After yoga helped Bikram Choudhury recover from a potentially debilitating injury, he devised the 26 postures sequence, now known as Bikram yoga. At seventeen, Bikram damaged his knee during a weight-lifting accident, leading European doctors to tell him that he would never walk again. Refusing to accept their declarations, he entrusted himself to the care of his yoga teacher Bishnu Ghosh, who was a celebrated physical culturist and the first to scientifically document Yoga's ability to cure chronic physical ailments and heal the body. Six months later, his knee completely recovered.
Now Bikram’s own 26 posture series has been known to have a profound healing power on body and mind.
How does 90 minutes in a hot room help heal injuries? The postures are done in the safe environment of a heated room so that deep penetration can relieve one's body resistance without risking injury. By the end of a class session, each individual will have worked every muscle, tendon, joint, ligament, internal organ, and gland whil systematically moving fresh, oxygenated blood to 100% of the body. When it comes down to it, healing is simply a matter of blood flow and Bikram yoga causes blood to course with riptide force. By compressing and releasing different areas of the body, fresh oxygenated blood is allowed back into each joint and area individually, flushing out toxins and scar tissue, promoting healing to essentially your entire body. The result is restoration of health to all systems.
The design of the Bikram series influences healing. These postures work synergistically and cumulatively to put the body back on track and in balance. The repetition of the series is beneficial since students do not have to worry about what comes next and can then focus on breath and meditation. The repetition also acts as a gage so students can noticeably see their improvements.
While Bikram yoga has been known to aid students in healing ailments, injuries are not healed overnight. Each recovery is a journey where pain and progress go hand in hand. That being said, if every recovery is a journey, and every journey begins with one step, the first step should be practice- Bikram yoga practice!
Midge Furlong is the owner of Bikram Yoga Burr Ridge in Burr Ridge.