Bikram for life…
5. Sweating in 105 degrees is good for your skin! Perspiration is your bodies way of cooling itself down and is also triggered during physical activity. Your skin pores open to release the sweat which is comprised of water and salt (sodium, chloride, potassium) which provide a way for your body to release toxins, remove dirt and oil clogged in pores, and help with skin exfoliation. After your Bikram session, use a loofah to scrub yourself clean– just like a facialist uses hot steam to open your pores so that they can do a deep cleaning and extractions, this method does the same thing for your entire body. Equally, it is very important to shower after any sweat fest since your pores are open, your skin is not able to protect you as well from germs and other skin irritants. Additionally, I do a cold water flash-rinse after every hot shower to close my pores. Lastly, “some recent studies, including one conducted at Eberhard-Karls-University at Tubingen in Germany suggest that perspiration contains a natural antibiotic known as Dermcidin. Dermcidin can help kill bacteria, including E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus, on the skin’s surface.”
4. Burn more calories when your hot! Temperature can play a role in aiding calorie burn. For example if you are working out in the cold, your body will have your muscles move and twitch to increase heat production thereby increasing energy output. In hot temperatures, particularly in long exposures, like a 90 minute Bikram class in 105 degrees, your body will be working extra hard in keeping your body temperature in a healthy range while you are exerting effort to do the exercises therefore increasing total energy output– calorie burn. Your body weight is also a big factor in how many calories you burn in any exercise; in general the heavier you are, the more calories you burn. Learn how many calories you can burn in any group exercise or other activities here: play & exercise.
3. Improve blood circulation, digestive, and other metabolic processes. Your heart rate increases as you are moving through the 26 poses, sending more blood throughout your body. With increased blood circulation, the more oxygen and nutrients go to your muscles and waste is removed. Your digestive and other metabolic process may improve by the compression of your organs in certain static poses. Just like in massage, applying deep pressure to muscles and organs brings more blood to the area. When you bring more blood, you bring more nutrients and aid in removing waste. For example, massaging your intestines can aid in relieving constipation– um, literally removing waste!
2. Increase flexibility. As you begin your Bikram journey, you will find improved joint mobility and muscle flexibility- particularly in your ability to move your spine. From bending side-to-side, to bending forwards and backwards, you will increase your range of motion in each direction. We are a culture headed towards a shrinking posture because of our work and lifestyle, therefore it is imperative that we start bending the other way. Personally I have seen improvement in my thoracic (upper back) and cervical (neck) spine extension which were limited due to an upper back injury. As in all exercise, get your doctors approval, then during the exercise listen to your body and do what feels good; the stronger and more flexible your body becomes, the more your body will want to do.
1. Increase body awareness and acceptance. This is my favorite reason to do Bikram. The Bikram practice allows you to focus inward, to become aware of what your body is doing in the present moment, and to personally challenge yourself to not only improve on the exercises, but to find more kindness and forgiveness to yourself for more than likely, not being able to do the postures perfectly. I think most will agree that we all can be quite hard on ourselves- constantly criticizing our short-comings and imperfections. Bikram can provide a place for you to practice acceptance.
Practice your poses with the poster above or this detailed one: Yoga Challenge 1 Poster
Bend more, do Bikram 😀
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