Introduced to the Western world for the first time in Los Angeles in 1974 by Bikram Choudhury, this form of yoga immediately differentiated itself from other schools.
Bikram yoga does not require the numerous and complex asanas (postures). A 90-minute session is composed of just 26 simple postures and is carried out in a room heated to about 34 degrees Celsius. Thus, it comes as no surprise to hear that many people have nicknamed Bikram yoga the “hot yoga”.
“That’s the main way in which Bikram differs from other types of yoga. I personally feel it’s a perfect combination of yoga, a work out and meditation. And that makes it even better! You get to stretch, meditate and sweat a lot. It gets rid of all the pain and aches in your muscles and also clears your mind,” says Benjaporn.
Its inventor drew up new postures and drew upon some basic yoga poses to help strengthen his muscles after a severe childhood injury crippled him. Benjaporn says that all the 26 poses of Bikram yoga are easy yet offer maximum muscle strengthening.
“You won’t find any compromising poses in Bikram yoga. That’s because Bikram himself wanted to create yoga poses that were easy for him at that time, but I assure you that all enable the same maximum muscle build-up, stretching and strengthening effect. And during the 90 minutes of our class, we want to make sure that you can complete all 26 poses without skipping or compromising any particular one to make it easier on yourself. It’s simple and I’m sure everyone will be able to follow it. Here, we encourage you to work at your own pace and stay within your own limits. But we also make sure that you don’t short-change yourself,” says Benjaporn.
Benjaporn recommends Bikram yoga to anyone in good health aged 10 and above. She also stresses that beginners should come to classes regularly – she suggests three or four times a week – to see and feel the improvements in their well-being.
“Most people will experience an improvement in the knee and back area. Many also say that they’ve shed some unwanted kilos. During and after class, I encourage my students to drinks a lot of fluids so they won’t dehydrate.”