Bikram Yoga: What is it?
Bikram yoga is a type of hot yoga designed around 26 stretches or poses that span over a time frame of about 90 minutes. This style of yoga is similar to a traditional yoga regimen with one major difference. Extreme heat is pumped into the room during the workout. The user will sweat profusely with an extreme heart rate during the class. The classes are used in hopes of reducing tension, detoxifying, and reducing pain in sore muscles.
Dangers of the Bikram Way
Unfortunately, the dangers are great with this type of yoga. Many practicing Bikram yoga experience core temperature of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The heart pumps blood at an increased rate through the body. During a normal workout, the heart rate increase is healthy, but at the high temperatures there is an added danger of over exhausting. Beginners are most susceptible to these dangers as they do not notice the symptoms soon enough. The body is not designed to withstand 90 minutes at these temperatures. The result is hyperthermia which has numerous side effects that can debilitate a person.
Signs and Symptoms of Hyperthermia
Hyperthermia leads to heat stroke and is very dangerous. Warning signs should be paid attention to. It begins with a fast pulse, accompanied by heavy breathing, and massive amounts of sweating. Blood vessels dilate in an attempt to cool the person, this can cause the sufferer to appear to have dry skin. As the hyperthermia increases, the sufferer can experience nausea, vomiting, confusion, dizziness, or fainting. If left untreated or removed from the high heat, seizures can occur. If left longer still in the heat the sufferer will experience, organ failure and death.
Alternatives to Bikram
Always drink plenty of water if participating in Bikram Yoga. However, even too much water can cause a dangerous lack of salt in the body. It is therefore highly recommended that a safer form of detoxification, pain relief, and muscle relief is found. Infrared saunas provide all these benefits safely and in only a few short sessions a week. The user experiences lower relaxing heat from the long wavelengths created in infrared saunas. The resulting relaxation calms tight or painful muscles and detoxifies the body through more healthy amounts of sweating. To gain the added flexibility of yoga you can stretch lightly within the safe confines of the sauna.