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Dangers of Bikram Yoga

Bikram yoga focuses on a more physical aspect of a workout than traditional hatha yoga does. With hatha yoga, the poses are focused on calmness and relaxing, meditative effects. Bikram is not the same as hatha, and its intense, sweaty 90 minute sessions are definitely not for everyone.

The most dangerous aspect of bikram is the heat in which the workout is done it. A typical routine involves a room at 105 degrees with humidity levels hovering around 50%. This is a sticky and sweaty situation to say the least. The workout involves 26 different poses that are done in sequence two times. If someone who is not already in top physical condition attempts bikram, heatstroke, dizziness, nausea, dehydration, and cramping are just a few of the dangers that could potentially lead to worse conditions or even death. Fainting is fairly common in these sessions when one becomes extremely dehydrated and this poses the danger of getting hurt as well.

The heat is meant to promote more flexibility and the capacity to hold poses for longer periods of time. However, the intense heat also holds the threat that one could over stretch to far, damaging ligaments or tendons without even knowing the harm is occurring. Some criticize bikram for its potentially detrimental effects because traditional yoga is so focused on mental stabilizing and spiritual connection which is hard to find when you are stretching your body to its full extent for 90 minutes in a blazing hot room. Not much of a relaxing scenario.

If being thrown into a sweltering room and contorting your body into numerous poses consecutively for 90 minutes is appealing to you, then bikram is your way to go. However, for those of us who enjoy yoga to be more of a relaxing and stabilizing experience that leaves one refreshed and ready to go about your day, I think we’ll pass.

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