Bikram yoga weight loss is something which is increasingly being popular these days. Well, the fact that Bikram Yoga has arrived on the global scene is indisputable. Celebrities from David Beckham to Lady GaGa are regular practitioners and sing its praises. Recent reports are that even Prince Harry has gotten into it. 14,000 yogis gathered for the world’s largest Bikram Yoga class in New York’s famous Times Square in June of 2012. 14,000! But does pouring sweat from your body for 90 minutes while shaping yourself into the Half Tortoise or Tree pose help you lose weight? Or do you need to get that heart pumping by pounding your feet on the pavement during that early morning run or madly cycling in spin class?
We must be clear about one thing that bikram yoga for weight loss is not the only kind of hot yoga. Bikram Choudhury developed and then popularized Bikram Yoga in the 1970 s. Choudhury himself is a lifelong practitioner of Bikram yoga and of course is its greatest champion. Bikram Yoga is set apart from other schools of yoga by its 90-minute sessions, 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises and heat! Now back to our question, is Bikram Yoga helping Lady Gaga keep her svelte look? Or is it merely keeping her relaxed, serene and ready to sing? Well the answer is yes to all, as bikram yoga not only helps you lose weight but also relaxes mind body and makes you go into some cool state of mind.
First let’s find out that is hot yoga – sweltering! Imagine a tropical, humid heat that envelops the body, causing tiny rivers of sweat to trickle across its skin. Ideally the environment will sit at 40.6 Celsius (105 Fahrenheit) for the 90-minute sessions. Whew! Cardiovascular exercise comes to mind when we think about losing weight–swimming, running, biking–not yoga. So does Bikram Yoga get your heart pumping? In a word, yes. As your body heats ups, your heart rate increases–this results in your body having to work harder and, importantly, in a more challenging workout. Those who are focused on weight loss benefit from this cardiovascular aspect of the workout.
There is another benefit that flows from the heat and that is your muscles get warm and easier to move, this allows for more stretching and moving than in room temperature or lower. The heat allows you to challenge your body. Yogis who have changed from other forms of yoga to Bikram Yoga consistently say that the hot environment allows them to push their body in new ways. Increasing the level of the challenge of the yoga class, one can really find bikram yoga weight loss regimes awfully helpful.
The length of time – 90 minutes also challenges the practitioner. Yoga classes more often run from 45 minutes to 1 hour; the additional 30 to 45 minutes Bikram Yoga offers yogis a more intense experience. As the classes draw to a close and red-faced sweaty devotees roll up their mats and reach for their water bottles, they feel like they have had an intense workout. Yes, they feel rested and get a sense of peace that yogis crave but it is a regime that works that body and mind is in unison. So, the total body is worked and the heart rate is elevated. Importantly these workouts translate into the kind of calorie burning needed to help us lose weight.
Most experts put the calorie loss at about 660 calories per session; this means that the benefit is three times that of a one-hour walk and is comparable to calories lost when jogging for one hour or walking on a treadmill, at a brisk pace for one hour. So, yogis of the school of Bikram Choudhury are indeed burning calories while cleansing their bodies and calming their minds.
How about enjoyment? Can having fun lead to weight loss? Instinctively most of us will shake our heads from side to side. But let’s think about it. Most of us have had the experience of beginning a new way of exercise–be it biking, jogging, or rock-climbing–only to have our interest dwindle and eventually disappear. Every year, New Year’s resolutions send January gym subscriptions through the roof. But by February they fall off again. Sticking to an exercise regime is a key to achieving any weight loss goal. It also seems to be the most challenging factor for most of us. But be rest assured having fun while doing yoga is something one can achieve with bikram yoga sessions.
Bikram Yoga continues to grow in popularity and people who attend classes tend to stick with it for long. The importance of this cannot be overstated. Study after study have pointed out that if we choose an exercise we actually enjoy, we are much more likely to stay with it. There are those who are happy enough to plug in their earphones and let their I-pod take them through a 60-minute treadmill session. But others eventually walk away from the treadmill, citing boredom. For those who are looking to engage the mind and body, to commit to an experience, not just a workout, Bikram Yoga could indeed be the way to a lighter self.
And what about the Andy Murray factor? There is an Andy Murray factor, you ask? Why, yes there is! Murray has been practicing Bikram Yoga for years and when he beat Federer in Dubai in 2008, a pinnacle of his career, actually credited his win to the hours spent in hot rooms repeating the 26 poses and intense breathing exercises. People sat up and took notice. What Murray and other world-class athletes like about this hot form of hot yoga that helps to heal a body that is strained on a tennis court or on a racetrack. Bikram Yoga can work as a part of an exercise plan for the regular athlete too- keeping the body nimble and injury-free so that other exercise may be pursued, adding further benefits.
Whether you want to practice a holistic approach to mind and body health or you are in need of repairing joints or quelling muscles spasms, or simply like the idea of sweating in a room full of people for 90 minutes, it is absolutely clear that bikram yoga weight loss as a health regime can indeed be very helpful.