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Karma Yoga: The Act of Living Selflessly and Enjoying the Benefits

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What is Karma Yoga? In Hinduism, one can adapt four spiritual paths in their lifestyle.

These are:

  • Jnana Yoga (The Path of Knowledge)
  • Raja Yoga (The Path of Psychological Experimentation)
  • Bhakti Yoga (The Path of Devotion)
  • Karma Yoga (The Path of Work)

These four paths to self-realization are based on the fact that human beings are emotional, active, reflective, and experimental in nature. In this discussion, I will explain more about the Path of Work.

What is Karma Yoga?

Also known as Karma Marga, the path of work advocates that we endeavor to dutifully and selflessly render our services to others regardless of our stages in life.

Lord Krishna summarizes the process of the path of work as detailed in the ancient text, the Bhagavad Gita, as follows :

“Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty, for by working without attachment one attains the Supreme.”

This text simply means that people have a duty to offer their skills to humanity and in the preservation of nature to the best of their abilities. They should do this while exercising zero affinity to the effects or rewards of their works. Instead, they should strive to work as a service to God.

Offering service for the benefit of others is a form of prayer in Hinduism. It is human nature to seek rewards for works done. The Path of Work discourages this habit. Instead, a karma yogi (one who practices selfless acts) will serve others as a mother, a teacher, a doctor or a cook, without expecting a reward in return.

As you embrace the Karma yoga, you should differentiate it from Kriya Yoga, which is the practice of ritual action. The Practice of Work has a direct impact on others/society whereas Kriya Yoga focuses on cleansing our mind, without a direct impact on society.

Benefits of Karma Yoga

The practice of action for the benefit of others offers many physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits as follows:

Purifies the heart

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Selfless acts assist us to let go of our negative tendencies. Any hatred, jealousy or selfishness is now replaced with love. Having a pure heart is the primary benefit of living a selfless life.

Instills Discipline and Dedication

Karma yogis focus their physical and emotional strengths towards using their professional and social skillset to the service of others. They, therefore, make a deliberate effort to enroll in the necessary training and apprenticeship to improve their skills. One learns early enough that no job is superior to the other. Hence, the karma yogi dedicates his efforts towards doing their best with what they have.

Mental Growth

By adopting a broader perspective of life in carrying out our everyday duties, we tend to appreciate others more and therefore attain fulfillment and happiness regardless of how small or big our actions are.

We achieve mental health when we learn to manage our emotions. When one is immersed in service for the benefit of others, he/she no longer has fear of being imperfect or the inability to fit into the norms of the masses. Hence, anxiety, depression or other mental health complications are no longer a concern for a karma yogi.

Perfect Balance

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Working for the benefit of others enables one to lead a balanced life. We are better parents, disciplined children, dedicated workers, and better partners when we have purpose and clarity in our actions.

Living authentic lifestyles is easily attained when we learn how to prioritize our needs without focusing too much on self.

Develop Humility, Selflessness, Sympathy, and Love

As you practice living for others, you learn to tame your ego. Selfish acts are replaced with pure love for humanity. You no longer see yourself as an individual but as part of the wider ecosystem that needs to be protected.

Attain Spiritual Growth

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When a karma yogi dedicates all his actions to God, he attains an inner spiritual development. Drawing closer to God, in turn, makes it easier for us to execute our duties. 

Honest Intentions

A karma yogi learns to base his actions on the broader picture of life. By doing this he/she is hardly a victim of selfish acts, egocentric behavior, anger, envy or pain as a result of the short term failures he may go through.

How to Embrace Karma Yoga in Our Everyday Living

Giving to humanity is possible even when one has little wealth. However, our self-ego and impure mind make the initial stages quite difficult. In order to practice selfless habits in our lifestyle, here are some everyday acts that you can start with:

Charitable Actions

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  • Distributing water and foodstuffs to the homeless
  • Offering free consultation to poor people who can’t afford medical services
  • Responding to a call for a blood donation
  • Offering transport for accident victims
  • Giving tuition classes to underprivileged children
  • Volunteer at a home for the old

Moral Actions

Make a deliberate effort not to hurt the feelings of others by what you do for a living. Consider the long term effects of setting up your businesses or undertaking your projects that have a major impact on the lives of others.

Be mindful of Mother Nature. We gain from nature by preserving it from generation to generation. Join the global campaigns that strive to maintain a pollution-free ecosystem. Protect our endangered species.

