Bikram Yoga explained

Welcome to our weekly series dedicated to helping you navigate the confusing terminology of yoga. Beginner or not, this ‘yoga dictionary’ explains what your yoga-loving friends and teachers mean when they say hatha, kundalini, iyengar, yin, etc.

Find us here, every Tuesday, quenching the curiosity surrounding a bizarre yogi word.

This week’s term:

Bikram Yoga

Hot and sweaty are the name of the game in a Bikram yoga class – the rooms are deliberately heated to make you sweat and to cleanse your body.

A type of yoga practice developed more recently than most – in the 1970s by Indian yogi Bikram Choudhury – Bikram yoga was built around a sequence of 26 poses designed to stretch and strengthen your muscles. Combined with the heat, the movements are also meant to compress and rinse your organs of unwanted toxins.

The key defining factor of Bikram yoga is that it follows the same sequence of poses, every time, no matter where in the world you are. If you find that it doesn’t, you’ve actually just stumbled into a hot yoga class.

Physical difficulty:

The heat of the room adds a level of difficulty to an otherwise Ashram-like intensity. It is absolutely essential that you drink plenty of water throughout the day before and after your Bikram yoga class to stay hydrated so that you can practice at your best. Also, proper attire and a sweat towel help, so that you don’t slide on your mat or out of poses from sweaty palms or feet.

Best part of Bikram:

When you leave a Bikram yoga class, you feel entirely refreshed from all of the sweating and mental focus it involves. A nice shower after a Bikram yoga class is a glorious experience as well.

If you feel like taking your yoga practice and learning beyond the studio, check out some yoga holidays and retreats and indulge your inner yogini/yogi.

Last week’s term: Vinyasa Flow