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by inKin
12 Jul

The Pros and Cons of Bikram Yoga

Bikram yoga may burn a ton of calories, but intense 90-minute classes inside sweltering 104-degree studios aren't for the faint-hearted.


We all understand the benefits of yoga – balance, flexibility, and strength – but is traditional yoga pushing us enough, or should we turn up the intensity and give Bikram a go? The 90-minute classes practiced inside rooms heated to 104 degrees, with 40% humidity, consist of a series of 26 postures. Sound tough? Well, you're spot on; Bikram yoga is a hot topic, with legions of devotees swearing by it and just as many critics claiming that it's way too dangerous. So, let's look at the pros and cons of this sweaty sport.



The Pros


Prevent Injury

Bikram works each and every muscle and joint in your body and, as a result helps you avoid injury during training season. Regular Bikram-lovers believe that heat opens up the joints, so you have access to more muscle fibers than with regular yoga.


Prepare To Shed The Pounds

Since hot yoga increases your heart rate, your body has to work overtime to regulate it, burning loads of calories in the process. In fact, an average Bikram class can burn anywhere from 600 to 900 calories! Plus, the heat revs up your metabolism.


Detox Your Skin

As we're sure you've gathered – this is sweaty stuff. But despite the grossness of spending 90 minutes in a shower of your own making, all of this perspiring adds up to one major benefit. As you sweat, your body gets rid of all the impurities and toxins in your skin, leaving it glowing and gorgeous.


Relieve Tension

Exercise, deep breathing, and meditation are all celebrated for anxiety-reducing powers; lucky for you, Bikram yoga combines all three. Regular attendees claim they feel less anxious and more relaxed.


Feel Rejuvenated

Like any workout, you feel full of energy afterwards. With hot yoga particularly, you feel super fresh and renewed because of all the sweating and stretching.


Increase Flexibility

When muscles are cold, stretching is difficult and dangerous. But with the high temperatures and humidity of Bikram, your muscles will become incredibly loose. So, embrace the heat and get deeper into that stretch.


The Cons


It's Uncomfortable

We're not going to lie – this is going to be 90 minutes of sheer unpleasantness. After the first 30 minutes prepare to feel weak, tired and dizzy!


Beware Of Dehydration

Because you sweat so much in Bikram, your body loses essential water, and you become prone to dehydration, making you feel dizzy and nauseous. If this happens, sip water and lie down, breathing in slowly and deeply. To avoid dehydration from the get-go, drink plenty of water and fluids, ideally with electrolytes, to balance out the water and salt lost through sweat. Some studios recommend drinking up to a gallon of water the day of class. If you get dehydrated easily or have a health condition, which is sparked by heat, check with your doctor before joining in.


It Ain't Pretty

We repeat: Bikram is NOT a lunchtime workout. You will sweat. A crazy amount. So, go either before your morning shower or after work.


Bikram May Bore

Unlike other forms of yoga, Bikram can get old, fast. Once you're a regular, you'll go through the same 26 poses each and every class. While there are things you can do to up the intensity – if you like constant change, Bikram may not be for you.


Some Top Tips

  • Don't forget to bring your own mat and towel.
  • Drink plenty of water and fluids with electrolytes.
  • Don't wear layers of clothes – try to wear as few clothes as possible, and make sure they are moisture-wicking and stretchy.
  • Don't try hot yoga if you are pregnant, because it raises your internal body temperature.


Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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