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Be mindful of others. For example, if you have an option, take a bus instead of your personal car and make your moral contribution towards decongesting traffic.

Set a list of virtues and live by them. Be a person of integrity, self-control, compassionate and generous in giving. Always have a positive attitude in everything you do.

Finally, always start by giving from what you have.

Conclusion

The practice of Karma Yoga has been passed from one generation to the other for thousands of years. To attain the full benefits of this practice, we need to focus on benefiting others by our acts and make it a daily routine. Make a deliberate effort to be on the lookout for opportunities that demand your physical, mental or spiritual input to better the lives of others. Only then can we find purpose and attain liberalization in life.

Katya Ki is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Feng Shui Master, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

Yoga

Reach Anatomical Perfection With Iyengar Yoga Practice

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Today Iyengar yoga is considered one of the world’s most popular kinds of yoga. It is practiced not only in India but also in other countries. And there are reasons for that.

Iyengar yoga is an amazing tool to give your body anatomical perfection, get rid of emotional and physical stress, improve health, prolong youth and beauty.

The founder of the teaching is Bellur Krishnamachar Sundarārāja Iyengar (better known as B.K.S. Iyengar) who did everything to enable everyone to practice yoga, regardless of the level of physical shape, age, gender, flexibility and plasticity of the body.

In this article, we will share with you what Iyengar yoga is, what its features and benefits are.

What Is Iyengar Yoga?

Iyengar yoga is a kind of Hatha yoga, which, however, has many fundamental differences from the basic teaching. The main feature of this kind of yoga is a long and careful alignment of the asanas.

The performance of the asana is static. A practitioner “freezes” in a pose, continuing to work continuously on taking the most correct position for this pose. The performance of each asana in the teachings of Iyengar is subject to strict rules. Moreover, the asanas should be performed in a specific sequence.

The uniqueness of Iyengar yoga is an individual approach to each practitioner. Exercises are selected individually, depending on the state of health, the level of physical shape, body characteristics, the endurance of each practitioner.

Therefore, this kind of yoga can be recommended to both beginners and advanced yoga practitioners.

In his teaching, Iyengar developed a system of exercises using different props, which is especially important for beginners, as well as for people with health problems.

Iyengar yoga practitioners usually use such props as:

  • Belts;
  • Blocks;
  • Straps;
  • Blankets.
  • Bolsters;
  • Pillows;
  • Chairs.

The use of these props reduces the load on the muscles or joints, helping to build the correct posture.

This type of yoga is suitable for anybody, even for the elderly and people with health problems.

Regular Iyengar yoga classes often give a therapeutic effect – help to treat joints problems and the musculoskeletal system diseases.

Iyengar Yoga Features

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  1. The main tools of Iyengar yoga practice are asanas and pranayamas. One of the distinguishing features of this type of yoga is that asanas are performed statically. That is, when taking a certain pose, it is maintained for a long time, during which a practitioner seems to freeze. Ligaments, muscles and all internal organs undergo therapeutic effects of asanas.
  2. Asanas should be performed strictly according to the rules and in a certain sequence. This is the only way to achieve the proper healing effect.
  3. Iyengar yoga is suitable for both beginners and those who have a yoga practice experience. The uniqueness of this yoga style is that depending on the level of training, health and individual characteristics of a practitioner, suitable asanas are selected for him or her. Even people with a low level of flexibility and physical endurance can start classes, gradually increasing the load.
  4. Iyengar yoga has 200 asanas. Each of them was personally tested by the founder of this yoga style.
  5. Since everyone has different degrees of training, individual physiological characteristics, and some even have health problems, Iyengar suggested using different props. Pillows, chairs, blankets, belts and other tools allow you to give the body the optimal position for performing asanas.
  6. In practice, a special place is given to yoga healing therapy. Iyengar yoga can help alleviate the condition of the practitioner with colds, colitis, gastritis, problems with the musculoskeletal system (various deformities of the spine, stoop) and other diseases. B.K.S. Iyengar tested the effectiveness of this method of healing on himself. Asanas helped Iyengar to get rid of his own diseases. Therefore he believed that yoga it the true path to health.
  7. In this yoga style, attention should be paid not only to asanas and pranayamas but also to the study of the philosophy and moral and ethical principles of the teaching. To achieve these goals, to cure diseases, to get rid of negative emotions, it is necessary to change your worldview, rethink your system of values and views.
  8. Another unique feature of Iyengar yoga is the development of a separate program exclusively for women. Due to the fact that the female body has unique physiological characteristics, and the emotional sphere of women is more sensitive than men, the Iyengar program for women is based on a special asana complex. By practicing these special asanas, a woman will learn to listen to her inner feelings and desires. In addition, she will be able to preserve the youth of her body and skin as long as possible.
  9. This yoga style pays special attention to inverted poses.
  10. Iyengar yoga uniforms relaxation and stretching of the body during staying in asana.
  11. During yoga class, the yoga teacher usually provides a detailed explanation of each asana.

