Consisting of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises, Bikram Yoga positions focuses on 100% of the human body, working from the inside out. The 26 Bikram yoga poses invigorate by stimulating the organs, glands, and nerves; each pose helping to move fresh oxygen through the body. Continued practice of the Bikram poses strengthens, heals, and balances the human body while preventing future illness and injury. Best of all, this beginning series is suitable for yogis of any shape and size, at any age. “Within you and nearly every human being lie hidden forces and latent power. It is for you to bring out this latent power and become your real self and then you will compel success on any path you take interest in.” -Bishnu Charan Ghosh
While yoga has been a known practice for thousands of years in many parts of the Eastern world, it has just started to become a widely practiced phenomenon in the Western world in the last decade or so.
Today, there are numerous yoga styles out there, as many teachers who personally identified with it, evolved it into their own version. And while the names may be different, in essence and at its core, yoga is yoga. The differences are apparent in the pace it is done at, the sequence of postures, and the environment it is done in. Thus, there is a yoga style that is sure to please everyone.
My personal experience with yoga has been dabbling in some poses from time to time, informally at home. That was until I was recommended to try Moksha Yoga.
While the poses may be similar to many other yoga types, what separates Moksha Yoga from the rest, is that it is done in the heat and with a specific style that follows a very beneficial sequence for a total mind, body and soul health experience.
Thus, as this month Evolving Wellness hosts a special theme on the practice, exercise and benefits of yoga, in this article I will share with you my experience with Moksha Yoga and the tremendous benefits associated with it.
The History of Moksha Yoga
Moksha Yoga is a form of hot yoga that was created by Ted Grand and Jessica Robertson in 2003.
The vision of the above two individuals, who were both well trained in yoga, has since grown into a worldwide community with classes in Hong Kong, Taipei, England, Trinidad, Singapore, Thailand and across Canada and the USA. See here for Moksha Yoga world locations.
Moksha Yoga includes a group of independent hot yoga studios committed to ethical, compassionate and environmentally conscious living. The Moksha community is strongly rooted in environmentalism. Each studio is required to meet compulsory environmental standards. Collectively they strive to communicate that the benefits of yoga are limitless and accessible to all.
Moksha means “release” or “liberation.” It is with this message that each class takes you through a series of strengthening and toning postures in the detoxifying calm of a heated studio. The yoga is done usually in an environment of about 40 degrees Celsius, and a humidity ranging around 30-50%.
Moksha Yoga studios offer “Karma Classes” which are done on a donation basis, they also offer an “Energy Exchange” program where time volunteered at the studio allows for unlimited yoga and many special events. Each Moksha teacher undergoes rigorous training that is being acclaimed worldwide.
Moksha Yoga has also developed a partnership with the Arthritis & Autoimmunity Research Centre Foundation to develop a national campaign entitled, “The Power of Movement.”
My History With Moksha Yoga
In expressing a desire to begin to practice yoga regularly, I was recommended by a friend to check out Moksha Yoga. Knowing very little about yoga, I just thought it was the name of a particular yoga studio, not realizing that it is an amazing Canadian-based yoga company that is growing in reputation and popularity by the day, world wide.
I heard about it in March, and sadly it took me until the end of November to try my first class. I have been hooked on it ever since however, making it almost 6 months straight of practicing Moksha Yoga, on average 3 times per week.
My only “regret“, is not having started sooner, as I am now moving out of the area, and moving to an area where there is no Moksha Yoga studio nearby. However, wherever I travel I will always keep an eye out for Moksha studios, to do a class whenever I can. I trust and love what they stand for, and it just feels SO good!
The studio I had the pleasure of attending was the Moksha Yoga Burlington location, and its energy was just phenomenal! From the owners to all the teachers I had the pleasure of meeting, it is perhaps one of best experiences one can have when tuning the mind, body and soul. A beautiful environment, for a beautiful practice.
Over these past 6 months, it has been absolutely incredible watching my body transform, as I activate and tone muscles I almost never knew I had. The relaxation, flexibility and detoxification benefits have also been amazing!
With any hot yoga studio, one has to consider the cleanliness and sanitary conditions. This is where Moksha also excels, as they have every detail covered. From sustainable cork flooring to triple filtered water. There are no carpets or other similar materials, which is extremely important when the temperatures are turned up and sweat is literally pouring into it daily. There are also no chemicals used, whether for cleaning or other tasks and most studios run on Bullfrog Power – 100% green electricity.
