Imagine sitting peacefully in a dimly lit room. The warm air that surrounds you soothes your body and mind as a trickle of sweat appears on your brow. The sounds of soothing, gentle music fill the air and as you glance around, you see a roomful of scantily clad, barefoot men and women all around…all of them manipulating into various intriguing positions as their well-toned bodies glisten with sweat in the heated, darkened room. Now…EXERCISE!
Sorry to break you from your fantasy, but the image conjured is one that almost perfectly describes a session of Bikram Yoga. Bikram is a form of yoga that is done in an environment that is heated to 105 degrees. This form has become more and more popular as folks tout its effectiveness at helping them to lose weight.
While not everyone is suited for running marathons or pounding weights at the gym, yoga is something that almost everyone can perform after a bit of practice. Bikram is similar in practice to other forms except for the intense heat factor. This is what helps set off Bikram from other forms as a great way to lose excess weight.
As it turns out, and probably not so surprisingly, heat can be pretty durn good at helping you burn fat. Simply by sweating you are helping to rid your body of harmful toxins. Build-up of toxins in the body has been thought to prevent the body from working at optimum efficiency which can lead to food not being processed properly which in turn can reduce absorption of vital nutrients.
When the body doesn’t get what it needs, your metabolism may be thrown off and cause you to gain weight. In addition, by performing these poses in high heat, your muscles themselves will be warm which will encourage them to burn more fat as well.
Bikram also increases your heart rate and through the 26 poses and 90 minutes of exercise, you will build muscle as well. Both of these help to lose fat as well.
One of the other interesting (albeit theoretical) aspects of Bikram is that simply by learning the poses and performing them on a routine basis, you build up a sense of resolve and accomplishment. This can in turn greatly help your mindset and support you in other endeavors of losing weight including sticking to a strict healthy diet and completing other forms of exercise on a regular basis.
Of all the ways in which we are told we can lose weight, Bikram is certainly one of the more positive and potentially effective ways to do it. Your mind and body will benefit and you just may make a friend in the process…albeit a sweaty one.
If you have any health concerns whatsoever, you should speak with your doctor before attempting a Bikram session. Once you are set to go, attend a session with an open mind and a commitment to the rewards that this unique and ethereal exercise can bring you.