The above-mentioned features of Iyengar yoga speak about the individual approach to each individual person during the classes, which makes this practice, in comparison to others, more accessible.

What Are Iyengar Yoga Benefits?

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Compared to classical yoga, Iyengar yoga has some advantages. One of the most important is that this type of yoga allows you to quickly achieve the correct performance of asanas (thanks to the props), relieving excessive stress from the body.

Other benefits of Iyengar yoga relate mainly to the effects on the human body, among them such as:

  • wellbeing;
  • strengthening the musculoskeletal system;
  • the improvement in cardiac performance;
  • normalization of the nervous system;
  • strengthening of immunity;
  • getting rid of back pain and other muscle aches;
  • stabilization of a hormonal level;
  • increase of endurance, concentration, flexibility.

In addition to the above, this type of yoga increases stress resistance and helps to eliminate bad habits.

Iyengar Yoga Levels Of Difficulty

Depending on how experienced a practitioner is, this type of yoga uses different programs with appropriate levels of difficulty:

Introduction Level

This level is designed for beginners. Practitioners learn to practice relaxation, asanas in a sitting and standing position. Introduction level prepares practitioners to the inverted poses.

Basic Level

This level includes a more thorough practice of asanas in sitting and standing positions and also inverted poses. Then there is a transition to more complex exercises – headstand and shoulders stand. Practitioners prepare for the practice of pranayama.

Intensive Level

The most difficult asanas and pranayama are performed on this level.

Meditation Technique

According to the Iyengar method, a conscious approach to the world around us is continuous meditation. This means that entering into a meditative state you need to live in it constantly. Exactly the same approach applies to Iyengar yoga. According to Iyengar, meditation is not the end of all asanas, it accompanies all asanas, helping to free the mind during the yoga practice and through the purity of consciousness to achieve awareness.

Iyengar Yoga For Women

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There is a separate school of Iyengar yoga for women. Its author is B.K.S. Iyengar’s daughter – Geeta S. Iyengar. Since her childhood, she attended yoga classes, conducted by her father, and was well versed in both theory and practice.

Geeta Iyengar identified important cycles in a woman’s life, such as:

  • puberty;
  • menstruations;
  • pregnancy;
  • menopause.

In accordance with these periods, she selected special asanas for yoga practice.

There is an assumption that too intense yoga classes due to the impact of yoga practice on the hormonal background lead a woman to early menopause. For this reason, Geeta Iyengar advised practicing yoga gradually, without overloading. Also, she found it necessary to choose the right asanas in special periods, such as conception or pregnancy. She said that some asanas can prevent conception or can even cause a miscarriage.

The Bottom Line

Due to the fact that Iyengar yoga is available to almost everyone without restrictions, it is currently one of the most popular types of yoga in the world. Iyengar yoga classes are a great opportunity to develop physical endurance, improve your body, develop coordination and flexibility. A very important result of Iyengar yoga practice is getting rid of various negative emotions, depression, and anxiety. As a result, mental balance and positive emotions are acquired.

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Mantra Yoga: A Magnificent Tool For Self-Transformation

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When we are starting the process of self-transformation, it is important to do it comprehensively on three levels: physical, energetic and consciousness level. It is really important to understand that all three aspects are interrelated. For example, energy problems enslave the physical body and affect our consciousness. Mantra yoga is a very effective unique tool for self-transformation on all three levels.

In this article, I’ll share with you what mantra yoga is, what are its benefits, and give you some tips on how to start your practice.

How Does Mantra Help Our Self-Transformation?

As I already said, mantra is a unique yoga tool that affects three levels at once: body, energy, and consciousness. It was empirically proved that the sounds of Sanskrit have healing power, that is, the very sound of the mantra heals the body.

Mantra also contains energy, which gets into resonance with your body when you’re chanting mantras. And the influence of the mantra on our consciousness is due to a simple principle: “we become what we concentrate on.”

