Bikram Yoga? Original Hot Yoga? Hot Yoga?
Are you confused yet?
Nowadays, folks are using lots of names to describe the practice of hot yoga. In this industry, names ARE important, because industry standards are at stake.
To clear up any confusion, we’ve answered these frequently asked questions:
Bikram Yoga is now commonly referred to at the Original Hot yoga sequence. Why?
Bikram Yoga, was created by a yogi from India named Bikram Choudhury. He popularized “Bikram” yoga during his teaching in the US (approximately 1980-2015). Since his return to India, Bikram Yoga is now being referred to as the Original Hot Yoga or the Original Hot Yoga 26 + 2 Sequence. Currently, the organization who regulates and sets standards (including approving Original Hot Yoga instructors) throughout the US is the OHYA (Original Hot Yoga Association).
We anticipate that our studio will transition to using “Original Hot Yoga – Bikram Method” to describe our Bikram Yoga classes at some point in the future.
What is the history behind the development of the Original Hot Yoga- Bikram Method?
“Bikram Yoga Beginning Yoga Class”, as it was originally named, was developed and introduced to the United States in the late 1970’s by its founder, Bikram Choudhury. Choudhury worked with his yoga guru, Bishnu Charan Ghosh, to develop the sequence of 2 breathing exercises and 26 postures.
Choudhury also introduced a heated environment to the series to promote detoxification and make the postures more pliable, since warm muscles move and stretch better. In Original Hot Yoga-Bikram Certified studios, the air and temperature quality is carefully monitored.
What is it that students love so much about the Original Hot Yoga-Bikram method compared to generic “hot yoga” classes”?
The benefits derived from the combination of postures, the heated room, and the classical dialog, are widely reported to inspire a dedicated commitment by its students to this lineage of yoga. The sequence is beneficial for the young, old, strong, weak, healthy and sick. It’s design, when executed correctly, has proven to consistently open and heal the body.
If you practice in a heated room, are you always getting the Original Hot Yoga sequence?
No, not necessarily. The only way to practice the Original Hot Yoga-Bikram Method, is from a Certified Original Hot Yoga or Bikram Certified Instructor. It’s the combination of the heated room, the 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises with its specific dialog, and trained Original Hot Yoga-Bikram Method instructors that make this form of yoga so powerful and life-changing.
Why is the dialog used in class virtually the same in every studio around the world?
Choudhury added a teaching dialogue to precisely explain how to set up and practice each of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises on a daily basis. This assured that Certified instructors could produce a consistent class anywhere in the world.
We often see ads for “Hot Yoga” classes in the area. The term seems to be used interchangeably with the “Bikram Yoga” or “ The Original 26 and 2 sequence”. Are they the same?
By the early 2000’s the popularity of yoga really took off. And, “Bikram Yoga” expanded rapidly throughout the United States. As with all growing trends, other forms of yoga performed in a heated room started to arise. Today, you can find almost any type of “hot yoga” offered on a heated basis which has added to the confusion around the names.
Generic “Hot Yoga” classes, without teachers who are Bikram or Original Hot Yoga Certified, do not need to follow the sequence required by Bikram or the OHYA. The quality of the heated room may vary, as well as the instruction and the sequence itself.
Can I see the benefits of Original Hot Yoga compared with generic Hot Yoga classes?
Yes, of course! The underlying foundation of Original Hot Yoga is the therapeutic health benefits of the series or class. Here are some other noted differences between Original Hot Yoga-Bikram Method and other forms of yoga performed in a heated room.
Our studio, Bikram Yoga Lake Norman, and our training program, Hot 26 + Teacher Training, are both approved and certified by the OHYA, and our master trainer, Amy Clement, also received her Bikram certification prior to the formation of the OHYA. In fact, we are the only 500 hour Original Hot Yoga Training program non-immersion program available on the East Coast.
To learn more, see our feature on the design of the Bikram Yoga Lake Norman studio space and air quality.
Original Hot Yoga - Bikram Method
Hot Yoga - Generic
The Bottom Line
Our students and our experience tell us the real difference most students notice is how amazing they feel after class. They are not sore, tired, or exhausted. They leave class feeling amazing and experience better sleep and less stress. As we like to say, “your body will drag you back to class because it loves feeling so amazing and cared for by you”.