Bikram yoga is famous for its effects on improving cardiovascular health and weight loss. However, some researchers claim that there is no scientific evidence to back this up.
Bikram yoga is a familiar form of yoga and is receiving great attention from the community. According to a survey conducted in 2016, an estimated 36 million people practice yoga, of which women account for about 72% and people between the ages of 30 and 49 account for 43%. Although there are no clear statistics on the number of people practicing bikram yoga, the majority of yogis share that they feel like sweating when doing bikram yoga.
What is Bikram?
Is it good to practice bikram yoga – The issue is still controversial
Bikram yoga is an exercise consisting of 26 movements, performed within 90 minutes in an environment with a temperature of about 40℃ and 40% humidity. However, this is just a basic definition, many centers now have their own bikram yoga lesson plans.
According to a yogi who has been practicing yoga for about 25 years, bikram yoga is a type of yoga that goes against the philosophy of yoga because traditionally, practicing yoga will not sweat much and not raise the heart rate. You may experience slight sweating, but if your breathing or heart rate starts to increase, you should stop exercising and rest. Therefore, practicing yoga in a high-temperature environment like bikram yoga will not be beneficial. Not only that, the practitioner can also become “addicted” to endorphins – hormones produced by the body in response to being pushed too far.
However, contrary to this view, bikram yoga lovers believe that performing the exercise in a high-temperature room will help strengthen the heart, clear the veins, and remove impurities. from the body and strengthen the immune system. The heat will force the heart to beat faster and this is said to be very beneficial because it allows the heart to “work” and burn more calories.
It can be said that practicing yoga in a hot environment is the most controversial issue in yoga’s 5,000-year history. There are many modern scientific studies that have recognized the benefits of yoga in reducing stress, regulating blood pressure, improving flexibility and balance. However, there is no evidence yet to show what happens when you do yoga in a super hot room.
Practicing yoga in a hot environment is the most controversial issue in yoga’s 5,000-year history
Some concerns when practicing bikram yoga
The American Council on Athletics (ACE) released a 2015 study that raised concerns about bikram yoga. During a 90-minute class, the body temperature of the practitioner will rise continuously, possibly rising to 39.5°C – A number that is close to the threshold that doctors consider dangerous (about 40 degrees Celsius). °C). Dr. Cedric Bryant, chief scientific officer at ACE, said that if not used, some people can even go into heat stroke. Therefore, ACE recommends that people who are new to yoga should choose regular yoga exercises or practice bikram yoga in studios where the temperature is not too high.
Also, during bikram yoga, if you feel nauseous, dizzy, lie down or leave the gym. According to Allison Abel Rissel – a yoga instructor in North Dakota, although the bikram yoga studio is very hot, if the body is sufficiently hydrated, you can completely control your body temperature. However, according to Mindy Caplan, a yoga instructor and sports expert, a lot of people don’t feel comfortable doing yoga at high temperatures.
ACE recommends that pregnant women, people with diabetes or any cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure avoid bikram yoga. Pregnant women can only exercise if they have exercised regularly before and have carefully discussed with their doctor about the possible risks. When doing bikram yoga, you need to pay attention to how your body feels. If you feel uncomfortable, take a break or leave the gym immediately.
How is Bikram yoga taught?
Many people believe that the main reason that makes bikram yoga different from other forms of hot yoga is the way it is practiced. Most yoga classes, including hot yoga, encourage students to perform movements at their own pace, not so in bikram yoga classes. Most bikram teachers follow a certain lesson plan. This lesson requires teachers to encourage their students to put more effort into the pose and not leave the room if it feels too hot. Some teachers even followed students out of the room to convince them to come back.
Bikram yoga teachers argue that this forces students to accept their feelings instead of hiding. And this way will be effective in helping the practitioner handle psychological stress. However, the flip side of this makes it difficult for some practitioners to listen to their bodies.
A lot of people don’t feel comfortable doing yoga in high heat
Bikram yoga and weight loss
In fact, practicing bikram yoga is not too dangerous and many people have practiced it without any problems. The most appreciated benefit of this type of yoga is that it burns a lot of calories.
However, according to several studies, including one sponsored by Bikram Yoga College, bikram yoga burns only about 500 calories in a 90-minute class. And this number is considered lower than expected.
In addition, a small study published in January 2018 also concluded that it is the postures and stretches that provide the major calorie-burning benefits, not the high temperature of the room.
Bikram yoga helps the body to be flexible quickly
Many bikram yoga practitioners share that they feel more flexible in the heat. However, experts say this flexibility is not known as a good thing or a risk of injury. Because during exercise, we don’t have the opportunity to listen to our body and this can injure ourselves when we overdo it.
There is a risk of injury when doing yoga, but for the most part they are usually mild. If the injury happens at the gym, it probably won’t be that simple. Karen Sherman, a researcher at Group Health Research Institute shared that people who want to practice yoga to exercise should not choose bikram yoga.
Above are some of the controversial benefits of bikram yoga. Although there are many conflicting opinions, if you love and feel effective when practicing bikram yoga, you can completely pursue this type of yoga.
Hot Yoga: Is It Super-Heated Exercise or a Health Danger? https://www.healthline.com/health-news/hot-yoga-booming-but-it-may-be-bad-for-you-051515 Accessed date: September 28, 2020
John Alen was born in 1971 and is a doctor in the healthcare and psychology fields with many years of experience. He is currently working at easyhealthylive.com, a leading health and psychology blog. Having studied at Y1 National Medical University named after IM Sechenov, John Alen is using his knowledge and experience to help improve the physical and mental health of people in the United States.