Is Bikram yoga good or bad for me?

Yogi Cameron Alborzian
Alternative & Complementary Medicine

The purpose of a yoga practice is to find and maintain balance of body and mind. This allows us to move to a higher state of awareness and ultimately become self-realized. This is done by maintaining a balance between our outer and inner environment, between habits and lifestyle, and between our senses and desires. The practice is grounded in the act of committing to certain social and personal values called Yama and Niyama, which are not traditional or religious but form the foundation of the yogic path.

Bikram is a physical yoga practice, which is a small part of the yogic path. Originally, these postures were developed under the name hatha yoga and were set out by the sage Patanjali. One must ask themselves: If a sage of a Godly consciousness brings us the perfect balance of body and mind practice, should those of us of a lesser, more material awareness change any of it?

This is what happened when hatha yoga became re-packaged into Bikram, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Power Yoga, and the multitudes of variations that turn a spiritual practice into physical exercises.

Now, is Bikram healthy? Being in a room heated to 100 or 104 degrees does a few things:

  • It overheats and stresses the entire system.
  • It heats the head, which is unhealthy.
  • The profuse sweating that takes place overworks the endocrine system.
  • It shortens the breath.
  • It spreads toxins of all the people in the room amongst each other.
  • It opens the muscles up very rapidly, which gives the practitioner a false sense of the limitations they should be setting for their practice.

Given all of these factors, the practice as a whole doesn't add up to a balanced experience nor does it follow the yogic path. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.