Bikram yoga poses: A quick look at the 26 postures and their health benefits

bikramyogaposesWhat do you expect from a yoga class? Do you want to keep things fresh with a routine that varies poses a lot and switches things up every time? Or are you looking for a structured practice that consistently follows the same routine so you know what you are getting and what it is designed to do.

Different types of yoga, as they are practiced today, have varying perspectives on how to approach the instruction, and Bikram is one style that is meant to be followed precisely. The approach consists of 26 poses that are traditionally meant to be completed twice in a ninety minute session. This, if you did not already know, is to take place in a room heated to a temperature of at least 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can get an introduction to Bikram yoga and decide whether it is the right choice for you in an introductory yoga course covering the various styles. Here, we will investigate the 26 Bikram yoga poses and what they are designed to do for you. The chart below shows you each pose, and a brief description of each follows.

1. Standing deep breathing pose

The first pose you undertake in the Bikram yoga routine is designed to get you focused on breathing, get your blood circulating, and your mind calm and aware. With repeat practice, it will help you expand your lungs and breathe more fully.

2. Half Moon Pose

As part of your routine, the half-moon pose is designed to further increase circulation, get you energized, and strengthen your muscles. On its own it also has a number of long term health benefits, including strengthened muscles in your thighs and calves and reduction of low back pain.  Note that if reduction of back pain is a goal for you, you can also take a course specifically designed to support your back and neck health.

3. Awkward Pose

Awkward pose is essentially a partial kneeling position, where you will balance on the balls of your feet. It is designed for toning and shaping your legs. It is also highly beneficial for alleviating symptoms of arthritis.

4. Eagle Pose

Eagle pose is a standing pose that helps build flexibility, especially in your hips, knees, and ankles.  It is also a great posture for reproductive health. If you are looking for yoga instruction that will benefit you during pregnancy,you might also look in to an online course in pre-natal yoga.

5. Standing Head to Knee pose

The way this pose is performed is clear by its description. Practitioners stand balanced on the left foot with the left leg pulled forward and the head brought toward the knee. It provides benefits of flexibility in the sciatic nerves and strength to the back, biceps and triceps.

6. Standing Bow Pose

This pose requires great balance, with students balancing on one leg, with the rest of the body forming a bow position. In addition to improving balance, this pose is designed to improve concentration and determination, and it helps strengthen the spine.

7. Balancing Stick

Similar to the standing bow pose, the balancing stick pose is completed by balancing on one leg.  With this position, however, students will extend from their toes to their fingers in a straight, stick-like position, essentially forming a T-shape. It’s benefits are similar to standing bow pose and it continues to improve circulation.

8. Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose

This pose begins from a standing position, and the practitioner will spread their legs apart while bringing their head downward to the floor, extending as far as possible.  It is particularly helpful for the sciatic nerve, and it also provides benefits to the internal organs and spine.

9. Triangle Pose

A pose with widespread benefits for your bones, muscles, joints, and tendons, the triangle pose also has a restorative effect on your nerves, tissues, and veins. Some students take on a yoga practice specifically for restorative benefits like these. And if this is the case for you, you might take interest in a course on Yin Yoga for restorative health.

10. Standing Separate Leg Head-to-Knee Pose

Another pose with many restorative benefits, the standing separate leg head-to-knee pose also strengthens abdominal and leg muscles and provides a number of all around health benefits.

11. Tree Pose

A good pose to improve your posture and your patience. The tree pose also increases flexibility in your lower body, and it can help prevent hernia by strengthening the oblique muscles.

12. Toe Stand pose

Designed for improving your balance and honing your concentration, this pose also helps alleviate gout, rheumatism of the knees, and hemorrhoid problems.

13. Corpse pose

A restful pose for relaxation, the corpse pose restores circulation at halfway through the Bikram series of poses. This pose is used in many toga courses, and it can be a helpful part of a restorative routine.

14. Wind Removing Pose

If you are looking for a pose to help with abdominal discomfort, this one is designed for that purpose. Also good for flexibility in the hips.

15. Sit up

This pose uses the familiar upward position of a sit up to increase flexibility in your spine and draw strength to your abdomen.

16. Cobra pose

Poised like a snake preparing to strike, you can get a lot from perfecting this position. Among it’s benefits are increased spinal strength, reduced lower back pain, relief of menstrual problems, alleviation of loss of appetite, and better concentration.

17. Locust pose

Serving many of the same purposes targeted with the cobra pose, the locust pose can also help cuer tennis elbow; firm your muscles in the hips, buttocks, and legs; and build your core strength, among others.

18. Full locust pose

Continuing the work of the standing bow pose and the cobra pose, full locust is also unique in helping improve the functioning of your liver and spleen.  This can also make it a good addition to a yoga routine for detox and cleansing the body.  If this is an interest, you can try an online course in yoga for detox and empowerment.

19. Bow pose

You can tell by looking at someone in the bow pose that the spine is getting a good workout. In addition to this, bow pose serves many purposes, and a prominent one is that it improves oxygen intake by opening up the rib cage.

20. Fixed firm pose

For a lot of ailments that cause sore muscles, bones, and joints, fixed-firm pose is a yoga prescription. Particularly if you have a bad knee, this is a good one for you.

21. Half tortoise pose

The half-tortoise pose is unique among items on this list in that it is particularly good for regulating the sleep-wake cycle.  It helps in this area because it stimulates the pituitary gland. You may realize that people suffering from sleep disorders do yoga to aid them in this. If you count yourself among this group, you can try a course in yoga to help cure insomnia.

22. Camel pose

Another position that relieves back pain and promotes health for the nervous system, the camel pose is also good for weight loss efforts, and it helps cure constipation.

23. Rabbit pose

The rabbit pose is a good one to demonstrate why Bikram yoga is done in a precise order.  It is designed to balance the spine following the previous camel pose, and so it is meant to accompany that pose directly after.  It also prepares the body for the final poses, and on its own, helps relieve sinus-related problems on top of other benefits.

24. and 25. Head to knee pose with stretching pose

Grouped together in one process, these two poses help with your metabolism and balancing your blood sugar levels. They also provide a number of internal benefits in your body.

26. Spine twisting pose

The final pose balances the equilibrium and generally gives a well rounded benefit to many parts of your body as you end the routine.

Hopefully, these explanations give you a good overview and help you understand the logic behind the Bikram yoga approach. Even with its strict method, this form of yoga is enjoying off-the-charts popularity and bringing health to many students. Join in, and get started today.