As the holidays approach and the weather turns colder, many local spa goers are turning to more practical ways to detox and rejuvenate the body. One popular method sweeping the Portland metro area is Bikram and Hot Hatha Yoga.
Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 yoga poses, each with their own purpose and benefit to the body, performed in a room heated to 105 degrees. Each posture helps to build strength with it’s isometric positions.
The hot temperature is designed to warm up your muscles and enhance your body’s ability to function properly, both internally and externally. It allows for deeper stretching and creates a cardiovascular workout while increasing endurance therefore burning more calories than many other yoga forms. The detoxify aspect is due to the heat which also encourages your body to sweat out toxins and helps to increase the efficiency of the immune system.
But the benefits of Bikram Yoga extend far beyond the body, this is a real workout for your mind and soul. The yoga practice has 5 basic notions underlining the 90 minute workout. Each representing a deeper meaning that students can take out into everyday life.
Life lessons learned from Bikram Yoga:
1. Listen to your body – One of the most important aspects of any physical activity is to listen to the body. Our bodies are the best indicator of what is really going on with us. In Bikram Yoga the body is the tool to awareness. Our bodies will always tell us when we need to slow down, drink more water, eat healthier etc.
2. What you put into it you get out – There is no right or wrong. The practice advises students to pay attention to themselves and not compare to anyone else. There is no wrong way to do it as long as you try. The same goes for life, just showing up and being present is 95% of the effort. Once you get into the yoga studio the magic can begin. But when you compare yourself to other people it limits your own bodies ability to be present and grow.
3. Practice not perfect – Many yoga instructors tell their students it is yoga practice not yoga perfect. Which means that there is no such thing as perfection. It is a process and the journey is in the process. Just like life, practicing makes perfect but there is no real perfect to get to. Just being in the moment is the real perfection.
4. Breath deeply and appreciate the moment – Breathing in and out is the meditative motion of yoga. In life we sometimes, believe it or not, forget to breath. The essence of flowing air into the lungs and exhaling out helps the body function better, improves circulation and mental clarity.
5. Self acceptance – Never compare yourself to anyone else. You can only mark your progress from the point at which you started. Genetics play a large role. Some people have natural flexibility, others strength. Very few have both attributes. Balance comes as strength and flexibility harmonize. As long as you do your very best to do the postures correctly, you will receive 100 percent benefit. Work hard while respecting your true limits. Accept your body as it is today, and have faith in its natural ability to change.