Friday, August 15, 2008

Hot Yoga and Bikram Choudhury

Hot Yoga, is a term applied to an ultra-intense, 90 minute class featuring a set series of 26 positions practiced in a room well above 100 degrees. There has been some controversy surrounding its benefits. Bikram Choudhury, the founder of “Hot Yoga” or otherwise known as “Bikram Yoga” touts in an article by CBS, "I don't sell cheesecake, you know that? So you come there to suffer. If you don't suffer, you don't get anything. Nothing easy in life."

Bikram claims that hot room temperature makes stretching the muscles and tendons into new positions possible. “The heat may make the body more limber, but it does nothing to stop a first-time Bikram student's potential pain. In fact, one doctor who spoke to 60 Minutes Wednesday said that people taking Bikram yoga classes should be warned, given instructions on hydration and on modifying poses to avoid pushing the body too hard.

Choudhury mocks the suggestion. ‘Tell the doctor [that] I say to start chicken farm." He adds, "What do you think I'm doing all this life? All these years?’

Celebrities and even politicians have joined in on this new workout craze. It is important to remember that despite your physical fitness level, precautions should be made to avoid injury. For more information you can read this fascinating article about Choudhury here.


Claire said...

Very interesting article. I have yet to try this form of yoga, but I have heard that it is extremely cleansing. I have always to been told prior to a yoga class that everyone should listen to their bodies and modify their position to avoid pain. It sounds like this concept would also apply to Bikram or "Hot" yoga.

JoeyB said...

Yes. Listening to your body is the #1 thing in hot yoga. It is all too easy to get swept up in what the class is doing. If your body is overheating - LAY DOWN on your mat, focus on your breath and wait for your pulse to come down. I just switched studios to: Find a good instructor and stick with 'em if you can.