Bikram yoga is a form of Hatha yoga. The Bikram series focuses on two main points: asanas (mastering the postures) and pranayama (mastering the breath).
The founder of Bikram Yoga is Bikram Choudhury, born in Calcutta in 1946. Bikram practiced yoga through his youth with his Guru Bishnu Gosh (at Gosh’s College of Physical Education). As a teenager Bikram became a strong competitor in weight lifting, however, he suffered a hard blow at the age of 17. A weightlifting accident left him with a severely injured knee. Leading European doctors told him he would never walk again. He returned to his Guru for help not accepting the fate he had been given. Through the guidance of his Guru, he recovered astonishingly fast. In under a year his knee had recovered, through the practice of yoga asana. Bikram asked Gosh to start a yoga school in India and together they developed the 26 asanas & 2 breathing exercises.
Bikram’s postures are derived from classic Hatha yoga, which has been practiced for thousands of years in India. What differentiates Bikram yoga is the specific sequence of postures combined with heat and humidity. Bikram yoga classes are for beginners and advanced students a like. They are designed to warm up the body, stretch muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Bikram yoga is unique through the specific series of the postures and environment in the yoga room itself. The heat in the room facilitates deeper stretching, prevents injuries, relieves stress and tension, and detoxifies the body. Bikram yoga is designed to systematically stimulate and restore health to every muscle, joint, and organ of the body by moving fresh oxygenated blood throughout the body.
In Bikram yoga the student is guided through the series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises to increase their concentration, patience, determination and self control. As a result it is possible to achieve mental clarity and reduce stress. There are a number of additional benefits that can come with regular practice such as developing a healthier, stronger and more flexible body.