Everyday people concentrate on what is important to them. But, unfortunately, usually, it is a concentration on something negative. Thus, we all have concentration skills, we just need to learn how to use this concentration correctly. And it is mantra yoga that allows us to learn this skill.

What Is Mantra?

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Mantra is not just a random set of unintelligible sounds in an unknown language. Each mantra contains sacred energy that is coded into the sound.

Most often, mantra does not have a specific and single translation. Thus, the practitioner must find out the meaning of the mantra he/she is practicing. And the level and depth of this understanding always align with the level of self-transformation in the process of practice.

For each practitioner, the meaning of the same mantra can be slightly different, due to individual karma and level of transformation.

By concentrating on mantra, its meaning, and thinking about it, we transform our personality. As I already said – we become what we are focused on!

Thus, by concentrating on the mantra that is associated with a particular deity, we concentrate on the energy and qualities of that deity. This energy will come into our lives, and the qualities of the deity will become our own qualities. By concentrating on something energetically pure, we purify ourselves. Or by concentrating on something great, we cultivate the best qualities of our soul.

For example, by concentrating on Shiva mantra, we adopt the qualities of Lord Shiva.

Varieties of Mantras In Mantra Yoga

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All mantras were received by the ancient sages in a state of superconsciousness or expanded consciousness with a specific purpose. Depending on the purpose, mantras can be divided into three groups:

1.Liberation Mantras

The essence of these mantras is the liberation of the mind from the limitations of the human form and the ultimate liberation.

Liberation mantras are safe and can be practiced by everyone. Their intention promotes the evolution of the Universe and self-transformation. These mantras do not have any selfish material goals based on greed.

2. Blessing Mantras

The essence of these mantras is to bring prosperity and fulfillment of various desires into everyday life.

Blessing mantras work with certain energies, both the energies of saints, deities and the energies of various spirits.

3. Healing Mantras

These mantras are aimed at healing specific diseases.

Different Ways to Practice Mantra Yoga

#1 Mantra Chanting

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The most common way to practice mantra yoga is by actually chanting the mantra. And it is quite a powerful tool for cleansing our mind and our aura of the negative energy. Mantra chanting allows us to clear our subconscious mind of destructive attitudes that each of us has. This practice changes our energy. If by practicing asanas we can transform our energy in 1-2 hours, then by mantra chanting the same result can be achieved in 15-30 minutes.

#2 Mantra Concentration

Another way to practice mantra yoga is meditation with a concentration on a mantra. Concentration on the mantra energy will help you to enter into resonance with the energy of the mantra. Regular practice of such meditation will allow you to maintain energy at the proper level.

#3 Mantra Chanting Combined With Pranayama

You can also chant mantras while practicing pranayama.

For example, the mantra “Soham” is often used in pranayama practice. Listen to your breath, it involuntarily utters the sound of “So” on the inhale and “ham-m-m” on the exhale.

#4 Integrating Mantra Into Your Regular Life

You can turn your whole life into a permanent practice of mantra yoga. To do this, you need to constantly keep the mantra of your choice in mind. Repeat it to yourself, thinking and delving into its meaning, trying to comprehend it not only on an intellectual but also on a spiritual level.

Our mind often clings to the objects of the outside world. By being attached to them, it is drawn into an endless thought process that makes us not only waste energy but often concentrate on negative things. The constant repetition of the mantra will allow us to occupy our restless mind with a concentration on the higher vibrations.

#5 OM Mantra Practice

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It is believed that if a person has accumulated experience in the practice of the mantra “Om” during this life, then full concentration on this mantra at the moment of leaving the physical body will allow him/her to be reborn in the higher worlds, even despite the presence of negative karma.

Even in the moment of death the principle “we become what we concentrate on” works. And if a person concentrates on the divine sound of the mantra “Om”, from which our entire Universe once arose, then his consciousness at this moment resonates with the divine energy and acquires divine qualities.

Reincarnation is based on the principle of “we always attract what we radiate”. Therefore after death, a person will be incarnated into a world that corresponds to the qualities of his/her consciousness at the time of death. That is why people who have the divine qualities of consciousness, can incarnate into Higher Worlds.

Moreover, since at the moment of death there is a natural dis-identification of consciousness with the mind and body, then with the proper level of awareness and experience in mantra yoga practice it is possible at this very moment to achieve the state of Buddha and liberate yourself from the cycle of rebirth.

Thus, the practice of mantra yoga not only allows us to transform our consciousness during our current life but also can contribute to an adequate transformation, which is equally important.

