Most people have a passing knowledge of what Yoga is or think they know about what it sets out to achieve. But until you have tried Yoga it is impossible to know whether you have the type of personality that can truly excel under its influence. Yoga quite simply can be a life-changing experience and the discipline and mental strength that result from it can completely change your perspective and worldview.
One method of Yoga which is currently very popular is known as Bikram Yoga. Bikram Yoga, often referred to as ‘hot yoga’ follows the Bikram Yoga Method. As with all Yoga, it has multiple goals – to build your inner strength as well as your outer physical strength. A vital component of Bikram Yoga is the flexibility and balance required to perform the exercises- and it is believed that this comes from mental strength as much as physical practice. The roots of Bikram are in Hatha Yoga, which is a healing form of Yoga that strengthens both body and mind.
- Bonnie Jones Reynolds, Bikram Choudhury
The founder of Bikram Yoga was Bikram Choudhury, a yoga practitioner, and innovator. After a weightlifting accident, Bikram Choudhury was determined to recover and set about investigating the healing ability to practice certain types of exercise. Th,e result was Bikram Yoga, which so many people found to be an effective method of healing that its tenets were recorded and passed on as a new form of Yoga. Those who practice Bikram Yoga purely for its healing benefits are plentiful, but there is also a strong holistic component, which is a key reason behind using Bikram Yoga for many of those who are regular users.
The key to success with Bikram Yoga is to develop the mental strength required to discipline yourself in its use. If you can master this side of the Yoga then the physical benefits will be forthcoming. They have been proven by scientists including a group from the Tokyo University Hospital. The medical benefits are beyond question and have been shown to improve chronic ailments as well as greatly assist in the treatment and recovery of tissue injuries.
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At the 1972 International Medical Conference, the findings were presented and it was concluded that Bikram Yoga had the ability to assist in the recovery of internal tissue. The explanation given was that the positions practiced by Bikram Yoga replenish cells and assist in the lymphatic system, flushing toxins from the body. In addition to the toxin drain, the cells are assisted by higher oxygen flows during and after exercise.
Bikram showed that to get the best benefits from the exercise a healthy and well-balanced body was important. Where the body is weak, Bikram Yoga will have less effect in the healing process, which relies on correct balance and circulation.
Bikram demonstrated 26 exercises and recommended a regime, which was to be practiced every single day in order to best treat the body. Each posture exercise was developed based on a background of both Eastern and Western Yoga disciplines. They all focus on the movement and pressure on muscles, nerves, ligaments glands and organs. The exercises are meant to be performed together and in sequence, because they are all inter-related to each other.
Bikram Yoga is low impact and can be performed by people of all different ages. The important component is the discipline required to perform the posture exercises every day for maximum benefit.