Reduce Stress / Increase Energy:
During this class your body will flush its lymphatic system, flush even more toxins from the bloodstream through all that sweat. It is very important that you replenish your system with plenty of water after class. Also ensure that you are well hydrated prior to class. The release of all those toxins also results in the release of stress-induced hormones such as cortisol, a hormone produced by the body when under extreme levels of stress.
Many of the postures act as a tourniquet and release, flushing the body, releasing tension in the muscles, and relaxing the body through the stimulation of pressure points. Hot yoga usually leaves you feeling renewed and revitalized. Your sleep will improve with regular practice. You will be amazed at the kinds of benefits you will receive if you can get through the beginner stage and through to the meditation of the practice and the power of the class for the mind.
The controlled breathing exercises taught in these classes, such as the pranayama standing deep breathing and the kalbhati breathing also enhance your ability to relax and release tension and to experience a clear, focused, calm mind. You will be be guided and encouraged to meditate while practicing the Bikram method class and the Hot 60 class, honing a valuable skill when dealing with stress in everyday life.
Improve Spinal Flexibility & Health:
If you practice Bikram method yoga then you know what the phrase “Spine Strengthening Series” means. If you do not yet practice Bikram method yoga here’s an explanation of these postures and how they will significantly alter the strength and flexibility of your spine if practiced properly and regularly.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
Full Locust Pose (Poorna-Salabhasana)
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
The latest research has shown that spinal extension decreases symptoms of lower back and leg pain often caused by a herniated or bulging disc. When a disc is bulging this creates pressure on the nerve roots and causes pain to radiate down through the back of the hips and into the legs.
The four postures of the spine strengthening series all involve extension of the spine (back bending) through the lifting of the legs, arms, shoulders and as in the bow pose both lower and upper body lifts. It may seem counter-intuitive to practice back bending when suffering with back pain. However extending and back bending the spine is actually one of the most useful and therapeutic movements to alleviate it.
When vertebral discs bulge or herniate it is often posteriorly (towards the back of the spine). Spinal extension with back bending opens the front of the spine and allows the disc fluid to resettle into its normal position. This helps to slowly move the disc back into its optimal position and can immediately lessen the symptoms in the lower back, hips and legs.
These postures also stabilize and strengthen your core abdominal and lower back muscles as you work to contract your paraspinal muscles. These muscles support either side of your spine and strengthening them will help prevent future injuries.
Whether you enjoy them or not, these 4 postures are among the very best things you can do to heal and maintain a healthy, strong and flexible spine.
Expand Lung Capacity and Strengthen Your Heart:
Most of us need to pay a lot more attention to our lungs. At the start of your practice one of the most challenging things could likely be the Pranayama breathing exercise that starts the class. This is a powerful breathing exercise that markedly improves the function of the lungs, increasing lung elasticity and lung capacity.
Every Bikram method yoga class starts with this standing deep breathing exercise. The lungs expand, the diaphragm engages and the breath deepens and expands throughout the body. This deep breathing fully utilizes the lungs and provides countless other benefits including strengthening the diaphragm and stretching the intercostal muscles.
Most of us are regularly using about half of our lung capacity! Pranayama breathing allows for more oxygen to enter the lungs. The more deep breathing is practiced the more the lungs become flexible and capable of holding a lot of oxygen. Strong healthy lungs will effectively transport oxygen to the blood, purifying it and helping to speed the removal of toxins from your body. The entire class also focuses on the breath. The 90 minutes of conscious breathing increases the ability of oxygen to enter the body and cleanse the systems.
While the lungs are an essential part of the respiratory system, the heart is equally as important for breathing. The lungs provide the heart with the oxygen it needs to pump blood to the entire body. This increases oxygen intake and provides the heart with larger amounts of oxygen. This means that the heart is supplied with more energy for pumping blood around the body, ultimately enhancing circulation and overall well-being.
Other Benefits of the Bikram method class:
- The heat produces a fluid-like stretch allowing for greater range of movement in joints, muscles, ligaments and other supporting structures of the body.
- Capillaries dilate in the heat; more effectively oxygenating the tissues, muscles, glands and organs and helping in the removal of waste products.
- Your peripheral circulation improves due to enhanced perfusion of your extremities.
- Your metabolism speeds up the breakdown of glucose and fatty acids. Your body burns fat more effectively and fat may be redistributed and burned as energy during the class.
- This challenging environment helps you to strengthen your concentration, patience, determination and will power, which benefits all areas of your life.
- Your cardiovascular system gets a thorough workout.
- Your muscles and connective tissue become more elastic, allowing you to experience greater flexibility with less chance of injury and improved resolution of injury.
- Sweating promotes detoxification and elimination through the skin – which is the body’s largest organ of elimination.
- Just as when your body raises its temperature to fight infection, the raised temperature in the room will assist in improving T-cell function and the proper functioning of your immune system.
- Your nervous system function is greatly improved and messages are carried more efficiently to and from your brain.
- Metabolism improves in your digestive system and in the body’s cells.
- Raises libido: students report that Bikram hot yoga heightens sexual feelings and response. This is likely to be caused by a rise in body temperature and the extra blood circulating around the body and genital area.
- Relieves stress and tension; is relaxing as well as stimulating.