Mantra Yoga And Purity of Mind

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It is also worth considering that mantra practice requires a certain purity of mind and the ability to concentrate. At the beginning of the practice of mastering the art of mantra yoga, mantra is used as a means of bringing the mind into balance by concentrating on the pronounced combination of sounds.

You basically concentrate on mantra chanting, discarding all other thoughts, and creating certain vibrations that change your mindset. This practice clears your mind from unnecessary thoughts.

When Will Mantra Start To Work?

When there is no resistance to the process, and the repetition of the mantra does not require effort, the practitioner goes to the silent repetition of the mantra, which reveals its true essence – the understanding of the intellectual level, and direct knowledge.

Mantra begins to change your physical reality (to cure diseases, change the course of things, etc.) when you start to maintain a proper life and develop certain qualities that resonate with the vibrations with the mantra you practice (such as compassion, unconditional love, etc.).

How To Make Words Powerful?

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You have to understand that in order to see real results from your mantra practice your word should gain strength. What does it mean? You see, unfortunately, most people don’t pay too much attention to what they say. Therefore, their words lose their power to manifest reality.

Therefore, it is very important to always follow your word, say what you think, fulfill promises, tell the truth. You basically need to align your feelings, thoughts, and actions.

In order for the power of the word to become unshakable, it is also very important to remain in the silence of the mind, to be free from attachments and emotions, not to be attached to the results of your actions and to be responsible for every word you speak.

The purer your mind, the less chaotic your thoughts, the better the ability to concentrate on one thing, and the more powerful your mantra practice becomes.

The Bottom Line

The miraculous effect of the mantra lies not so much in the right combination of words, intonation, melody, and rhythm as in faith itself. And faith comes from the alignment of the mind with the Universe, God, Tradition, Teacher, or all together. When faith becomes an axiom, then the mantra begins to work.

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Yoga

Bikram Yoga: Benefits And Harm Of Hot Yoga Classes

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Have you heard about Bikram yoga? This yoga style is becoming more and more popular. Many practitioners find it very effective for creating balance between the body and mind. In this article, we will share with you what Bikram yoga is, and what its advantages and disadvantages are. We hope that after reading this article, you’ll be able to personally determine for yourself whether hot yoga classes suit you or not.

What Is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram yoga is a complex of certain asanas that are performed in a hot room. This type of yoga got its name from its founder Bikram Choudhury.

Initially, this kind of yoga was used by Bikram as a recovery after an injury. He was performing yoga asanas in a heated room. After a full recovery, he has perfected asanas and suggested to practice them in the room with hot temperature.

The initial class of Bikram yoga includes:

  • 2 breathing exercises;
  • 26 consecutive Hatha yoga asanas.

Bikram yoga classes are practiced in a room heated to 105 °F with a humidity of 40%. The duration of the lesson is 1.5 hours.

Due to the complexity of such “hot” exercises the whole body strengthens. Each posture of the asana flows smoothly into the next asana, thus increasing the flow of oxygen, through which toxins are removed from the body.

Bikram yoga is known for its martial style of teaching, the concentration of energy and impeccable posture. It is one of the most popular styles of hot yoga that is practiced all over the world. It should draw the attention of those people who prefer strict, disciplined practice, which controls everything – starting with breathing and ending with the opportunity to drink water.

History

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Bikram Choudhury was born in Calcutta in 1944. At age four he already began practicing yoga.  When he was 13 years old, Bikram received the title of national champion of India in yoga. At the age of 17, Bikram Choudhury severely injured his knee. Doctors said that he will never be able to walk independently.

But the young champion did not despair and under the guidance of his mentor, he began to perform asanas in a certain sequence, aimed at full recovery of the injured part of his body. A distinctive feature of this complex of asanas was that the room (where yoga was practiced) was very hot. This was essential in order to effectively work on the injured knee, and in order not to further damage. The result of hard training was a fully restored knee.

Bikram Choudhury reasonably believes that Hatha yoga brings the most positive results in conjunction with the hot climate of India. Naturally, not everyone has the opportunity to practice Bikram yoga in a hot climate. Therefore he suggested creating appropriate temperature regime artificially. In this case, we can practice hot yoga in any country, even in the North.

As a result of refinement and improvement of the sequence of asanas, Bikram Choudhury created his own unique style of Hatha yoga, which is now known as Bikram yoga.

Bikram Yoga Vs. Hot Yoga: What’s The Difference?

