The Power and Growth of Hot Yoga

Nov 14, 2017

At the request of President Nixon and the encouragement of his teacher Bishnu Ghosh, Bikram Choudhury came to the United States in 1973 to "heal" the bodies of the west. His sequence of 26 poses in a hot room has done more than just heal the bodies of his students. It has fueled a yoga economy like no other.

Since 1973 Hot Yoga has been the largest growing trend in the Yoga field. When studios began to open in Asia, they operated Hot Yoga classes for the first 3 years before other styles of yoga began to gain interest and popularity. This has developed into a trend that began in the West Coast USA and has been growing ever since, with studios opening internationally and inspiring new styles of Yoga such as Bikyasa, or Hot Power Vinyasa, as it is commonly known on yoga schedules.

Hot Yoga creates amazing effects in the body. Whether you seek to lose weight, detoxify the body, promote healing of injuries, open up the body from muscular restrictions, or to practice increased mind-body awareness, hot yoga provides many unique opportunities and challenges to any practitioner.
From the very beginning, Bikram targeted professional athletes and Hollywood stars whose bodies have been subjected to years of tension. Kareem Abdul Jabbar publicly stated that Hot Yoga healed his injuries, while Madonna hailed Hot Yoga before she began her Ashtanga Vinyasa practice. Since then, many other professional athletes and stars have added hot yoga to their regular training routines in order to increase strength, flexibility, stamina, balance, and focus. Hot yoga allows one to push body, mind, and spirit to the edge, enabling growth and a strong connection to one's inner-self with each practice.

Practicing in a heated room warms up the body from the inside out, allowing muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and all body systems to retain warmth and to function at a more optimal level. Heat enables increased flexibility and range of motion with a lower risk of injury, allowing one to reach maximum flexibility in a shorter amount of time.
The Ashtanga Vinyasa system creates heat through intense breath awareness, while Hot Yoga creates that heat through modern technology. Heat in the body activates cellular metabolism, enhancing weight loss. The heat stimulates circulation, making the heart stronger. It helps bring fresh new blood and oxygen to all body parts, flooding cells with nourishment, which is vital to their healthy functioning.
In the last decade, recognizing the benefits that lie from the Bikram system as well as the Vinyasa model, a new style of Yoga has evolved; a style that combines the benefits of both of these practices. This style is known as Bikyasa - a hot yoga flow experience, combining Ashtanga principles of breath-coordinated movement, which ishow heat is produced internally, with external heat and aspects of Bikram's 26 pose sequence.

Bikram Classes are easily found in any authorized Bikram studio, though today Bikram Hot Yoga is also taught in CorePower Yoga and other studios under the name Hot Yoga. CorePower uses a different dialogue and does not restrict the class to 90 minutes. CorePower, along with many other studios around the world such as Haute Yoga out of Southern CA, Absolute Yoga in Thailand, and Bodhi Yoga international to name a few, are studios out of many who offer Hot Flow yoga classes, which are a mix of Bikram and Vinyasa - Bikyasa Yoga.
While they might not be using this term, Bikyasa is a term coined by Gabriel Azoulay, international Yoga professional who has been developing teacher training programs for large yoga brands around the world, and who has been teaching both Bikram and Ashtanga for over a decade. Bikyasa Yoga is a practice that intelligently combines silence with music, and Bikram's healing power, which is scientifically proven, with Vinyasa breath principles, which are also scientifically proven to enhance and heal the body. Bikyasa Yoga classes are found in Sumit Yoga studios throughout AZ and the world and Intentional Yoga Studios throughout the Midwest and the East coast.

Besides numerous physical benefits, heat adds an element which can challenge both the mind and spirit. Finding and maintaining focus despite the challenging environment can make one stronger and more balanced, building willpower, determination, and concentration. The body works hard, but the mind works harder, and following a hot yoga class practitioners often experience a sense of complete relaxation and surrender.

Bikyasa is an amazing practice that can lead to personal transformation on many levels. With that said, heat is not for everyone, so individuals with any concerns should speak with their physician before beginning a practice.
Gabriel Azoulay was born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel. At the age of seventeen, Gabriel moved to Durham, NC, and at the age of twenty, while attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a book by Tom Robbins sparked an interest in India's religious studies. His first book on yoga, checked out from the University library was Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, from there Gabriel embarked on a yogic journey that continues to this day.