Bikram Yoga is founded by Bikram Choudhury and is one of the most popular forms of hot yoga. It is conducted in a heated room of ideally 40 degree celsius and lasts for 90 minutes.

It consists of two breathing exercises, a standing series (12 poses) and a floor series (14 poses). The 26 poses are done twice according to the instructions given by a yoga teacher. There is no demonstration in the class and water can only be drunk at intervals during the poses and not during.

How does this translate into helping runners run better?

For most runners, stretching is very important because it reduces the possibility of muscle soreness and if your muscles are too tight, injuries are more likely to occur. If you are the type of runner who can’t sit still and think yoga is just sitting on the floor cross legged and meditating or doing slow moving postures, Bikram Yoga is just for you.

1. It helps reduce lactic acid
Lactic acid is produced when carbohydrates in your body are broken down for energy and is formed in the muscles using oxygen. That is why after an increase of intensity in your workout, you rely on fast twitch muscle fibres that use carbohydrates to fuel their contractions thus producing lactic acid. Stretching is an efficient way of reducing lactic acid and when done in a hot room, it relaxes and deeply stretches your muscles even more.

2. Detoxification and improved blood circulation of the body
Practising Birkam Yoga helps runners to detox more efficiently and improves the blood circulation in the body. It brings fresh oxygen to the cells in the body and when your body is renewed, boom! You will have the pizzazz to run better.

3. It tones and strengthens your muscles
Certain poses require you to hold the pose in a contracted position for at least a minute. This tones up your muscles and builds up its endurance level which is crucial for a good core and improves your running.

4, It is a good break from your routine
If all you ever do is run, then take a break and do something else. Your muscles have memory and they soon become pretty efficient at the exercise you regularly do. By practicing Bikram Yoga, you are exercising other parts of the body that running does not emphasize on.

5. It promotes mental discipline and focus
Some marathon runners swear by Bikram Yoga because it is not easy being in a 40deg Celsius heated room. It requires dedication, discipline and focus to do the poses correctly. This in turn calms your mind and allows you to use this focus and maintain clarity in your long runs or when you hit the wall during a marathon or any other long distance run.

Sheryl Goh

Running as far as her legs will allow her, Sheryl loves the freedom of exploring new places that it brings. She loves to participate in local and overseas races and is also an avid diver and yogi.

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