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Very shortly after a class begins, the student will begin sweating as the skin, the largest eliminative organ of the body, begins a cleansing detoxification. Students are encouraged to hydrate before class, are allowed to drink water during class and are reminded to re-hydrate after class.
A student's daily intake of water often increases dramatically when they begin Bikram Yoga and this has a healthy flushing and cleansing effect on the body.
The core temperature of the body may rise safely by about .5 to 1.0 degree and the superficial soft tissue structures, including the fascia, ligaments, muscles and tendons will warm up quickly and allow the student to move further, more comfortably and more safely in all directions than while exercising in a cooler environment.
By moving the body and thus the spine into all ranges of motion, the student actively opens the joints of the spinal column and strengthens the supportive muscle groups around the spinal column.
This ensures optimal spinal joint function and minimal interference to nerve pathways between the brain and the body.
Bikram is not a flowing or vinyasa style of hatha yoga but rather a more stationary style of practice where you move into a particular position and then hold it for between 10 and 60 seconds, depending upon the posture.
Sounds easy? It may, but you will notice how your heart rate will increase when this simple activity is done in the heat.
As the body exercises in this unique environment, the heat thins down the blood and allows it to perfuse more deeply into body tissues and organs to facilitate healing.
While the practice may appear to be just physical activity, it is also a form of waking meditation. The hot environment demands a sharpening of your mental focus, concentration and determination during the 90-minute class.
Most students report a total absence of distracting thoughts, during the class, as they concentrate on their breath, the posture, their image in the mirror and the words of their teacher.
This wonderful relief from the stress of life continues outside the hot room as the student discovers that things that previously may have stressed them in their life, no longer seem to steal their peace of mind.
There are certainly tremendous restorative benefits from the practice of any style of yoga, as the student combines conscious breathing with particular movements that stretch, strengthen and stimulate all body systems: cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, excretory, immune, integumentary, reproductive, respiratory, nervous and musculoskeletal.
The heated environment, however, achieves these positive changes more quickly for the student conducting a regular practice. The Bikram yoga practice beautifully compliments other styles of yoga and exercise the student may perform and may also compliment any type of body work, such as chiropractic, that the student may be receiving.