Bikram yoga is an extremely popular form of yoga practiced around the world. It involves 26 poses performed in a room at the sweltering temperature of 40°C. Although Bikram yoga is practiced by millions of people, little is known about the health benefits associated with it, or if there really is any advantage to it being performed in a hot environment.
New research published in Experimental Physiology is the first publication to isolate the effects of heat in Bikram yoga. Researchers from Texas State University and the University of Texas at Austin enrolled 80 participants in Bikram yoga classes. The subjects were randomized into one of three study groups after preliminary. Screening. One group performed Bikram yoga in a heated room, the other in room temperature, and the third was a control group. The study lasted for 12 weeks, with participants attending 3 Bikram yoga classes per week.
The results showed that Bikram yoga can reduce changes in the lining of blood vessels that are involved in the progression and development of heart disease. It was also found that these exercises can delay the progression of atherosclerosis – the disease in which plaque builds up within arteries, causing a heart attack or stroke.
However, the results also showed that it is not necessary for participants to perform this yoga at a hot temperature, as the benefits were also observed at room temperature. Thus, the heated environment did not play a significant role in improving vascular health.
Based off this new research, if you’re doing Bikram yoga for the vascular health benefits, you can save on your heating bill and maybe save some sweat as well, all without compromising the benefits these exercises provide.