A toasty way to tone-up, Bikram yoga (developed by Bikram Choudhury, celebrity fitness expert) is a form of 'hot yoga' because the exercise takes place in a warm and humid room.
Bikram is a system of 26 postures (called asanas) and two breathing exercises (called pranayama) designed to work the entire body. Though exercising in an atmosphere of at 40.5°C (105°F) heat and around 40% humidity might feel a bit odd at first, it's thought to increase flexibility, and getting a bit sweaty will help purge your body of toxins too.
Unlike some more sedate forms of yoga, Bikram yoga moves can be quite strenuous. It's not surprising that it's a bit more advanced, though, when you consider that all instructors have to complete over 500 hours of training and study in order to be certified by the Bikram Yoga College of India. So, you can be sure that your instructor knows their stuff.
A typical class will last about 90 minutes - enough time for two full sets of the 26 postures. You're likely to sweat buckets, so make sure you have something to drink beforehand and remember to re-hydrate once you leave. Wear light, comfortable clothing; bring your own yoga mat and a towel to mop up the drips.
Bikram yoga can be beneficial regardless of age or fitness level. Like most forms of yoga, Bikram yoga claims to help restore balance for the mind, body and spirit, resulting in increased energy, stamina and flexibility – what’s not to love? By putting yourself in the various yoga positions and bending this way and that, the internal organs are massaged so your cardiovascular and nervous systems get a workout of their own. However, due to the high temperatures and humidity, it is not recommended for pregnant women, and those with high blood pressure are advised to consult medical advice first.