Turn up the heat: Bikram yoga helps participants tone up, de-stress — with a little extra sweat
by Kayla Allen
August 04, 2014 12:00 AM | 3403 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Natalia Mejia-Saldarriaga, foreground, and about 19 other participants enjoyed the intense heat of the Bikram Yoga class at Bikram Yoga Marietta. Bikram Yoga is a beginner’s yoga practiced in a series of 26 postures and two breathing sequences developed from Hatha yoga. Bikram takes place in a room heated to about 105 degrees with 40 percent humidity. <br> Staff/Sam Bennett
Natalia Mejia-Saldarriaga, foreground, and about 19 other participants enjoyed the intense heat of the Bikram Yoga class at Bikram Yoga Marietta. Bikram Yoga is a beginner’s yoga practiced in a series of 26 postures and two breathing sequences developed from Hatha yoga. Bikram takes place in a room heated to about 105 degrees with 40 percent humidity.
Staff/Sam Bennett
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Bikram Yoga owner Naedra Fox of Marietta is very proud of the business she’s built and is continuing to build. <br> Staff/Sam Bennett
Bikram Yoga owner Naedra Fox of Marietta is very proud of the business she’s built and is continuing to build.
Staff/Sam Bennett
slideshow

As the shift in fitness trends moves away from the model of a traditional gym workout, a more well-rounded holistic approach is taking its place.

Bikram’s Yoga College lists thousands of Bikram studios from Africa to Australia. Not only are people aiming to lose weight and look good, they want to be strong in mind and body.

Bikram Yoga Marietta

Bikram Yoga Marietta, located on Powers Ferry Road across from Harry’s Market, welcomes all interested in “getting to know yourself better,” said Naedra Fox, instructor and owner of the studio since December 2011.

“Bikram is for someone who wants to improve their life, someone willing to put in the sweat, the time,” said Fox, 37, of Decatur.

What is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram Yoga, the original form of hot yoga, was introduced in California in the 1970s by a man named Bikram Choudhury, the founder of the Yoga College of India.

Bikram Yoga is a beginner’s yoga practiced in a series of 26 postures and two breathing sequences developed from Hatha yoga. Bikram takes place in a room heated to about 105 degrees with 40 percent humidity. Each class is 90 minutes long. Using a heated room warms the muscles and makes them more elastic and less susceptible to injury, Fox said.

According to the Bikram’s Yoga College website, Bikram calls the studios “torture chambers.” But Fox said, “it’s a 90-minute meditation.”

Fox said Bikram Yoga has become so popular “because it works.” Bikram Yoga Marietta has about 300 regular members.

Fox grew up in Rome and attended Savannah College of Art and Design. She divides her passion between painting and Bikram Yoga. She previously worked with chiropractor Dr. Joe Esposito and has lived in Marietta for 15 years. She has been practicing Bikram Yoga for 12 years and teaching for 10.

With Bikram Yoga becoming so popular, a lot of other forms of hot yoga classes have become available in Cobb. But Fox said Bikram is still the most popular, as it is the original concept devised by the yoga master himself, and each instructor attends a nine-week intensive training course taught by Bikram.

“It’s not just an outer result. A lot of people come because they want to tone up and lose weight and get in shape. You do all of those things, but at the same time it targets your internal organs and the systems in your body. It’s healing to the body. A lot of other sports can be hard on your joints. This yoga works every part of the body. It’s good for your joints,” Fox said.

Lead instructor at Bikram Yoga Marietta Jill Jordan has been teaching Bikram Yoga for nine years. She cites health as a main reason for her dedication to the practice.

“I’m 44,” she said, “I feel like I’m in my 20s.”

However, Fox said it’s not just the physicality of the workout, it’s the philosophy. Fox said every Bikram Yoga class shifts her perspective and allows her to de-stress.

“Most people in our fast-paced society — one that we have very little time to themselves, especially with our technology — and it has so many blessings,” Fox said, “but most people are on-call 24-7. We like to say each class is a 90 minute vacation. We don’t allow cellphones; There is no talking in the studio.”

If the danger of standing in 105 degree room for 90 minutes seems concerning, Fox nixes that idea.

“With all the fear out there about the heat, it’s very rare for people to even leave the room. As long as they honor how they feel and go ahead and sit when they need to, it’s fine. As long as you take care of yourself, you’ll be fine,” she said.

While many may also be deterred by repetitiveness of the same 26 postures every class, “Each day you come, you’re different,” Fox said, and that makes for a different workout.

Bikram Yoga Marietta is perfect for novices to the yoga world or fitness in general. Students are instructed to progress at their own pace. The studio also offers massage therapy.

“We encourage them to do the best they can,” Fox said. “We don’t expect our students to do everything. They don’t have to do every pose, every class. They can take breaks if they need to. They just do what they can. Then they build their stamina.”

Fox encourages members of her studio to be a part of the Bikram community by setting up friendly competitions for who can complete the most classes, with stickers awarded to winners.

Fox said “You get so much bang for your buck in one class.”

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