I admire people who do yoga. They look so lean, calm and fit. They look so elegant doing the standing bow pose or personifying the perfect triangle.
We all have heard the many health benefits yoga; it is known to improve your immune system, posture and even help with insomnia. Knowing all the benefits, I still hate Yoga as much as Quinoa.
Call me crazy, but I do not consider it exercise. I feel like if I am going to spend one hour a day exercising, I might as well do cardio because of the caloric expenditure. Regular passive Yoga burns as little as 100 calories (equivalent to one apple) per session and depending on your intensity up to 450 calories. However, I wanted to give Yoga another shot since it has far more benefits than worrying about how many calories you burn.
After hearing a lot about “Bikram Yoga” from a student of mine, I decided to try it. From the moment I walked into the studio, I knew this was going to be an intense workout, just standing in that heat alone felt like a workout! I also felt like I was stretching my muscles easier and farther than in a regular temperature studio, and since I am not very flexible I felt like I was helping my body align itself.
So what exactly is the difference between heated yoga and regular yoga?
To begin with, Bikram is performed in a heated studio that is between 90 to 105 degrees. The heat is to help you stretch your muscles. In addition, you have the added benefit of burning more calories going through a sequence of 26 different poses through the 90-minute duration of a regular Bikram yoga session. According to experts, the heat is an added stressor (not a bad thing) in which the heart needs to pump more blood to the rest of the body in order to provide your organs and muscles with more oxygen and as a consequence resulting in greater caloric expenditure.
Even though I may not be able to attend Bikram Yoga as often as I would like, when I have attended, I definitely feel the difference. After a few sessions, I can instantly feel that my posture has improved, I walk straighter and feel much more flexible. In my opinion, these benefits can be extremely beneficial to everybody, but more so in particular to tennis players because we have a bad reputation of having poor flexibility. If that is not enough to get you to try Bikram Yoga, the feeling of peace and serenity I get after a session is well worth it. Maybe soon I will also start to crave some kale and Quinoa…. hey, you never know!