structured sequence of 26 postures performed in a room heated to 105°F (41°C) with 40% humidity, designed to mimic the southern Indian climate.
What distinguishes Bikram yoga from other styles is its consistent sequence and the hot, humid environment. This combination aims to enhance flexibility, endurance, and promote detoxification through intense sweating.
Bikram yoga's founder and organization is controversial. You are more likely to find a Bikram yoga class called “hot 26” or a similar generic name as teachers and studios want to separate themselves from the controversy. You can read more about it on Wikipedia.
Bikram Choudhury began studying yoga in 1969 and introduced Bikram yoga to America in the early 1970s. Influenced by his mentor B. C. Ghosh, Choudhury adapted traditional yoga practices to create a sequence suited for the Western audience. His unique approach and celebrity endorsements catapulted the style to widespread popularity.
While primarily focused on the physical aspects, Bikram yoga also incorporates elements of mental discipline and concentration, borrowing from traditional Indian yoga philosophies.
Bikram yoga consists of a fixed series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises. The practice is rigorous, performed in a heated environment to enhance muscular flexibility and endurance.
Common Poses: Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana), Eagle Pose (Garudasana), Camel Pose (Ustrasana), Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana). There are only 26 total postures that are repeated in Bikram yoga.
Experience Level: Intermediate Level to Advanced Practitioners
Physical Demand: Physically Engaging
Mind-Body Engagement: Balanced Mind-Body
Adaptability: Specialized or Restricted Adaptability
Focus Area: Comprehensive Fitness
Promotes muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and detoxification. The heated environment allows for deeper stretching, potentially reducing injury risk, and the structured sequence enhances mental focus and endurance.
Required: Yoga Mat
Nice to Have: Yoga Towel