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Hot in Cleveland: Bikram Yoga

By Ashley Ammond

February 2, 2011

The need for relaxation among busy, overloaded Americans has created a cry for help in recent years. The latest trend among American college students is the ancient practice of yoga.

This past week, I attended a Bikram yoga class at the only Bikram yoga studio in Northeast Ohio. The studio is located on Fairmount Blvd. in Shaker Heights.
Students who don’t have access to cars could easily find transportation if they make the best of the U-Pass that comes with tuition.

Yoga originated in East India hundreds of years ago and continues to grow in popularity. There are several different versions of the yoga practice, including an up-and-coming version, Bikram yoga.

This type of yoga, much like the other versions, is made up of different postures, with the purpose to clear the mind, body and soul.

Though yoga is popular among younger adults, it was not intended simply for one age group. The ancient Indian exercise can be beneficial for different age groups and genders. Some yoga classes are designed specifically for older adults, while others focus on the needs for women who are pregnant. Bikram yoga is a style of yoga that is mostly intended for adult men and women.

A typical Bikram yoga session consists of 26 different postures to slowly stretch the muscles and two different breathing patterns to encourage holding the posture, as well as using one’s oxygen supply adequately. Unlike other yoga sessions, this style of yoga is 90 minutes long and takes place in a room heated to a hot 105 degrees and consists of 40 percent humidity.

This type of heat may seem unbearable to sit through, but the benefits from this hot room outweigh the negatives. Bikram yoga is said to help flush away the negative toxins from the body.

In addition to cleansing the body, these exercises are known to benefit many health problems, including arthritis, thyroid issues and the more popular, back pain, to provide you, the yogi, with optimum health satisfaction.

Bikram yoga was created over 30 years ago when it’s creator, Bikram Choudhury, was in a lifting accident which injured his knee.

The doctors believed his likelihood to walk again was slim. Bikram decided to try his own healing regimen, leading to Bikram yoga.

You may think this type of thing isn’t for you, but Bikram Choudhury said, “It’s never too late, it’s never too bad, and you’re never too old or sick to start from scratch again.”

Each class burns up to 700 calories and is said to show improvements in just a week’s time. The studio suggests each person bring a yoga mat, beach towel and water bottle. After taking the class a couple of times, I would suggests each person bring those things, in addition to an extra towel. The room is 105 degrees; trust me, you’ll need it.

I also suggests drinking a lot of water before you go. It’s normal to feel lightheaded and a little dizzy during the first class, but keeping hydrated is extremely important.
Lucky for those who are interested, Bikram Yoga Cleveland offers a $12 student drop-in fee, and for those of you new to the world of yoga, you can try two weeks of unlimited Bikram yoga for $40.

It may seem like a lot, but for those looking to get into shape, it’s well worth it.
Yoga is not solely intended for those who look to benefit the body; it also creates a sense of balance and mental clarity. However, after attending only three Bikram classes,

I highly recommend trying this version of yoga.
If you’re interested in finding out more about this up-and-coming trend, visit BikramCle.com.