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Bikram Choudhury was born in Calcutta in 1946 and began practising yoga at the age of 4, under the instruction of Guru Bishnu Ghosh. At the age of 13, he won the National India Yoga championship. At 17, Bikram sustained a serious injury to his knee during a weight-lifting accident and was told by doctors that he would never walk again. Unwilling to accept this diagnosis, Bikram returned to his Guru and used the healing powers of yoga to rehabilitate himself to full health.
In a United Nations sponsored research project at Tokyo University, Bikram helped doctors demonstrate that yoga can regenerate tissues and alleviate chronic ailments. Realising the remedial potential of yoga, Bikram combined Eastern discipline and Western medicine to develop the 26 posture series.
Bikram arrived in the United States in 1973 at the invitation of President Nixon and Bikram Yoga is now practiced at affiliated studios all across world.
Bikram Yoga is a system of yoga that Bikram Choudhury synthesized from traditional yoga techniques and popularized beginning in the early 1970s. All Bikram Yoga classes run for 90 minutes and consist of the same series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. Bikram Yoga is ideally practiced in a room heated to 105°F (40.6°C) with a humidity of 40%. Bikram Yoga should be practiced under the guidance of a certified Bikram Yoga Instructors at an affiliated Bikram Yoga Studio.
Watch our short video to get a flavour of what Bikram Yoga has to offer:
Muscles and connective tissue become more elastic, allowing for greater flexibility with less chance of injury. Synovial fluid inside the joints becomes less viscous which allows a greater range of movement in joints.
The heat increases the intensity of the class. Your heart-rate becomes elevated and the heart and lungs get a thorough work out. Willpower, self-control and determination are strengthened in this demanding environment and through consistent practice endurance levels are raised.
Capillaries dilate and blood becomes thinner. This helps the heart to more effectively oxygenate the tissues, muscles, glands and organs. Peripheral circulation and the removal of waste products are also improved. Additionally, sweating is promoted, which assists the detoxification process.
The raised temperature allows oxygen in the blood to detach from the haemoglobin more easily. When blood passes through warm muscles, oxygen releases more easily from the haemoglobin. Blood passing through cold muscles releases less oxygen.