Bikram yoga, or hot yoga as it is sometimes referred to as, is an intense style of yoga. Created by Bikram Chodbury, a practice of yoga since the age of four, Bikram yoga is based on 26 postures. These specific poses were created by Bikram to maximize the body’s health and are to be practiced in a heated room in order to push the body to its fullest potential, encouraging blood flow and warming the muscles.
What Makes Bikram Different?
Unlike other yoga styles, Bikram does not involve any meditation. The entire 90 minute session is devoted to postures, allowing the body to continuously move and flow. Although it is a version of the Hatha style of yoga, Bikram is far more intense. The room in which Bikram is practiced in must be heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The hot temperature is said to help the body warm faster and flow blood quicker. The class, which Bikram created to be simple enough for beginners, involves 12 floor postures that address the proper alignment of the spine, two breathing exercises, 12 standing postures devoted to reestablishing musculoskeletal balance. The other thing that sets this form of yoga apart from others is that there are no inversions. Bikram believed inversions to be too hard for beginners to grasp.
How to Become a Bikram Yoga Teacher:
Becoming certified to teach Bikram is a bit more involved than other certifications. Because this style is very intense, those instructing it must be strong-willed and passionate. You must also have taken regular Bikram courses at a studio for at least six months prior to applying, as well as a letter of recommendation from an instructor. You must also be at least 21 years old.
Those who meet the requirements, are interested and accepted must attend a nine week, six-day-a-week course taught by the Bikram Yoga College of India. Classes, two a day, are typically longer than the normal time of 90 minutes, as time is devoted to each pose in order for the student to truly perfect it.
Your certification will ultimately depend on your ability to perform the Bikram poses, recite the Bikram dialogue, your ability to pass tests and fulfill the curriculum* affiliated with the course, as well as participate in workshops and clinics.
Remember: Not everyone who attends the Bikram Yoga College of India is guaranteed yoga teacher certification. This course and this type of yoga is a rather sub-category of the practice and requires a determined student.
*The curriculum involved in Bikram yoga is as follows:
Anatomy and Physiology, Nutrition, athology, the chakra system, therapeutic applications/health benefits of yoga, the integration of medical and yogic systems for total health/well-being and information running your own yoga studio.