Being a “green” oriented line of studios was also an important aspect for me, as today I choose to support with every decision I make and dollar I spend, companies that have the environment and sustainability in mind. I was thoroughly impressed with how the Moksha studios operate on every level!
The Benefits of Moksha Yoga
The benefits of hot yoga are numerous, and perhaps too many to list here, so I will just outline some of the major ones.oksha
First, there is of course the actual benefits of yoga. Whether done in the heat or under regular temperatures, the postures work to enhance the balance, tone, endurance, flexibility and strength of the body. In the heat, this happens even better, as the muscles are warmer and thus allow for a greater range of motion.
Yoga also has incredibly relaxing properties, teaching us how to breathe properly, slow down our thoughts and merge closer with the core of our being. Thus, it is a true treat for the mind and soul!
Secondly, as there is an immense amount of heat, sweating is inevitable. This provides for an incredible and very necessary detoxification. Proper breathing alongside this, also accelerates the release of toxins from within our body. The lymphatic system is stimulated and the immune system enhanced. There is also the added benefit of sweating and burning calories, which can result in weight loss.
There are also of course, as with any physical movement cardiovascular benefits. Movement, muscle use and proper breathing strengthen the heart and enhance many aspects of our cardiovascular system.
Moksha yoga is extremely beneficial for the musculo-skeletal system. Whether you have back pain, muscle weakness, or bone loss, the variety and type of postures can promote healing and necessary strengthening. Ultimately, it provides for an amazing, total body workout.
Moksha Yoga has also been acknowledged for improving sleep, increasing energy levels and simply promoting a better overall feeling.
Lastly, Moksha Yoga provides for numerous other physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits. Which benefits you experience, will depend on your personal needs. You can read about more of the benefits associated with Moksha Yoga here.
In the end if you have never tried yoga, and are still wondering what all the hype is about out there, I invite you to check out a yoga studio near you. Allow yourself to walk in with an open mind and heart, and feel the benefits that it has for you on so many different levels.
If of course you are lucky enough to have a Moksha Yoga studio in your area, and are open to trying yoga the hot way, immerse yourself in its benefits for your health and vitality today, and all your tomorrows to come.
No matter where I am, Moksha Yoga will always be a part of me!
There are the classic do’s and don’ts that every hot room newbie hears, as they nervously prepare for their first class. It’s usually about setting up, drinking water and where to leave their sweaty rental towel.
But the practice of Bikram yoga is full of subtleties that I wish I had known when I got started. Here are just a few of them:
~ Sweat is sexy. I know you think it’s gross. But it’s so not. Sweat means passion. Dedication. Hard work. Health. It’s hot. Seriously.
~ Don’t worry about getting into better shape or getting more flexible before you come to your first class. We were all kinds of broken down messes when we first came. Fitness and flexibility come from going to class. Just start where you are.
~ Don’t set up in the front row on your first class, but stagger your mat so that you…
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It’s summer, it is hot and therefore more during the hot yoga practice. It has often been used to adopt a minimalist attitude by wearing shorts to feel lighter but here are several reasons to stay in capris:
1 – Absorbs sweat: if puddles of sweat form on the carpet, then it can become slippery, and you may go deeper into your poses while your muscles are not ready or even fall.
2 – Give the grip: there are poses such as the tree where a body part is supported on the leg. The fabric of your pants will provide adhesion to achieve greater success.
3 – Guard covered: the baggy shorts are fine but they can offer a view of your “assets” at any time when you raise your leg. If you opt for small tight shorts, they can move and show more flesh than you would like.
Everyone has their preferences for hot yoga clothing, but the wearing of pants will not give you warmer than wearing shorts while preventing injuries. So pants are a safer choice!
You can find the accessories required for the practice for rent at Yoga studio. It is available at lower cost (about $ 2): towels, mattresses, water bottles. Personally I prefer to get my stuff and if you forget one of them, the renting is perfect.
It is advisable not to wear jewelry or perfume and it’s better to be dressed with a light and comfortable tank top, a shirt, pants or shorts. The shoes will be left at the entrance of the studio.
After practice, you will find everything in the locker room to freshen up, a shower, some body cream, a hairbrush …. so no excuses, just take your matt!