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Many people think that Bikram and hot yoga are the same thing but these two styles still have differences.

So what’s the difference between Bikram Yoga and Hot Yoga?

1. Temperature

Bikram yoga studios must be heated to 105°F with 40% humidity.

Hot yoga rooms can vary in humidity and are generally heated to anywhere from 80 to 100°F.

2. Duration of the Class

The duration of the Bikram yoga class is always 90 mins.

Hot yoga classes can last anywhere from 60 to 90 mins.

3. Music

Music or clapping are not allowed during Bikram yoga classes.

Hot yoga classes often have music playing during the class and even can be followed by a round of applause.

4. Asanas Variations

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Bikram yoga includes the same 26 asanas and two breathing exercises. All the asanas and breathing exercises are performed in the same order every class.

Hot yoga can include many different asanas that may vary by class or/and studio.

5. Floors

The floors of Bikram yoga studios must be carpeted.

In Hot yoga studios, the floors are usually made of any type of artificial wood or any other material.

6. Lighting

There must be bright lighting in the Bikram yoga studios.

Hot yoga classes are often performed with dim lights or even by candlelight.

7. Talking During the Class

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It is not allowed to talk during a Bikram yoga class.

During a Hot yoga class, the students can interact with each other and with the yoga instructor.

It is difficult to say which one of these two styles is better. Everything is absolutely individual. Someone may be uncomfortable to practice yoga in a room heated to 105°F, and someone, on the contrary, will appreciate this temperature and find it easier to relax. There are such studios that conduct Bikram yoga classes in a very warm room, but only 60 minutes instead of 90 minutes and in a more relaxed mode.

Or, for example, you may not like to practice yoga on a carpeted floor and will appreciate the wooden floors more that regular hot yoga studios hold classes on.

So it’s completely up to you! Ask yourself which type of yoga will suit you better!

Bikram Yoga Postures And Their Benefits

During Bikram yoga class, a complex of 26 postures is performed in a strictly defined sequence. It is very important to perform these postures to the end and repeat each of them twice. As a result of each such practice, the vital energy (prana) circulates in your body harmoniously, and the organs are exposed to beneficial effects.

Bikram Yoga complex includes the following postures:

1. Pranayama (breathing practice)

This posture is aimed at relieving fatigue, relaxation and at the same time concentration on the upcoming yoga practice.

2. Half Moon Pose (ARDHA-CHANDRASANA)

This asana relaxes and gradually stretches the muscles of the whole body, preparing you to perform basic postures.

3. Awkward Pose (UTKATASANA)

This pose helps to tone and shape your legs, heals chronically cold feet, helps relieve rheumatism and arthritis in the legs, helps to cure slipped discs and other lower spine problems.

4. Eagle Pose (GARURASANA)

This pose is aimed at the development of coordination. This is due to the fact that some muscles of the body tense up, while others relax. As a result of performing this asana, pain in the back and joints goes away, the muscles of the legs come to tone, the blood flow improves.

5. Standing Head To Knee (DANDAYAMANA-JANUSHIRASANA)

Stretches the leg muscles and gluteal muscles, blood circulation in the brain becomes noticeably better, and the blood pressure returns to normal.

6. Standing Bow (DANDAYAMANA-DHANURASANA)

This asana is aimed at developing a sense of stability, discipline and emotional inner harmony and balance. In physical terms, there is a relaxation of the back and strengthening the muscles of the legs.

7. Balancing Stick (TULADANDASANA)

This asana has a moderate load on the heart, stimulates its intensive work and the release of blood. Thereby this posture helps clear the vessels and increases the activity of the brain. This asana is an excellent prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

This asana is aimed at stretching the muscles of the back and strengthening the blood flow to the joints. It also massages the internal abdominal organs, the small and large intestines.

9. Triangle Pose (TRIKANASANA)

This asana is aimed at the simultaneous study of all the muscles of the body and enhances metabolism. This pose is extremely beneficial for women with a broken menstrual cycle. It also benefits the heart and lungs.

10. Standing Separate Head to Knee Pose (DANDAYAMANA-BIBHAKTAPADA-JANUSHIRASANA)

This pose stimulates the work of all the glands of our body, especially the thyroid gland. It also helps to heal reproductive system disorders and frequent chronic migraines.

11. Tree Pose (TADASANA)

This asana aimed at stretching the spine and strengthening the muscles of the back. It improves your posture and reduces tension in the abdomen.

