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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Bikram yoga heats up

Lisa Beth Earle / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Aric Mokhtarian (white shirt) practices his Bikram yoga during a class on Sunday, Oct. 25 at Bikrams Yoga College of India. The studio, located on Oracle and Orange Grove, is dedicated to teaching Bikram Yoga in its friendly and healthy environment.
Lisa Beth Earle
Lisa Beth Earle / Arizona Daily Wildcat Aric Mokhtarian (white shirt) practices his Bikram yoga during a class on Sunday, Oct. 25 at Bikram’s Yoga College of India. The studio, located on Oracle and Orange Grove, is dedicated to teaching Bikram Yoga in its friendly and healthy environment.

An instructor says, “”get into ‘triangle pose,'”” and 20 bodies lift one arm above their heads while lifting their back legs into the air, leaving the other half of their bodies crouched to the floor. The room is 105 degrees and humid.

For 90 minutes, drenched bodies create a luminous glow of sweat, during what has become a popular form of exercise and a therapeutic activity for UA students known as Bikram yoga or “”hot yoga.””

Dana Becker, a pre-business junior and certified yoga instructor, spent 200 hours becoming certified to teach yoga classes, learning “”pretty much everything there is to know about yoga,”” she said.

The distinguishing characteristic of Bikram yoga, Becker said, is that it mainly sticks to the same sequence of 26 positions and two breathing exercises while other forms of yoga vary in positions and routines. 

“”I think Bikram is definitely on the rise,”” said Dana Wimpfheimer, a psychology freshman, who has been doing yoga for about two years and said she has a lot of friends who practice it.

Wimpfheimer started doing Bikram a few months ago and said while she enjoys it now, though the first class was a different story.

The first time she tried Bikram she had to take several breaks, as the class was “”a lot to handle for the first time,”” she said. 

It is important to know your own body and limit, she said, adding that people who do not have experience with yoga have a more difficult time adjusting to the heat factor.

“”It’s all about breathing and drinking a lot of water, before, during and after,”” Wimfheimer said, “”I love it.””

Nevertheless, some students said they are hesitant about the potential negative health affects of the rigorous exercise.

Lauren Marino, an education junior, has taken yoga classes and said that she is hesitant to try Bikram yoga because she is afraid of the effects it might have on her body.

“”It just seems like a lot of stress on the body for 90 minutes, I don’t want to get sick,”” Marino said.

Thinking about the heat level makes her feel uncomfortable and she couldn’t imagine actually placing herself in that situation, she said.

The grueling atmosphere is part of what makes Bikram yoga unique, Becker said.

“”It would be impossible to do other forms of yoga with the same heat factor as Bikram,”” she said. “”You would just pass out.””

Becker said that she thinks a 105-degree room is too hot to be in for 90 minutes.

Diane Faircloth and Bob Floyd have owned Bikram’s Yoga College of India, 6261 N. Oracle Road, since 2004. Faircloth said she began practicing Bikram eight years ago after experiencing lower back pains, which have disappeared after several steady years of practice.

“”It’s more common now with chronic joint issues, doctors often will recommend yoga for pain management,”” she said. “”Some people just want to be more flexible, while other people do Bikram for the workout to lose weight.””

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, heat exhaustion is the body’s response to large amounts of water loss, usually through excessive sweating. It also speeds up the dehydration process. Ill effects can be combated by proper hydration, Faircloth said.

“”First class or hundredth class, we recommend people showing up hydrated,”” she said. 

The room is heated to warm the body and the muscles and tissues in order for a person to stretch deeper and become more flexible, she said.

“”For me, one of the most beneficial things is that for 90 minutes you’re not thinking, you’re focused on your breath and postures,”” she said. “”You get to let go of thoughts and concerns and that allows us to release and reduce a lot of stress.””

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