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Monday, February 23, 2015

Tip of the Week: The Difference Between Bikram and Hot Yoga

If you didn't already know, hot yoga and Bikram yoga are two very different practices.
The major differences between Bikram yoga and hot yoga:



Bikram yoga was developed by Bikram Choudhury. Since opening his Yoga College of India in Beverly Hills, CA in 1974, Bikram's style of yoga has grown in popularity and spread all over the West. Yoga studios that advertise this style of yoga must follow Bikram's exact methodology and use certified Bikram yoga instructors.

Every Bikram yoga class is exactly the same - no surprises, ever! Class is always comprised of 26 poses that are performed twice along with two specialized breathing exercises over 90 minutes. The heat of the room is always 105 degrees and the humidity of the studio is set at 40%. No music is played during a Bikram class and teacher’s encourage you to take water breaks at designated times. If you like to know what is coming next, you may enjoy Bikram for this reason. By repeating the same poses, you are also better able to see your progression in strength, flexibility, endurance and balance in each successive class.

Hot yoga 


Many yoga studios promote hot yoga, which is a general term for any heated yoga class. Practitioners of this style still experience toxin release benefits, but may not be aware of Bikram's philosophy or exact practice. Hot yoga classes may follow any sequence and unlike Bikram yoga classes do not always include the same set of postures.  Hot yoga can be comprised of many different poses that vary by class and studio. Unlike Bikram classes, the temperature of hot yoga classes ranges from 80-105 degrees, and the humidity of the room also varies. Hot yoga classes can be anywhere from 60-90 minutes in length. Most hot yoga classes also play music, which can be distracting for some yogis but more enjoyable for others. 

Although very different, both Bikram yoga and hot yoga offer similar benefits. The crazy amount of sweating you do in both scorching Bikram and hot yoga classes is believed to be extremely detoxifying and helps to relieve stress. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tip of the Week: Bend Your Elbows in Cobra

Photo by Wendy Debeck from Bikram Yoga Sidney
The above picture is of Joseph Encinia demonstrating an improper way to do Cobra pose. "Am I using any strength? No. Compression in spine yes but no strength. Arms at 90 degrees develops both strength and flexibility." Remember that Cobra is not "Upward Facing Dog" nor is it a push-up. Make sure your arms are bent at a 90 degree angle. Push your elbows in towards the body, and push your elbows down towards your hips to bring your shoulders down more (notice how Joseph's shoulders are shrugging and his chest isn't lifting). You can read more on Cobra Pose by clicking "here".

Monday, February 9, 2015

Tip of the Week: Full Locust Pose


*Arms should be out to the side like stiff airplane wings (contract those triceps!).

*Contract your thigh and butt muscles and keep your legs glued together (Remember...a tight body is a light body).

*Look up instead of straight ahead. It's tempting to see how you're doing in the mirror, but your body goes where your eyes go, and you will lift your torso up higher the higher you look.

*BREATH IS KEY FOR THE LIFT! You will have so much more energy and be able to stay in the posture longer if you are breathing properly.  Take one strong, deep inhale as you lift, then only let 20% of your breath out as you exhale through your nose.  Inhale 20%. Continue with this 20% exhalation and inhalation as you hold the pose, keeping the lungs 80% full. 80/20 breathing is very important in this posture. DO NOT HOLD YOUR BREATH. If you come out of the posture with a big sigh and are panting heavily, you are not breathing correctly. Read more on 80/20 breathing by clicking "here". 

*Don't try to go to your full expression of the posture with all of your energy right away. Begin by lifting your entire body up slowly, then lift your chest up a little bit more. Then lift your feet up a little bit more. Then lift your chest up a little bit more, and so on until the teacher says to "come up one more time!" This is where you exhale one last time and lift your entire body, head, chest, feet with everything you've got.

*Activate the muscles of your back while engaging your core and pushing your hips into the mat. The more you push "down" with your hips, the more you'll be be able to come "up" with your chest and feet.

*If you're having a hard time lifting your feet very high, try separating them and they should lift higher. Then during the final instruction of "come up one more time!" bring your feet together.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tip of the Week: How to Keep Our Floors Beautiful

Since moving into our new studio in 2013, we've made a commitment to provide the highest quality Bikram experience for our students. Long gone are the days of practicing on musty carpeting. Our new flooring is made of Lonseal, a specialty flooring made specifically for hot yoga. Now with yoga flooring instead of carpeting, students can enjoy a more healthy and comfortable environment. The flooring emits zero toxins, is anti-fatigue, cushioned-step, with extra thick closed-cell foam-padding. We decided to not place a sealer on the flooring to make it non-slip, as this can be an issue in a sweaty hot room. Because of this, we ask a few things of you to help us maintain the floors:

*Please pre-wash new colored towels before using them in the hot room. If the towel hangs over the edge of the yoga mat, it can easily stain the floor as our flooring is not sealed.

*Please avoid bringing colored drinks into the studio. If a colored drink (especially Blue Powerade!) spills on the floor, it is nearly impossible to remove the stain. Clear water with a few drops of "elete" electrolytes or a pinch of salt is your best bet for hydrating (read more on this by clicking "here").

*Please use the fabric mops at the back of the room to wipe up any sweat or water from around your mat before leaving the room.

THANK YOU for helping to keep our floors beautiful!