Words by Craig…if you wonder what is the Bikram Yoga Methodology…let the master Villani tell you the story…

Words by Craig…if you wonder what is the Bikram Yoga Methodology…let the master Villani tell you the story…

ImageBIKRAM YOGA

The primary philosophy underlying the development and growth of Bikram
Yoga is to make the traditional practice of therapeutic hatha yoga accessible
to seven billion people worldwide. Created by Yogiraj Bikram Choudhury as
a practical distillation of the classical eighty-four postures maintained through
oral transmission and recorded by the Vedic sage Patanjali, Bikram’s method of
hatha yoga stands as an established, structured and foundational approach to
balance the modern bodymind.
The ninety minute, twenty-six posture sequence
is specifically designed to stimulate each organ, gland, muscle and system of the
human body, forming a comprehensive system of practical health maintenance
and disease prevention. Practicing Bikram Yoga intelligently and consistently
has been shown to reverse the negative effects of aging, regulate metabolism,
reduce the perception and impact of stress and strain, and substantially aid in
the cure of chronic disease for many practitioners. Each posture in the Bikram
Method sequentially prepares the practitioner for the next, with the overall
effectiveness of the series relating directly to this scientifically comprehensive
and systematic approach.

Instructed from a very early age in the practice of the traditional eighty-four
asanas from which many modern styles are believed to derive, Bikram won the
prestigious All-India Hatha Yoga Asana Championships for three consecutive
years under the guidance of his Guru and famed physical culturist Bishnu
Ghosh, youngest brother and life-long disciple of Self-Realization Fellowship and
Kriya Yoga founder Paramahansa Yogananda. Ghosh instructed Bikram in the
therapeutic application of yoga asana as a time-honored and effective form of
natural healing, and has stated that “Yoga maintains youth. It keeps the body full
of vitality, immune to disease, even at old, old age. Where medical science stops,
there the science of yoga begins.”

Bikram started teaching at age six to ultimately developed his unique sequence
of twenty-six postures and two breathing exercises for the widespread promotion
of overall health. The primary sequence expresses what he believes to be
the most essential combination of postures from the extensive wealth of all
yogasana, for the benefit of all.

Classical yoga asanas were originally developed with the intention of holistic
integration to transform all bodily systems by addressing their energetic roots.
Hatha yoga, when practiced properly, should not damage the body. The primary
focus of true hatha yoga is to heal and maintain the physical body through
balancing the latent potential for strength and flexibility, ultimately leading to the
experience of a happier, healthier life. After all, the motivation underlying the
practice of asana is for the aspirant to receive the unique physical, mental and
emotional benefits associated with the expression of each posture. Those who

insist upon seeing the posture as the object of their practice may needlessly
continue to injure their bodies for the sake of performance. In competently led
Bikram Yoga classes, the emphasis is placed upon the healing benefits attained
by achieving depth of expression relative to proper application of form and
breath. Thus, the posture is never seen as the object- the body is the object.

Using the physical body as the template for unlocking the secrets of the subtle
anatomy, the Bikram Method supports the conscious integration of raja yoga, the
yoga of mind, into the physical practice. The five classical steps that outline the
continuous process for regaining control of the mind are woven into the fabric of
the classroom experience:

1. Faith

2. Self-control or moral discipline

3. Determination or will-power

4. Concentration

5. Patience

When practicing Bikram Yoga under ideal conditions, the room should be
evenly heated up to 105° Fahrenheit, relative to humidity levels. Those who
question the role that external heat plays in the practice may concede that yoga
was developed in southern India, a country and region that sustains relatively
high temperatures year-round. In order to mimic that intended environment for
beginners who have quite possibly never touched their toes or attempted a single
backward bend, adequate external heat can be viewed as essential. The heated
room initially serves to prevent injury until the practitioners learn to generate
their own internal heat and gradually come to welcome the warm environment
as a tool for accessing flexibility and deepening an awareness of breath. Beyond
the obvious physical implications, environmental heat acts as a powerful and
tangible psychological force that compels students of all levels to overcome
their perceived attachment to external distractions. This enhances the practice
of meditation, considered the primary vehicle for Self-realization when properly
supported by the science of hatha yoga as described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

While conducting a proper Bikram Yoga class, qualified instructors continuously
utilize a complex, comprehensive and distinct set of verbal instructions to guide
students through the complete series of twenty-six postures and two breathing
exercises. This Bikram Yoga Teaching Dialogue serves to effectively describe
and relate essential elements of the physical practice within the series, including
what to do, how to do it, and the effect of what you are doing on the body.
Through The Dialogue, the instructor verbally engages the rational and operative
mind of the students, better enabling them to direct their attention inward for
much of the rigorous ninety-minute meditation. Concentration, meditation
and awareness of breath – these are the fundamental skills that are to be
continuously evolved and applied through the mindful practice of Bikram Yoga.

Although designed primarily for beginners, many advanced practitioners rely on
the ninety-minute class as a challenging foundation upon which they continue
to support and build many aspects of their Self-development. As Bikram is fond
of saying, “In this class, we’re all beginners – it’s never too late, it’s never too
bad, you’re never too old and never too sick to start from scratch once again.”
For those aspirants seeking additional challenges, Bikram teaches the original
eighty-four posture series as an advanced class to his qualified instructors and a
few select students.

All certified instructors are personally trained by Bikram through his Intensive
Teacher Training Course held near the International Headquarters of Bikram’s
Yoga College of India in Los Angeles, California.

-Originally written for Yogi Times Magazine by Craig Villani

– See more at: http://manaliving.com/words/#sthash.gBwtLeVE.dpuf

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