A Deeper Look: Bikram Yoga or “Hot Yoga”, Let’s Sweat it Out! | Bikram Asanas

by | Holistic Health, Yoga

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Bikram Yoga:

Have you experienced the sensation of entering a sauna and enjoy the benefits? Do you enjoy yoga? If so, Bikram yoga or another style of “hot” yoga may be something you’re missing out on. Bikram yoga, specifically, is a style always completed in a heated environment. In fact, to many, it is a therapeutic style of yoga. Bikram yoga was conceived by Bikram Choudhury, a student of Bishnu Hosh, brother of Paramahansa Yogananda, and later a yoga teacher.

Made more popular in the 1970’s, Bikram yoga consists of a sequence of 26 postures (Bikram yoga asanas). Oftentimes, accompanied by 2 breathing exercises. The duration of a traditional class is about 90 minutes. There are many styles of yoga that attempt to mimic the benefits of Bikram yoga, by simply performing that particular style in a heated environment. For example, Power Yoga, and some Vinyasa Flow classes. Nevertheless, just adding heat does not necessarily equal the same benefits you may obtain from a traditional Bikram yoga session.

bikram yoga or hot yoga

Potential Benefits Of the Practice:

Each style of yoga is different. The potential underlying benefits from each style can also vary. Oftentimes, yoga can be modified, or certain styles fit lifestyles and individual goals, better then others. Bikram yoga, has precise movements or sequences, as well as specific teachings, and principles, that make Bikram different then other styles.

In fact, many of the poses are derived from more classic hatha poses. The thought behind the systematical sequences, is to move oxygen rich blood to every part of the body. Poses you’ll find include;

  • Half-Moon Pose
  • Eagle Pose
  • Triangle Pose
  • Tree pose & more.

Bikram yoga, to some, may seem like a slightly longer variant of a traditional Sun Salutation. Some may view it as just a sequence of postures. However, there is more to Bikram then this.

Interesting Finds:

Bikram yoga is practiced in a heated room (or other environment) at the temperature of 40 ° C. The heat, in fact, may help provide lucrative mind-body benefits. In general, Bikram yoga may to help “improve lower body strength, lower and upper body range of motion, and balance“.

There has also been some evidence of Bikram yoga’s ability to help “improve glucose tolerance, bone mineral density…..mindfulness, and perceived stress“.

Short term Bikram yoga has shown evidence to effect physical health as well. For example, as it relates to strength, flexibility, and lowering body fat. Thus, having a positive effect on musculoskeletal health. A study out of Colorado State University concluded a session of Bikram yoga averaged 460 calories burned for men, and 330 for women.

Many have also touted it’s benefits as they relate to;

How A Bikram Yoga Class Takes Place & Safety Tips:

A Bikram yoga class, lasting about 90 minutes, begins with some breathing exercises. Also known as Pranayama. Thus, helping to warm-up the body. Then, proceeds with a series of standing postures for realignment, compression and balance. Postures then take place on the ground, consisting of numerous arches and forward bends. Specifically, helping to strengthen and stretch the back and vertebral column.

5 Important Safety Tips:

  • Stay Hydrated before and after a class.
  • Use a non-slip yoga mat.
  • As a beginner, watch a video of some of the poses, prior to a class.
  • Wear appropriate gear.
  • If you’re unsure a heated environment is safe for you personally, consult with your Doctor.

Bikram Yoga Asanas:

Although opinions may differ from person to person, here are 5 basic Bikram asanas. These can give you a glimpse as to what you may expect in a typical class.

Keep in mind, these are just 5 of the 26 poses. During your sessions, especially if you’re relatively new to the practice, be patient and practical. Some maneuvers may be new to you, or challenging. Some asanas you’ve likely seen and completed before. Its okay to take things slow, further challenging your body and mind over time.

Crescent Moon – (Urdhva Hastasana ):

This position allows you to work on your abs, waist and back by strengthening them and improving the flexibility of the spine.


  • Begin, legs together;
  • Then, raise the arms above the head;
  • Place the palms together and slowly flex the torso to the right;
  • Then, to the left.

Awkward Pose – (Utktatasana):

awkward yoga pose

One of the goals of this asana is to strengthen the legs.


  • Standing with the legs hip-width apart;
  • Come down with the buttocks by bending the legs and keeping your balance on your toes;
  • Thighs should be almost parallel to the floor;
  • Once low to the ground, bring your arms up;
  • Then, breath for 5-10 cycles.

Seated Forward Bend – (Paschimottanasana):

seated forward fold or bend yoga pose


This pose helps establish length to your spine and improve flexibility.


  • Firstly, begin seated on the mat, legs in front;
  • With the flexed feet: raise your arms in front of you;
  • Bend at the hips, descending down, extending the arms towards the feet;
  • Attempt to reach your hands to your toes.


Half Moon Pose – (Ardha Chandrasana):

half moon yoga pose


  • As you inhale, lean forward slightly with your torso, bringing your right hand to the mat;
  • Simultaneously, raise the left leg by rotating the pelvis upwards and keeping active legs;
  • The arms are perpendicular to the floor;
  • The head rotates towards the left arm;
  • The weight of the body is not on the right hand but in perfect balance and distributed between the right leg rooted to the ground and the left leg pushing back.
  • The abdominals are active as well as the pelvic floor.

We can use variations to simplify the asana. For example, using a brick under the hand.

Eagle Pose – (Guradasan):

eagle yoga pose


  • Begin in Tadasana, (mountain position);
  • Bend the left leg and then slowly lift the foot off the ground;
  • Once you have found stability on the supporting foot, cross the left leg over the right thigh;
  • Finally, try to hook the left foot behind the calf of the other leg;
  • Extend your arms in front of you, bend your elbows 90 degrees so that your forearms are parallel to your chest.
  • Cross your arms putting the support leg as the highest arm.
  • Breathe deeply. Attempt to increase the dwell time, each time.

Final thoughts!

Bikram yoga is incredible to help you work on your body, while disconnecting and reprograming your mind, helping live your best life! Yoga can truly have an awesome short, and long term effect on both.

Always listen to your body when performing Bikram yoga asanas and while practicing hot yoga of any form.


Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you use them to purchase items, then we may earn a small commission. Hope you find something that you like!
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