12. Toe Stand (PADANGUSTASANA)

This pose aimed at developing balance and strengthening willpower, as well as stretching the muscles of the legs.

13. Dead Body (SAVASANA)

This asana relaxes every single muscle of your body. As a result, the movement of blood and lymph comes back to normal. Moreover, the internal cleansing happens and we learn to relax.

14. Wind-Removing Pose (PAVANAMUKTASANA)

This pose massages the organs inside the body in a natural way which is especially beneficial for the digestive system.

15. Sit Up (PADA-HASTHASANA)

This asana clears the lungs of the air that has stagnated there. Also, it stretches the spine and increases flexibility.

16. Cobra (BHUJANGASANA)

During the performing of this asana, your arms are strengthened and your back muscles become more flexible. Thus there is a prevention of diseases in the lumbar region, such as, for example, arthritis. This asana increases the performance of the liver and spleen, and blood pressure returns to normal.

17. Locust Pose (SALABHASANA)

Great pose for those who have a pinched sciatic nerve or displaced vertebrae. Practicing Locust Pose is an excellent prevention of varicose veins.

18. Full Locust Pose (POORNA-SALABHASANA)

This pose increases strength in the middle spine and the rib cage elasticity. Also, it firms the abdominal muscles, upper arms, and hips.

19. Bow Pose (DHANURASANA)

This asana increases spine flexibility. It aids digestion, fights constipation, combats bronchitis and diabetes. This pose improves the functioning of the large and small intestines, the liver, kidneys, and spleen.

20. Fixed Firm Pose (SUPTA-VAJRASANA)

While performing this asana you are stretching your spinal muscles and the muscles of your ankles, resulting in visibly tightened thighs and belly. In addition, this asana is the prevention of diseases such as gout and varicose veins.

21. Half Tortoise (ARDHA-KURMASANA)

This asana improves sleep, helps to get rid of frequent migraines, improve memory and normalize blood circulation of the brain, as well as prolong your life.

22. Camel Pose (USTRASANA)

This pose helps to stretch the back muscles. It also improves the flexibility of your neck and spine and helps degenerative spinal problems. This asana helps constipation, stretches the throat, thyroid and parathyroid glands.

23. Rabbit Pose (USTRASANA)

This pose helps to reduce tension in the shoulders and neck. Is also helps alleviate colds, sinus problems, and chronic tonsillitis.

24. Head to Knee Pose and Stretching Pose (JANUSHIRASANA AND PASCHIMOTTHANASANA)

This asana is very beneficial for immune and lymphatic systems, allergies and arthritis. It increases circulation to the liver, pancreas, thyroid, thymus, and intestines. Also, performing this pose improves digestion.

25. Spine-Twisting Pose (ARDHA-MATSYENDRASANA)

Performing this twisting asana increases circulation to all the spinal nerves, veins, and tissues, and improves the elasticity of the spine. It relieves lower back pain and helps prevent slipped discs, kyphosis, scoliosis, cervical spondylosis, and arthritis.

26. Blowing In Firm Pose (KAPALBHATI IN VAJRASANA)

This pose improves digestion and circulation and increases the elasticity of the lungs.

Bikram Yoga Benefits

The successful outcome of Bikram yoga practice entirely depends on you. Regular classes and your devotion to the practice will soon bring positive effects.

Bikram yoga benefits image

The benefits of Bikram yoga are:

  • provokes active burning of calories;
  • helps to lose weight quickly, get rid of cellulite and bring your body into good shape;
  • cleanses your body of toxins;
  • your body gains great flexibility;
  • strengthens the cardiovascular and respiratory system;
  • helps to quickly recover from injuries of varying severity;
  • improves metabolism;
  • helps to relax after a hard day and put in order your nervous system;
  • improves sleep quality;
  • helps relieve stress (regular practice helps reduce cortisol levels);
  • improves skin quality (helps get rid of acne and enlarged pores);
  • all muscles come in tone;
  • reduces depression;
  • makes you more disciplined;
  • helps to find inner balance and harmony with the outside world;
  • increases immunity and it becomes easier for your body to fight infections and viruses;
  • relieves mental stress and relaxes you.

Can Bikram Yoga Harm You?

Before choosing to attend Bikram or Hot yoga class you should be aware of the harm that this kind of yoga can cause.

There is a number of disadvantages that you may face during your hot yoga class.

1. A danger of excessive stretching

It may be hard to believe but if you have already good flexibility, then Bikram yoga can provoke muscle tension. The thing is the heat weakens the muscles and you may be in danger of excessive stretching.

