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A couple of the most popular Bikram Yoga poses

By Patrick Drew, updated January, 2014

yogaWhen it comes to exercise and keeping fit and healthy, often people seem to think that jumping on a treadmill or lifting heavy weights is the only way to go. The truth is however, that there are other forms of exercise that, though at first glance may not appear to be that difficult or intense, are actually fantastic at improving physical and mental well-being in a person. Bikram Yoga is a prime example of that. Here we'll be looking at a couple of the most complex and popular poses, their benefits, and how to perform them effectively.

…Fantastic at improving physical and mental well-being…

Bikram Yoga was started by Bikram Choudhury who formed his style primarily from Hatha Yoga. Bikram is characterized by being conducted in specialized training centers, which are pre-heated to 40 degrees C, with a humidity of 40% - this to mimic the climate of his native India. This specificity of the hot temperatures has garnered huge interest with followers of this style of yoga — and has even been the catalyst for a few competitors including "Hot Yoga", which is not the classic Bikram style.

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There are a lot of positive attributes to performing exercise in a hot room — including that one's blood vessels dilate and tissues expand, improving blood flow as well as the distribution of oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout the body. At the same time this increased blood flow to the muscles contributes to better removal of lactic acid and other by-products of muscular exercise.

Utkatansana pose — Though possibly difficult for some to pronounce, the Utkatansana pose, is most certainly one of the most popular Bikram yoga poses you can perform. It's fantastic for warming up your entire body, improving your circulation, toning your muscles, and improving your flexibility and posture. To perform this pose, simply start by:

It's fantastic for warming up your entire body, improving your circulation, toning your muscles, and improving your flexibility and posture…

Squatting down so that your knees are bent at a 45-degree angle, and your hands are outstretched, parallel to the floor.

Next, slowly and precisely begin to lower your hips, until both of your thighs are now parallel to the floor.

Hold this pose for at least a minute, or however long you can manage until it begins to feel uncomfortable.

Slowly make your way back up to an upright position, only this time, ensure that you stand on the tips of your toes. Remain on the tips of your toes, and hold this position for several seconds.

Lower your thighs down so that they're parallel to the floor again, and repeat the entire process.

This time however, when you return to an upright position, don't stand on your toes, and instead, slightly lift your heels upwards from the ground.

When you squat down this time, try to touch your heels with your buttocks.

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The Triangle Pose — This is a fantastic pose for stretching and warming up both sides of your body. Every single joint and tendon in your body will benefit from performing this pose on a regular basis. It helps improve your flexibility, your circulation, your kidneys, your thyroid gland, your adrenal glands, and much more on top of that too. To perform this pose:

Stand upright with both of your feet firmly together, and your arms stretched up over your head, and your palms clasped firmly together.

Whilst doing this, take a large side step with your right leg. The distance between both of your legs should now be around 5 or 6 feet. As soon as your foot hits the floor, slowly move your arms from above your head, and lock your elbows so that they're straight, and now at your sides. They should now make up a line that is parallel to the ground. To get an idea of how this looks, imagine being an airplane.

From here, you next need to push both of your hips in a forwards direction, and then begin to lean backwards with your body at the same time. Your lower back should now be in a slightly curved shape. You will also need to move your arms backwards, keeping them completely parallel to the ground. Next, slightly lift up your chin and your chest towards the sky.

Your right foot will next need to move around 90 degrees, and your right knee will need to be bent so that it is directly over your ankle. Most people tend to make a 90-degree angle shape with their knee to complete this part of the pose.

Bikram is characterized by being conducted in specialized training centers, which are pre-heated to 40 degrees C, with a humidity of 40%…

Push your hips in a forwards direction, and try to bring your torso slightly to the back. Your arms will have been parallel to the ground until this part of the exercise, and now is the time to move them by gently twisting your torso towards your right leg and moving your arms into position. Your right arm should be touching the ground, whilst your left should be fully extended into the air. Make sure that your right arm is in front of your right knee and not behind it.

Next, push your right knee gently with your right arm, until you begin to feel a pronounced stretching sensation in your hips and upper legs. When you experience this sensation, turn your head and look upwards in exactly the same direction as your left hand is pointing.

Up next, you will be required to really stretch both your right and your left arms in their respective directions, until you feel a deep stretch in your shoulders and your chest cavity.

Finally, hold this position for as long as possible, or until told to stop by your instructor, and back track back to the start, and repeat all over again.

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Congratulations, you have just performed one of the most complex and rewarding Bikram Yoga poses there is.



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