The benefits of Bikram and hot yoga are coming to Hamala in Bahrain
Time Out Bahrain staff
A new studio, Pure Yoga, has launched in Hamala, introducing Bahrain to the benefits of Bikram and hot yoga. We get in touch with founder Christine De Klerk to find out more.
It was back in the early 1970s that hot yoga became popular after it was introduced by its godfather Bikram Choudhury. Bikram, born in Calcutta in 1946, started practising yoga when he was just four, for around four to six hours every day, and by the time he was thirteen he’d gone on to win the National India Yoga Championship.
Disaster struck, however, at the age of seventeen when he was told he wouldn’t walk again due to a severe knee injury. But, according to his official website, he contacted his mentor and renowned physical culturist Bishnu Ghosh to help him heal. Six months later, he says, his knee had completely recovered, leading Bikram to devise his own type of yoga which would allegedly have a profound healing affect on your body and mind.
His yoga, now known popularly as Bikram yoga, is a demanding 26 posture (or ‘asana’ in yoga-speak) series with two breathing exercises (pranayama), executed in a room heated to 40°C for one hour to 90 minutes. Christine De Klerk, the founder of Hamala-based Pure Yoga, says, ‘The heat allows for safe and deep stretching while simultaneously flushing and detoxifying every single system of the body.’
Pure Yoga is a state-of-the-art studio which offers hatha and kids’ classes but its main focus is on Bikram and hot yoga – a first for the island – offering sessions to people no matter their skill or experience level. ‘[It] aids in relieving stress and tension,’ says Christine, ‘strengthening and toning muscles, regulating body weight, increasing blood circulation, preventing chronic diseases and limiting the effects of ageing with the intention of restoring the body to its natural health.’
While many yogis and practitioners wholeheartedly believe in its benefits, naturally, there are also the naysayers. For instance, a small study done in America a few years ago, which monitored both regular and hot yoga classes, found no difference in the increase of core temperature or heart rate. There are also noted dangers of working out in a hot atmosphere such as dehydration and hyperthermia (overheating of the body), and people with various conditions such as epilepsy or multiple sclerosis, as well as those taking certain medications for depression, anxiety and insomnia, should always check with their doctor before practising.
Yet, with every negative there is a positive. Christine says, ‘The heat allows the body to detoxify and cleanse through sweating, in addition to making the body more pliable in the postures resulting in restructuring and properly aligning the body.’
With the sequence, you’re also able to target every part of your body she says. ‘This yoga consists of a sequence of postures scientifically designed to work into the next posture so by the end of the sequence the whole body is worked out – internal organs, systems of the body, muscles, joints, glands. Everything!’
On Pure Yoga’s website, it also states that ‘a minimum of 292 systems within the body are worked during a hot yoga class, while toxins and impurities that can contribute to pain and illness are sweat out of the body.’
On a final note, Christine leaves us with a quote from Bikram himself: ‘As Bikram says, “it’s never too late, it’s never too bad, you’re never too old, you’re never too sick to start from scratch once again, to be born once again.”’ One can certainly hope.
One-on-one classes cost BD20 and packages start from BD60 (10 classes, valid for two months). You can try an introductory package for unlimited sessions over five consecutive days, costing BD25. For more information on Pure Yoga email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1700 7111.