Why Learn All Of The Bikram Yoga Poses?
These days it seems that everybody’s looking for a shortcut and finding an easy way of learning the Bikram yoga poses is no different.
We like to tell our friends that we do yoga, wake up early, meditate and eat super healthy, etc. But how many of us are able to truly continue with practice over many weeks, months, or even years?
Bikram yoga is remarkable, especially for this reason! The yoga sequence consists of 26 poses, traditionally designed to work and rejuvenate every muscle in the body, as well as the spine and various internal organs.
It’s one of the most authentic and ‘stripped back’ approaches to fostering greater flexibility, healthy breathing habits, strong joints, effective circulation of the blood and even training the heart muscles also.
Naturally, as part of any yoga practice, a deep sense of relaxation and mental clarity also results from the deep breathing and various yoga asanas carried out during the session.
But you might be wondering, just as I was: why on earth do we need to learn, practice, and KEEP ON practicing the same damn 26 poses over and over again?!
There are so many ways to train and develop the mind and body! What’s the point in doing this entire Bikram yoga sequence time and time again?
It’s a good question and not one that everyone will like the answer to, that’s for sure! We like to constantly be surprised and sold the next fancy or interesting exercise class, piece of clothing or gadget do we not?
So you’ve had your warning dear reader! It’s not for the faint-hearted but here are 3 key reasons why learning all of the Bikram Yoga poses may well change your life forever…
1) Bikram Works!
Bikram Choudhury, under the tutelage of Bishnu Charan Ghosh, went to great lengths to devise this perfect sequence of postures that work everything from hands to feet! Practicing since the age of 5, Bikram eventually went on to win the National Yoga Championships in India an incredible 3 times using his newly discovered training system.
He has since become a multi-millionaire, as Bikram Yoga’s instruction spreads across the world. His hot yoga classes can now be found in cities across all major continents and, especially in hot yoga studios, its countless benefits for yogis and students alike clearly show that it works!
Indeed, it is quite wonderful that this set series of asanas, accessible for all levels of fitness, can be replicated as a regular practice in the same conditions almost everywhere these days; those conditions being a 90-minute practice in a climate-controlled room of 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) Bikram Yoga Trains EVERYTHING!
There are dozens of forms of yoga and yoga trainings these days, all with their own apparent benefits. But I believe there is no sequence of yoga as pure and all-encompassing as Bikram Yoga!
The detailed instructions, heat, breathing techniques, core strength, spine and flexibility work mean that every muscle in the body (including even the feet!) is felt, tested and strengthened.
Moreover, Bikram Yoga has proven to powerfully open up the hip joints which results in increased hip flexibility, ease the sciatic nerve, rejuvenate the thyroid gland, calm the nerves and improve blood circulation throughout the body; meaning it is as much a meditation as it is a workout! Not to mention the numerous psychological benefits that the Bikram breathing exercises have!
Yoga (meaning ‘mind-body’ unity, as directly translated from Sanskrit) traditionally was always supposed to incorporate both ‘yin and yang’ elements of the body, and yoga instructors are often not taught enough about yoga’s original intentions for the peaceful development of mankind.
Bikram’s yoga sequence, however, despite being a relatively recent ‘invention’ in the world of yoga, manages to respect and appreciate all of these paradoxical qualities of the human mind and body; from developing strong abdominal muscles to relieving blood pressure throughout the cardiovascular system. It increases flexibility, heals the reproductive organs and adrenal glands, and yet strengthens the leg muscles, knee joints, and shoulder joints all in the same practice!
Perhaps there is no other yoga practice, or physical practice in general, that is as all-encompassing as this!
3) It’s Difficult!
It’s been said that those things really worth pursuing are both ‘easy to learn’ and yet ‘impossible to master’…
The 26 Bikram Yoga postures are exactly that! I’ve watched veterans, having practiced twice weekly for a decade already, struggle, sweat, and breathe heavily whilst humbly moving between poses for the millionth time.
Why do they keep showing up to the yoga mat? How do they keep their faith in the practice of yoga? The answer: precisely because it is so difficult to do so!
Over time it is not just their muscle tone, spinal strength, and bad posture that improves… it is their mental strength too! Anything that is truly difficult is worth doing BECAUSE it is so difficult!
Humans are curious, passionate, and emotional beings. We love nothing more than to try difficult things and to attempt (hopelessly) to master them. It is Sisyphus rolling the rock up the mountain then watching it fall down again. This is human nature: to struggle and keep on struggling, and to revel in that struggle; to find joy and even peace in it!
The Yoga Journal Newsletter tells countless stories of people radically transforming their entire body, finding deep mental relaxation in their daily life, and conquering various sleep disorders, circulatory disorders, and even irritable bowel syndrome in the process.
As each challenge is overcome and our physical fitness improves, so does the entire human organism, one difficult (or perhaps impossible) posture at a time!
So trust the process, learn and practice all 26 Bikram Yoga Poses, and then keep on practicing!
It may well be the most challenging thing you’ve ever attempted, and yet that’s exactly why we show up each and every morning. To do nothing more than to TRY.