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Sequence of Postures for Bikram Yoga

by Christine Binnendyk

About Christine Binnendyk

Based in Portland, Ore., Christine Binnendyk has written about health topics since 2001. She is the author of the book "Ageless Pilates" and her work has appeared in "SELF" magazine and "Pilates Pro." Binnendyk holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Connecticut and certifications from YogaFit, ACE, IDEA, Oregon School of Massage and the Pilates Studio of New York.

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Bikram yoga classes include a prescribed sequence of 26 yoga postures performed in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Typical 90-minute classes include two cycles of the sequence, although shortened classes may include a single cycle. Bikram Choudhury has opened franchise locations in more than 40 countries. Yoga teachers who wish to teach this sequence must obtain a franchise from Bikram.

Opening Series

Most people only use 10 percent of their lungs during daily activities, according to Choudhury, so he begins class with standing deep breathing exercises to activate all of the lung cells. Eleven standing exercises follow the breathing series, beginning with Half Moon, Awkward pose -- a variation of the classic Chair pose -- and Eagle pose.

Compression and Release Series

Standing Head to Knee pose is the first compression exercise of class, followed by the Standing Bow and Balancing Stick poses, which reopen the body to complete blood flow. The second compression and release sequence is Standing Separate Leg Stretching pose followed by Triangle pose. Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee pose is the third compression movement, which is followed by Tree pose and Toe Stand.

Reclined Series

The reclined series begins with Dead Body pose, followed by Wind-Relieving pose. Activity levels pick up with Situp, Cobra, Locust, Full Locust and Bow poses. Everyone in class sits up for Fixed Firm pose, which is called “Hero” in other yoga systems, followed by Half Tortoise, Camel, Rabbit, Head to Knee with Stretching, and Spine Twisting poses. The sequence concludes with the Blowing in Firm Breathing exercise.

Considerations

Although Bikram’s yoga sequence does not deviate to accommodate physical limitations, franchise teachers do not expect all students to perform the exercises at the same level. Beginners will have a smaller range of motion for some poses, while experienced participants can expect to enjoy a larger range, as well as improved strength, flexibility and overall health, according to Choudhury. The Baby Center and several other health information sources warn pregnant women to avoid this class because the high heat may raise your body temperature beyond recommended levels for pregnancy.

Photo Credits:

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.