If you have never tried Bikram yoga before, it might be the perfect time to start. While everyone else is fighting traffic at shopping malls and trying to find the best online deals for more gadgets that they don’t really need, you can head to your local Bikram yoga studio and get a jump on the holiday bulge, a tendency to gain weight over Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, New Year’s and other winter holidays where people tend to gather and graze.
Bikram Yoga to Sweat Off the Candy Canes and Gingerbread Houses
If you are already practicing Bikram yoga, you know that it tends to raise your heart rate considerably, and due to the high level of heat (105 degrees) and humidity (40%) in the room where it is practiced, you will definitely sweat out the toxins in the body, whether they got there from increased Cortisol and Adrenaline levels due to the added stress which is common during holiday times, or because you ate too many Christmas cookies at Grandma’s house.
Bikram Yoga to Reset Your Nervous System
Practicing Bikram Yoga can also help you to burn off excess mental steam and reduce the sympathetic nervous system’s tendency to go into fight or flight mode. This response is already over active in most of us. We exist in a low-level stress pattern almost every day. When the holidays come along, this means our parasympathetic nervous system needs a break. The breathing exercises and 26 postures practiced during Bikram yoga can help relax the body and mind, and allow frazzled nerves to restore themselves. While Bikram yoga is more taxing on the body than other types of yoga, like restorative or yin yoga, it can also help work you into submission. If you are physically challenged to your capacity, the mind is more likely to calm down.
Be Smarter Than the Other Holiday Crazies
When Pranayama is practiced, it increases oxygen levels in the body, which means your brain can work with more agility. This means you can think ‘outside the box.’ Do you have to brave the crowds at the shopping mall after all? No worries, you’ll figure out a time to go when it is less crowded or find parking in lesser-known places due to your more highly oxygenated brain.
Bikram Yoga to Warm Yourself Up During the Cold Winter Season
While hypothermia can be a problem for some people who practice Bikram yoga, especially in the summer months, it can be a welcome way to warm the blood and bones during a cold and windy season. If you do happen to feel overheated in a class, be sure to lie down on your mat and take deep breaths. Some Bikram studios prefer you not to leave the room, but if you must, you can excuse yourself and cool off. Be sure to hydrate plenty, well prior to practicing a Bikram yoga class, so that dehydration does not ensue. Otherwise, enjoy the delightfully warm room when everyone else is freezing their behinds off.
photo: go interactive wellness