Practicing Hot Yoga helps to maintain good health and its benefits are many:
- Relieves back pain, headaches, muscle and joint aches : reduces symptoms of chronic diseases
- Improves posture and alignment of the spine
- Also improves the circulation of fluids
- Allows rapid removal of toxins through sweating and rapid elimination of fats
- Harmonizes the functioning of organs and body systems
- Prevents disease by strengthening the immune system
- Reduces stress
- Limits the effects of aging
- Tones the muscles
- Refines the silhouette
- Reinforces self-confidence
Maybe have you asked yourself: “What type of hot yoga do I practice?” or “What is the difference between Bikram yoga and Moksha yoga ?”. Here is the answer!
WHAT IS BIKRAM YOGA?
Le yoga Bikram est un style de yoga dérivé du Hatha yoga. Si vous avez la curiosité de l’essayer, il est préférable que vous cherchiez à suivre un cours certifié proche de chez vous ou si vous êtes casanier, un livre ou une vidéo qui vous aidera progressivement à plonger dans le monde du Bikram.
Bikram yoga is a style of yoga derived from Hatha yoga. If you are curious to try it, it is preferable that you follow a certified course near you or if you are a homebody, a book or video that will help you gradually into the world of Bikram.
Bikram Choudhury was born in India where he used to practice yoga every day until he immigrated to the U.S. in the 70s. He then joined the “Yoga College of India” in Los Angeles and decided to create its own form of yoga now more commonly known as Bikram yoga. Today, Choudhury goes around the world and teach Bikram yoga to individuals as well as famous huge classes. You can also find his writings in a book on Bikram yoga and more than 400 franchise schools located around the globe.
A Bikram yoga class is designed to help us evolve through a sequence of 26 positions developed by Choudhury. Choudhury developed this series of positions in order to increase blood pressure and facilitating the flow of blood in each body part. The sequence is performed using the classical positions of Hatha yoga such as the position of the eagle, the triangle or the tree. Choudhury claims that the practice of these positions in a specific order will warm and stretch muscles, ligaments and tendons and will facilitate muscle tone as well as overall health.
A classic Bikram yoga session is practiced in a room heated to 101 Fahrenheit degrees. Choudhury said that the heat from the room helps to warm the body before the start of practice, this allowing our muscles to relax and become more flexible. Bikram yoga enthusiasts acknowledge that the practice in a heated room helps cleanse our system by releasing all the toxins gradually as you train and then sweats. The heated room must allow you to work more deeply, however be careful of not hurting yourself!
Bikram yoga classes are given only in studios affiliated with the “Bikram Yoga College of India“. You must be careful that the Bikram Yoga teacher is certified by the college. All Bikram yoga class lasts for 90 minutes and is suitable for both beginners and enthusiasts. Then each adapts to his own abilities and level of comfort.
WHAT IS MOKSHA YOGA?
Moksha Yoga is a relatively new discipline which is also related to hot yoga. This is two yoga instructors in Toronto who invented it. Moksha Yoga is a series of 40 postures practiced in a heated room and there are three levels of lessons, each lasting 60 to 90 minutes.
The series of regular postures begin with a resting pose that is practiced usually at the end of yoga, relaxation posture savasana. Then there are standing poses, another posture savasana, then poses on the ground to strengthen and stretch the muscles of the lower body. The session ends with savasana posture. By cons there may be some variation in the order of the series standing and / or on the ground. This type of yoga has several “dog upside down” postures, while Bikram yoga hasn’t.
Like other types of yoga, Moksha Yoga is beneficial for stretching and toning muscles, improving flexibility, calming the mind and detoxifying the body.
Moksha Yoga, in addition to individual benefits it can bring, is a practice that was designed for the sake of social consciousness : building ecological studios, assistance to the local community.
Moksha Yoga is a bit more flexible with regard to the sequence changes, the different types of courses and durations of training. So you can find yourself with different Moksha yoga lessons according to the teacher.
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Moksha Yoga: A Hot Path To Great Health And Vitality – Evolving Wellness
The term “hot yoga” is used to represent any form of yoga practiced in a heated room. The room should generally be maintained at a temperature between 95 and 105 Fahrenheit degrees. Some studios even go beyond the average. In most cases, “hot yoga” is a quick series of postures “asanas” dictated by the teacher. As you can imagine, an intense session of yoga performed under high temperature warms up, stretches the ligaments and muscles and makes you sweat profusely. That said, it’s worth it!