BIKRAMYOGA - 1 Sarah Goldman Professor Robinson HFITApril 7...

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Sarah Goldman Professor Robinson HFIT- April 7, 2008 Bikram Yoga and Stress Reduction Bikram yoga was developed from an earlier form of yoga called Hatha yoga. Hatha, which in Sanskrit means “force”, is a form of yoga that emphasizes the perfection of the physical body through rigorous poses and demanding body contortions. It is the most popular form of yoga in the Western world, (Trusty Guides, 2008). Hatha yoga combines a series of postures with breathing exercises to develop physical fitness and mental soundness. Bikram was born in Calcutta, India, in 1946 and studied Hatha yoga under one of its most famous teachers, Bishnu Ghosh. Bikram began at the age of four and was a natural at even the most challenging poses. In his teens, he won the National India Yoga Championship four times in a row, (Davis, 2002.) He then went on to open several successful yoga schools in India and Japan, before finally moving to California in the 1970’s. Bikram’s reason for coming to the United States is a favorite story among his followers. In 1972, President Nixon was visiting the South Pacific and was suffering from phlebitis. Choudhury claims that he was brought to ease the President’s pain by teaching him the postures in a heated room. After the lesson, Choudhury said, "He got 1
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up, shaved, with the dress, tie, suit, went for meeting. And he asked me first thing, 'Sir, who are you? Are you an Indian black magician?'” After stating that he was not a magician, he explained that he was a yogi. Choudhury claims that Nixon was so happy with the treatment, he gave him an open invitation to come and live in the United States, (CBS News, 2005). Bikram yoga, or nicknamed “hot yoga,” is a type of yoga that is practiced in a room that is heated to about 105 degrees Fahrenheit, with special mechanisms to keep the humidity level at 40%. The classically ninety minute class is made up of 26 different postures and two breathing exercises. The first 12 poses involve standing backbends, forward bends and balancing poses to build focus and to get the body sweating. After this grueling first half, one welcomes the "corpse pose,” where the entire class drops to the floor for two minutes of heavenly relaxation, (it really feels better than sleep)! Bikram yoga involves no shoulder stands, headstands, salutes to the sun or downward-facing dogs, common to other forms of yoga. Instead, the following floor postures include knee-to-chest stretches, straight- legged sit-ups and a brief, forward bend followed by a brief but challenging set of postures: the cobra, the half locust, the full locust, the bow, the fixed firm, the half tortoise, the camel, the rabbit, two more forward bends, a twist and a kneeling pose. But why the heat?
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This note was uploaded on 04/10/2008 for the course HFIT 225 taught by Professor Robinson during the Spring '08 term at American.

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BIKRAMYOGA - 1 Sarah Goldman Professor Robinson HFITApril 7...

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