The System of Bikram Yoga Poses
Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class
The sequence of the Bikram yoga poses sometimes referred to as the 26+2, is a system of hatha yoga poses and was created sometime in the early seventies by Bikram Choudhury. The 26 postures are picked from the classic 84+2 series that has 84 postures and often referred to as the advanced class by Bikram Choudhury's guru "Yogindra" Bishnu Ghosh brother of Paramahansa Yogananda founder of the self-realization fellowship.
This hot yoga series that Bikram calling Bikram's beginning yoga class is performed in a room that is heated to 40 degrees Celsius and takes around 90 min including the Shavasana. All postures are done twice with a couple of exceptions (Tree pose, Toe stand pose, and Spine twisting pose. The sequence is always practiced the same way and the certified yoga teacher is to follow certain instructions.
How do I know it is a Bikram yoga class?
- Class always start with Pranayama deep breathing
- The sequence of poses is always practiced the same way and the certified yoga teacher is to follow certain instructions.
- Breathing through the nose during whole class
- Eyes open whole class
- The yoga teacher is not practicing with class, only teaching by verbal instructions and no hands-on corrections
- Yoga class is alignment focused with a lot of verbal instructions
- In between all the poses on the floor is a savasana
- Class always ends with Kaphalabati breathing
Breathing in Bikram Yoga
In Bikram yoga like any other yoga styles, the breathing is in and out through the nose (normal breathing). But each pose has a particular correct way of breathing.
- Normal breathing: In and out through the nose. You never empty the lungs completely.
- 80/20 breathing: You fill the lungs completely and in the posture, you just let 20 percent of the air in out through the nose, because the pose requires air in the lungs to maintain proper strength. This breathing is mostly in backbends
- Exhale of the breath: You start with a full breath in and when entering the posture you exhale completely. This breathing is mostly in forward folds.
Bikram Yoga Poses
Down below is the correct order. The system of postures that are practiced, also alignment cues you might here in class.
Pranayama - Standing deep breathing
Feet together toes and heels touching, knuckles to the chin at all times
Interlace your fingers make a nice and tight grip, straighten your arms completely
Stomach in, chin up, chest up, body weight in the heels, sit down more
Squeeze your knees together, pull your elbows down
Stomach in, kick heel forward, lock the knee
Dandayamana dhanurasana - Standing bow pulling pose
Hold your foot from the inside at the ankle, kick right back an up
Come down until your whole body is parallel to the floor, stretch and stretch and stretch
Pick up your heels from outside, body weight on toes, chin away from chest
Stretch up and down like a natural human traction
Stretch up, tuck your chin into your chest, round your spine
Tadasana - Tree pose
Stand tall, straighten spine, firm buttock, lock the knee
Fold from the hip, sit on the heel, palms together in namaskar
Heels together, palm open, eyes open, mouth closed
Tight grip, elbows in, pull the knee down towards the shoulder
Feet together, flex your toes, arms overhead, sit up double exhale
Elbows in and down, chin away from the chest, look up and lift up
Salabhasana - Locust pose
Kiss the towel, lift both legs up, don't give up
Poorna Salabhasana - Full locust pose
Inhale, look up, arms up and back
Chin away from chest, look up, kick and kick
Inhale lift chest, knees together
Active stretch, keep stretching forward, sit down on heels
Hips forward, chest up, chin up, look back, inhale go back
Little weight on head, stomach in and hips up
Good grip with interlaced fingers, elbows in, face closer to stomach
Find length on inhale, twist on exhale
Kapalabhati in vajrasana - Blowing in firm pose
Spine straight, relax the belly, passive inhale and active exhale through lips
Bikram beginning yoga class audio recording with Esak Garcia
- You should not eat before yoga class. 2-3 hours is a good rule of thumb to stay away from an unpleasant experience
- Hatha yoga must be practiced mindfully, coming in and out of a pose should be done slowly.
- You are changing the construction of the body so small steps are necessary with tiny changes in the poses. Treat them like a baby learning how to walk with baby steps.
What are the benefits of Bikram hot yoga?
Some benefit could be:
- Increases flexibility
- Stimulates internal organs
- Moving fresh blood to increase circulation
- Can reduce lower back pain
- Stimulate the digestive system, Improved digestion
- Improves concentration
- Clears the mind
- Helps with rheumatism and arthritis
- Stimulates immune system