Yoga is my destination and what I do to get there has always been work in progress. Having been in San Diego, I got an opportunity to experience Hot Yoga, 90 minutes of intense Yoga in a hot room of 120 degree Fahrenheit and 40% humidity.
Having born into India and it’s tropical hot summer weather, heat never bothered me. Yoga instructor, Michelle, who is kind enough to get me enrolled for the class, kept the Yoga instructional dialogue with the 8 of us non-stop for 95 minutes. She told me she has a 40 page instructor’s dialogue book of 26 postures. This entire book is instructed in those 90 minutes. The hot Yoga workout starts with breathing exercise, standing postures of twists and turns, sitting postures of all possible body bends, and finally the postures that require us to lie on the ground while we wheel around our body back and forth that finally culminate in a breathing finale.
There are practitioners who have been doing this for 15 years and they just get hooked onto the pain relieving and sweat-fulfilling workout.
Some of the native kriya’s of Yoga such as Kapala bhathi are nicely plugged inside the breathing workout. Overall, the attention is more on the physical postures and their transitions than balancing the same with focused breathing.
When we get a sprain in a joint, we use hot confession over it to reduce the inflammation through increased blood flow. Hot Yoga will make the tendons and ligaments more supple and flexible and hence the varied postures keep the heated body stretched beyond its normal stretch.
Bikram’s hot Yoga workout is an intense one that imposes strict discipline and participants can drink water only in between the reps and not in the middle of a rep. Should there be a discomfort or nausea, one can just lay flat on the ground and take rest. Once in the hot chamber, it’s a serious business of body, heat, postures and water! Regulars bring chilled Himalayan salt water to replenish the salts of sweat.
This Bikram Yoga practice is close to 50 years old and it has enough brand and followers out there. Yoga is so versatile and beneficial in any form, original or altered, and practitioners across globe reap the fruits through this ageless practice.
I recommend that one has to do Hot Yoga in the morning and on empty stomach with plenty of fluids to overcome the dehydration or even cramps. This 90 minute Bikram Yoga is a total body exercise centred around stretching of the entire body through different postures interleaved by two minute full body rest poses.
If I could do Bikram Yoga, I can do any other form of Yoga. I no longer have to dread those core strengthening Yoga postures, bow or boat!