Bikram yoga, the original hot yoga, is a sequence of 26 postures with a breathing exercise before the first posture and a breathing exercise after the last posture. Each of the postures was selected by Bikram Choudhury for the health benefits and the ease of the posture. Though you may find some postures more challenging than others, all of the postures are beginning postures designed to give maximum benefit with little injury risk (when performed correctly).
There are many variations of postures, if you have practiced other forms of yoga, you may have practiced some of these postures with different techniques. While in a Bikram yoga class, try your best to follow the Bikram yoga technique to safely gain the most benefit.
Standing Deep Breathing (Pranayama)
- Helps expand the lung capacity.
- Increasing circulation throughout the body.
- Using 100% of the lung capacity, helping to prevent respiratory problems such as bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, and shortness of breath.
- Stimulates circulation, waking up the muscles in the body.
Half Moon Pose with Hands to Feet Pose (Ardha-Chandrasana with Pada-Hastasana)
- Improves and strengthens every muscle in the central part of the body.
- Increases the flexibility of the spine and sciatic nerve.
- Promotes proper kidney function.
- Improves blood circulation.
- Increases the flexibility and strength of the rectus abdominus, latissimus dorsi, oblique, deltoid, and trapezius muscles.
Awkward Pose (Utkatasana)
- Firms all muscles of the thighs, calves and hips
- Increases flexibility in hip joints.
- Helps firms the upper arms.
- Increases blood circulation in the knees and ankle joints.
- Relieves rheumatism, arthritis, and gout in the legs.
Eagle Pose (Garurasana)
- Improves the flexibility of the hip, knee, and ankle joints.
- Strengthens the calves, ankles, thighs, latissimus dorsi, trapezius, and deltoid muscles.
Standing Head to Knee Pose (Dandayamana-Janushirasana)
- Helps to improve concentration, patience, and determination.
- Tightens abdominal and thigh muscles.
- Improves flexibility of the sciatic nerves.
- Strengthens the tendons, biceps of the thigh muscles and hamstrings in the legs.
- Strengthens deltoid, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, scapula, biceps and triceps.
Standing Bow Pulling Pose (Dandayamana-Dhanurasana)
- Helps to improve concentration, patience, and determination.
- Firms the abdominal wall and upper thighs, and tightens upper arms, hips, and buttocks.
- Increases the size and elasticity of the rib cage and the lungs and improves the flexibility and strength of the lower spine.
Balancing Stick Pose (Tuladandasana)
- Firms hips, buttocks, and upper thighs.
- It increases the circulation, strengthens the capacity of the lungs.
- Strengthens the flexibility of latissimus, deltoid, and trapezius muscles; and improves the flexibility, strength, and muscle tone of shoulders, upper arms, spine and hip joints.
Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose (Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasana)
- Helps prevent sciatica by stretching and strengthening the sciatic nerves and the tendons of the legs.
- Helps the function of the small and large intestine.
- Improves the muscle tone and flexibility of thighs and calves and the flexibility of the pelvis, ankles, and hip joints, and the last five vertebrae of the spine.
Triangle Pose (Trikanasana)
- Revitalizes nerves, veins, and tissues.
- Increases the strength and flexibility of the hip joint and of the muscles of the side of the torso, It also firms upper thighs and hips, slims the waistline, and improves the deltoid, trapezius, scapula, and latissimus muscles.
Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose (Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana)
- Slims abdomen, waistline, hips, buttocks, and upper thighs.
Tree Pose (Tadasana)
- Improves posture and balance.
- Increases the flexibility of the ankles, knees, and hip joints.
Toe Stand Pose (Padangustasana)
- Opens up the knee and hip joints.
- Helps develop mental strength.
Dead Body Pose (Savasana)
- Returns blood circulation to normal.
- It also teaches complete relaxation.
Wind Removing Pose (Pavanamuktasana)
- Helps prevents flatulence which is the source of most chronic abdominal discomforts.
- Improves the flexibility of the hip joints and firms the abdomen, thighs and hips.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
- Increases spinal strength and flexibility, helps prevent lower backache.
- Helps cure rheumatism, and arthritis of the spine.
- Relieves menstrual problems such as cramps and backaches.
- Helps with bad posture and improves the functioning of the liver and spleen.
- Strengthens deltoids, trapezius and triceps.
Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
- Increases spinal strength and flexibility, helps prevent backache.
- Cures tennis elbow and is excellent for firming buttocks and hips.
Full Locust Pose (Poorna-Salabhasana)
- Strengthens the back muscles.
- Firms abdominal muscles, upper arms, hips and thighs.
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
- Improves the functioning of the large and small intestines, the liver, kidneys, and spleen.
- Helps straighten rounded spines, relieves backaches, and improves pigeon chest by opening the rib cage, permitting maximum expansion of the lungs and increased oxygen intake.
- Revitalizes all spinal nerves by increasing circulation to the spine.
- Improves digestion and strengthens abdominal muscles, upper arms, thighs, and hips.
- Improves flexibility of the scapula, latissimus, deltoid, and trapezius muscles.
Fix Firm Pose (Supta-Vajrasana)
- Helps cure sciatica, gout, and rheumatism in the legs.
- Slims thighs, firms calf muscles, and strengthens the abdomen.
- Strengthens and improves flexibility of lower spine, knees, and ankle joints.
Half Tortoise Pose (Ardha-Kurmasana)
- Provides maximum relaxation.
- Helps prevent indigestion.
- Stretches the lower part of the lungs, increasing blood circulation to the brain.
- Firms the abdomen and thighs.
- Increases the flexibility of hip joints, scapula, deltoids, triceps, and latissimus dorsi muscles.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
- Stretches the abdominal organs to the maximum and cures constipation.
- Stretches the throat, thyroid gland, and parathyroids.
- Opens the rib cage giving more room for the lungs.
- Produces maximum compression of the spine, improving the flexibility of the neck, spine and relieves backaches.
- Firms and slims the abdomen and waistline.
Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana)
- Creates maximum longitudinal extension of the spine.
- Stretches the spine to permit the nervous system to receive proper nutrition.
- Helps maintains the mobility and elasticity of the spine and back muscles.
- Improves the flexibility of the scapula and the trapezius.
Head to Knee Pose with Stretching Pose (Janushirasana with Paschimotthanasana)
- Helps balance the blood sugar level.
- Improves the flexibility of the sciatic nerves ankles, knees and hip joints.
- Improves digestion; enhances the proper functioning of the kidneys; and expands the solar plexus.
- Stretching Pose: Relieves chronic diarrhea by improving the circulation of the bowels.
- Increases circulation to the liver and spleen and improves digestion.
- Increases the flexibility of the trapezius, deltoid, erectus femoris, and biceps muscles, sciatic nerves, tendons, hip joints, and the last five vertebrae of the spine.
Spine Twist Pose (Ardha-Matsyendrasana)
- Twists the top and bottom of the spine at the same time. As a result, it increases circulation and nutrition to the spinal nerves, veins, and tissues.
- Improves spinal elasticity and flexibility and the flexibility of the hip joints.
- Helps firm abdomen, thighs, and bottocks.
Blowing in Firm Pose (Kapalbhati in Vajrasana)
- Blowing in Firm Pose strengthens the abdominal organs and increases circulation.
- Helps strengthen the abdominal wall, helping to trim the waistline.