Article by Edwin Britt
The word Yoga is deducted from the Sanskrit root “yuj” or “to yoke” which supposedly denotes to the unification of the individual’s soul (Atman) with the universal collective soul (Brahman); both are Hindu conceptual terms used as a reference point to the mind, where Oneness only truly exists. Yoga is one of six canonical Hindu philosophy systems with roots dating back more than 4,000 years. Bikram Choudhury, the world-renowned creator of the Bikram Yoga Position, began his travel by utilising Hatha Yoga in his native India at the age of three, and rapidly became a champ; at the age of 11 he was the youngest contestant ever to win the National Yoga Championship. Bikram proceeded his athletic training in earnest until, at the age of 17, he was impaired by a weightlifting knee accidental injury; the European medical specialists examining him established that Bikram would never walk again. Not surprisingly, his yoga experience taught him not to accept that inevitability; training with his former teacher, his knee had completely cured six months later.Recognizing the power of the Bikram yoga posture methodology, his teacher asked him to start some yoga schools in India; these were so successful that Bikram opened schools in Japan, and in the years since then has brought his unique healing yoga to the rest of the world.Bikram yoga is a system of wellness, restoration and rejuvenation suited for all ages and all levels of fitness preparation, based on the combination of a series of 26 asanas (poses) which constitute the core factors of the Bikram yoga posture, and two yoga breathing exercises, or pranayamas. The series of positions, performed twice in a session (sessions typically last 90 minutes) was designed to scientifically warm and stretch muscles, ligaments and tendons, and to do so in a special order. Because people typically employ only a part of their whole lung capacity, the pranayamas will stretch the lungs over time, resulting in improved oxygen absorption and improved blood circulation. 26 Poses i n the Bikram Yoga PosesBikram Yoga is practiced with the help of instructors in licensed Bikram yoga studios around the world; the typical 90-minute session comprises of two challenging sets of the poses, designed by Bikram to systematically stimulate and restore health to every muscle, organ and joint of the body. The order, duration and configuration is important to the general achievement got in each session.Each of the 26 asana is targeted at bettering the functional state of a particular body part or region; here are a few examples, the number refers to the specific Bikram yoga pose pose sequence in the overall session:Number 11 is the Tadasana, or Tree Pose – it improves posture, thighs, and has an impact on back pain.Number 17 is the Salabhasana, or Locust Pose – it objects the spine, back and chest, and improves spine flexibility.Number 25 is the Matsyendrasana, or Spine Twisting Pose – it stretches the spine for flexibility and helps reduce back pain.Hot Bikram or Not?Bikram’s Yoga is incorrectly referred to as Hot Yoga, because the Bikram yoga posture of 26 poses is performed in a heated room; Hot Yoga is a form of Hatha yoga performed in a heated room, but is not taught according to Bikram’s exact philosophy or practice, and the instructors are not always trained in his methods.There is some controversy; with the gains of a heated environment well-documented, the hot yoga-style has got huge popularity. Lately, Bikram chose to forbid anyone who was simply instructing yoga in a heated room to promote it as Bikram Yoga unless the instructors were certified by his college and exactly followed his established Bikram yoga posture methodology. The resulting lawsuits were finally settled when Bikram agreed not to further prosecute the members of the Hot Yoga community, and they in turn agreed not to use the Bikram yoga name. The confusion still goes on, however, with the popular understanding that they are one and the same.
About the Author
The columnist Edwin Britt is really interested in subjects associated to yoga. Working on his yoga writings on Bikram yoga the columnist confirmed his deep knowledge on the topic.