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Hot Yoga
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November 4, 2010 - 5:46 pm
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Should You Try Hot Yoga?

By Phil Tucker

Yoga, yoga, yoga. Everywhere you go today there is a new yoga studio opening up, promoting health, awareness, and peace. There are seemingly endless varieties of yoga styles to try, from Vinyasa to Ashtanga, but one that garners the most attention is Bikram, also known as Hot Yoga. Infamously taught at over 100F degrees for 90 minutes, it is an intense, almost extreme form of yoga, resulting in prodigious sweating and effort. Should you try this style of yoga? Is it for you? Today we'll look at the pluses and downsides of this style of yoga, and help you evaluate for yourself.

Bikram yoga is a relatively new style of yoga, invented in the 1970's by Bikram Choudhury. His intention was to create an environment where the heat and humidity would help promote greater flexibility and injury prevention, allowing practitioners to push themselves further and enjoy a deeper level of effort that traditional yoga styles. As such it is a blending of the old and the new, and is composed of twenty six asanas (postures) which are worked through over the course of 90 minutes.

Bikram Choudury claims that the benefits of heated yoga are wide and varied. The main focus lies in blood circulation, which when combined with the sweating releases toxins and cleanses your body from deep within. The idea is that when you enter a given posture, you compress your body and thus limit the amount of blood that can enter certain body parts or organs, forcing your heart to pump harder. When you come out of the posture you decompress that body part, allowing fresh blood to flow into the organ or muscle and wash it clean. Choudhury claims that this system allows for infection, bacteria and toxins to be released from the body.

Beyond that, there is no denying that hot yoga promotes a lot of sweating, rigorous exercise and weight loss. 90 minutes of strenuous physical activity of any kind will be good for you regardless of your opinions on yoga, and that amount of sweating will flush your skin clean and leave you feeling lighter and more wholesome. When you think of the traditional yoga practitioner you envision long limbs, toned body and a serene attitude-all of these attributes can be garnered from yoga through continual practice. Hot yoga, being a more extreme form of yoga, can help you achieve weight loss and body toning even quicker.

Is Bikram Yoga for you? It can be if you have no cardiovascular problems and don't suffer from high blood pressure. It can be if you enjoy the sensation of sweating profusely, extreme heat and humidity, and a challenge that defies you to continuously push your limits.

Another excellent way to get into shape is to try the Insanity Fitness workout, which pushes you for 60 days beyond your limits through extreme cardio based on interval training. Unsure if Insanity is right for you? Try the Insanity Fit Test and find out!

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