Yoga is a traditional system of meditation that is often associated with Hinduism and Buddhism. It is an ancient healing that is practiced all over the world because of its physical, psychological and spiritual benefits. It can relieve body aches and at the same time bring the person a deep sense of tranquility. It is also used as a supplementary therapy for medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and even cancer.
Bikram Yoga is a unique system of yoga. It was developed in the early 1970s by Indian Yoga guru Bikram Choudhury. At the age of seventeen, he was crippled by a weigh lifting accident and doctors believed he could never walk again. Unable to accept the diagnosis, he had himself carried back to his yoga school where his mentor, Bishnu Ghosh, himself helped him. In six months time, he was able to walk again. It is his personal healing that brought him to the creation of this system of yoga. Bikram Yoga is a form of hot yoga, meaning yoga performed in humid temperature, in a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing patterns. The program runs for ninety minutes, with each pose done at least twice. These series have a significant healing power to both body and mind. Bikram continually spreads to the world this unique art and concept of healthy living, which has been openly accepted by many.
In popular culture, Bikram yoga has been dubbed as Hot Yoga, for it is performed under hot conditions with a recommended minimum temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and 40% humidity. The purpose behind this is that hot temperature opens skin pores to allow release of toxins from the body. It also improves heart rate for a better cardiovascular exercise and allows deeper muscles stretching. The benefits of this yoga system is also outstanding, because it works on just about every part of the body, both inside and out. Positive influences include increased flexibility and energy, reduction of stress, weight loss, lowered blood pressure, improved muscle tone and better circulation.
The popularity of this form of yoga is staggering. Bikram opened his line of yoga schools – the first being in India, the infamous Bikram’s Yoga College of India. Later, he has expanded his reach and opened colleges all over the world. It was in Japan that he was able to prove the many medical benefits of this yoga system, such as stimulation of the immune system, and as well as the thyroid glands.