2. A danger of dehydration

Practicing yoga in a hot room can naturally lower internal body temperature and provoke dehydration. Moreover, there is a significantly increased risk of heat exhaustion and even heat stroke. Symptoms of exhaustion include weakness, dizziness, and quite severe nausea, so if you encounter them, it is important to stop your yoga practice immediately and leave the class.

man drinking water during yoga class image

3. A danger of the kidney load increase

When we’re hot and stuffy, we’re thirsty. It’s a natural process. In the conditions of Bikram yoga, there is heavy sweating and, of course, we want to drink twice as much. This means that the load on the kidneys increases.

Сontraindications of Bikram Yoga Practice

Since Bikram yoga is being practiced in a hot room there are some contraindications that can be temporary and permanent.

Permanent contraindications include:

  • vascular problems;
  • varicose veins;
  • heart disease;
  • hypertension;
  • tachycardia;
  • weak mitral and aortic valve function;
  • lung diseases;
  • kidneys diseases;
  • prostatitis;
  • arthrosis;
  • gallstone disease;
  • gynecological diseases;
  • diabetes;
  • asthma;
  • brain diseases.

Temporary contraindications include:

  • pregnancy;
  • period of gynecological inflammation and menstruation;
  • catarrhal diseases;
  • fever;
  • sinusitis.

What to Expect from Bikram Yoga Class?

Yoga Classes Image

If you decided to attend Bikram yoga class then you may have a reasonable question – what to expect? It is natural to feel nervous if you come to Bikram yoga studio for the first time. It’s okay if you are not as successful in your yoga practice as others during the first few classes. Everyone’s been through this.

Let us share with you some tips for those of you who are going to attend your first Bikram yoga class:

  • Come to the studio 15 minutes before your class starts.
  • Be sure to warn the instructor about the presence of any chronic diseases and medical restrictions.
  • Be sure to have an empty stomach. Start training about 2 hours after you have eaten.
  • Do not drink too much water before and during yoga class. It is allowed to moisten the throat and take a few sips. A full stomach is contraindicated when performing asanas!
  • Visit the restroom before the class, as it is not recommended to interrupt the practice.
  • Most studios categorically prohibit the use of a cell phone, so we advise you to completely turn it off and take the time to enjoy yoga.
  • Try to breathe slowly and deeply, it will help to relax all the muscles and get used to the room temperature.
  • Breathe only through the nose, because breathing through the mouth dries the mucosa and excites the nervous system.
  • Be prepared for the fact that during classes you will sweat a lot. Most hot yoga studios artificially increase humidity, so you’ll sweat even in places where you had no idea you had sweat glands (hello, a sweaty inner side of the elbow).
  • Try not to wipe the sweat flowing from you in streams, so you give the body a signal to release even more liquid to cool the hot body.
  • Your heart may start to beat faster, but if you don’t have a problem with that, that’s fine. You need to stay calm and focus on your reflection in the mirror. If, however, you are alerted, and you start to panic, lie down on the mat and take a short break.
  • If you have any unpleasant feelings during your yoga practice, focus on your reflection in the mirror, it will return you to the comfort zone.
  • Listen to your body. If you feel bad (dizzy, nauseous, etc.) during yoga class, the only right decision is to get up and leave. Do not try to break through the weakness, so as not to harm yourself.
  • Improve the result gradually. If you have just started practicing hot yoga, it is not necessary to do the exercises in full force. As in the case of any other workout, your body should get used to the peculiarities of the load. Therefore, start small and boldly move forward.
  • After yoga class, you will have a feeling that you are ready to conquer the whole world (of course, after a long shower). This is the pleasant aftertaste of yoga.

Conclusion

We want to note once again that not everyone can practice this kind of yoga. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you consult with your doctor for contraindications. In addition, it must be remembered that the hot conditions of the hot yoga classes may initially seem unbearably difficult to handle. Therefore, you should determine your level of endurance, so not to pass out during the practice.

Summing up, once again we note that Bikram yoga, despite its ambiguity, is an effective tool that allows you to cleanse your body, tighten sagging skin, develop flexibility, form a posture, delve into your feelings and fully master the management of your body.

We hope that after reading this article, you are now able to decide whether this type of yoga is suitable for you or not. Remember that yoga is not a competition, and the approach to choosing a yoga style for practice should be based on individual feelings, needs, and indications.

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