Bikram Yoga: Hate the Sweat

After succumbing to my friend's urging, I joined her for a Bikram yoga class. This is the type of yoga that is held in a heated room and is by no means calm and relaxing. I don't remember being challenged is this fashion while sweating so much! In comparison to other forms of yoga, Bikram is relatively new and has gained a lot of popularity due to the 'promotion' of the art by many celebrities. The emphasis is on being physically demanding with the additional cleansing and challenging aspect of being in a heated (90-105 F degree) room. Throughout the 45-90 minute class, students are taken through 26 poses that the founder created.

Let's look at some other popular forms of yoga. Since the art has been around for thousands of years and has been influenced by every culture, it is hard to find exact facts without coming across some contradiction. Here are forms that are quite popular and interesting.

Hatha yoga is the name given to perhaps the most practiced kind of yoga. Critics argue that what is taught is a combination of many forms of yoga, but the idea behind hatha yoga is to enhance the relationship between mind, body, and spirit. Through various poses, the practitioner develops awareness of their body, concentrates on their breathing, builds strength, and increases their flexibility. Traditionally the practice of hatha yoga includes exercises for staying on a moral path of living, for breathing, for meditation, and for the body. It is this last component of postures, or asanas, that compromise most yoga classes. Depending on the asanas chosen, the class may be calm, relaxing, and leave the practitioner feeling stretched, or it may be more rapid, challenging, and leave the practitioner feeling like they have worked out.

Many health clubs and yoga studios offer power yoga classes in which the intent is to move quickly, and rest very little in between poses. The practitioner will usually feel the routines to be cardiovascularly challenging as well as taxing to their muscular system. A lot of athletes use power yoga in order to strengthen parts of their body that they do not normally target. Typically, power yoga has little concern for meditation, relaxing poses, or making a mind-body connection. Power yoga is without a doubt, vigorous and challenging.

Integral yoga is the name that has been given by some to a practice that tries to incorporate many aspects of yoga under one. As expected, asanas are included as is the practice of meditation and concentration. In an effort to further tune in to on-self, Integral yoga uses chanting or the repetition of mantras (ie saying "om"). The last three components of Integral yoga include building on one's karma by way of performing works without focusing on the return gestures, and Bahkti which uses a deity or leader as a role model in order to attain a higher spiritual status for oneself. Last, there is the practice of Jnana yoga which requires the person to use their intellect and insight (gained from all of the aforementioned) to be realized into freedom.

Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment