From Sweat to Strength: Does Bikram Yoga Build Muscle?

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Does Bikram yoga build muscle? Maybe it’s time to answer this question as well.

We all know that yoga has an astonishing variety of benefits for both our mind and body. Flexibility, mental wellness, better focus, toned body are only a slight part of these benefits.

But is Bikram Yoga good for muscle growth?

Even though it seems like a little departure from the traditional narrative of yoga, the answer is positive! In a unique and specific way, this practice may not only tone your body but also help you build muscle. But let us tell you more in today’s article.

Does Bikram Yoga Build Muscle?

The answer to the question of the day is yes, it does! In its own specific way, this practice does enhance the process of muscle building.

At first sight, you probably will think that the specific heated environment of Bikram yoga has nothing in common with muscle building. However, it actually does, and this type of yoga is one great way of sculpting and strengthening your muscles.

Don’t Miss to Read: How Many Calories Does Bikram Yoga Burn?

Yes, you will never build muscles with Bikram yoga as you will with going to the gym or lifting weights, but the results will surely be visible, just not that quick. And honestly – combined with all the other benefits of Bikram yoga, it is definitely worth it.

does bikram yoga build muscle
Yes, Bikram yoga can help with building muscle (Photo: Scott Webb / Unsplash)

What is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram Yoga is a unique and specific type of yoga, which gives you the chance to experience a little more different journey than performing specific poses on your mat at home. It was founded in the 1970s by Bikram Choudhury. Since then, it has gathered more and more population thanks to its many benefits and specifics.

Bikram yoga is focused on a high-temperature environment and a sequence of 26 poses practiced twice during one session. What makes this type of yoga unique is the heated environment. The studio is heated to around 40.6 degrees Celsius or 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and the humidity of the studio is 40%. This creates a specific atmosphere that leads to dedication, curiosity, and unique experiences. (don’t miss to read about Hot yoga as well)

It is essential to know that Bikram Yoga is much more specific than the other types of yoga, and you should always be careful. The heated environment has a lot of benefits that we are going to discuss today. Still, it also requires respect for your limits and good hydration. That’s why you should always listen to your body, never overwhelm it, and always ensure you are hydrated.

How does Bikram Yoga Build Muscle?

You are probably wondering how it is possible to build muscles while practicing a sequence of postures in a hot room. Well, let us explain it to you. Muscle building while practicing Bikram yoga comes from integrating different elements during the class.

There are 26 poses that you have to perform, and each of these targets specific muscle groups. Some poses challenge your lower body, while others challenge your upper body. However, each of the postures does activate the muscles in your body.

Don’t Miss to Read: Breaking It Down: Does Power Yoga Build Muscle?

One of the primary specifics of Bikram yoga is the focus on the isometric contractions, during which the muscles exert force but do not change the length. These poses and the hot environment engage the muscles more intensely than you probably can think.

In other words, the following factors lead to muscle building while practicing Bikram yoga:

Enhanced endurance – when practicing Bikram yoga, each pose is extended, which means it builds stamina. Staying in one posture for a more extended period of time will challenge your muscles a lot and will lead to their growth.

Poses with your body weight – as you probably know, you use only your body weight when practicing yoga. And this is more than enough to build muscles safely and nicely for your body.

Activation of muscles – as with every way of exercising, when performing yoga poses, you activate your muscles. As we mentioned, Bikram yoga is built of 26 different poses that activate various muscles, leading to their engagement and growth.

Static and isometric poses – most Bikram yoga poses include isometric contractions, as explained – contracting muscles without changing their length. These poses, and the static ones, require the engagement of many muscles, leading to their growth.

Enhanced blood flow – Bikram yoga is performed in a heated room, and this leads to elevated heart rate and promotes blood circulation. The improved blood flow will deliver oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, supporting the repair processes and the growth of the muscles.

does bikram yoga build muscle
You can easily incorporate Bikram yoga into your muscle building routine (Photo: Unsplash+)

Additional Benefits of Bikram Yoga

Besides muscle building, Bikram yoga has many other benefits, and they reach beyond physical strength. The heated room enhances flexibility, allowing the muscles to warm up faster, resulting in a better range of motion. Furthermore, Bikram yoga promotes detoxification of the body, as the heated studio leads to a lot of sweating, releasing toxins.

In addition, Bikram yoga promotes the connection between the body and the mind, and the heated environment leads to better mental focus and mindfulness. Another benefit of the practice that we pretty much love is relaxation and stress reduction, as they lead to better mental conditions.

Thanks to the heated environment of the room, Bikram yoga encourages deliberate breathing, promoting expansion of the lungs and respiratory efficiency. And last but not least, the combination of heat, mindfulness, breathing, and movement leads to the release of endorphins and a lot more elevated mood.

Optimize the Process of Muscle Building with Bikram Yoga

As we said, building muscles with Bikram yoga is much more specific than any other usual sport. Of course, you can do some things in order to optimize the process, such as:

Start slowly and warm up

What makes Bikram yoga unique is the studio’s temperature, which promotes dynamic engagement of the muscles. However, when practicing for the first time, you will indeed not be used to the temperature, so you better start slowly and warm up if you want to have better and good results.

And do not forget – you can always harness the heat as it warms up your muscle faster and enhances your flexibility. This means that you can perform a broader spectrum of motion.

Engage core as much as you can

Activating your muscles is essential if you want them to grow. Make sure your core is engaged no matter the pose you are performing. This will lead to strengthened muscles, promote good alignment, and allow you to execute the poses by targeting the muscles even more effectively.

Get used to using your body weight

When practicing Bikram yoga, you use only your body weight. Get used to that, and do not resist it. You should enhance using your body weight; you should leave the muscles feeling the tension, leading to growth.

Learn how to activate your muscles

Bikram yoga will not only teach you how to breathe and perform poses in a heated environment, but it will also help you to learn how to focus and activate your muscles. If you want them to grow – you should know how to activate them with your mind by listening to your body and the movements leading to muscle growth.

Be consistent

Consistency is the key to muscle growth! Suppose you want to optimize the process of muscle building when practicing Bikram yoga. In that case, you must be consistent and practice at least three times per week. You will note improvements in your body if you do not skip classes.

Stay hydrated and have a good diet

Bikram yoga is performed in a heated room, which makes hydration even more important. Make sure you drink enough water, and your body is always hydrated. Furthermore, if you want to see results in muscle growth, you must have a proper diet that includes a good variety of nutrients and a lot of protein.

Make sure you rest enough

Your muscles will grow during recovery, so make sure you get yourself the proper rest you need. Allow yourself to sleep enough and always have rest days between Bikram yoga and other workouts.

does bikram yoga help with building muscle
Don’t underestimate Bikram yoga when it comes to building muscle (Photo: Alora Griffiths / Unsplash)

Best Bikram Yoga Poses to Build Muscle

Bikram yoga includes some more specific poses, each of which targets specific groups of muscles. Some postures lead to better muscle growth than others since they more intensely target the muscles. Here are some of them:

Standing Head to Knee Pose

Start by standing upstanding. Lift one leg, bowing the knee and bringing it hidden from everyone else. Holding your foot with two hands, broaden the lifted leg forward while keeping your back straight. Connect with your center muscles to keep up with equilibrium and strength. This posture connects with the quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip flexors, encouraging strength in the lower body.

Awkward Pose

Stand with your feet hip-width separated. Bring your hips down like sitting in a fanciful seat while expanding your arms forward. Keep your weight in your heels and connect with your center. While testing your center muscles, this posture enacts the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. Hold the posture with your spine stretched to boost its muscle-building potential.

Balancing Stick Pose

Stand tall and broaden your arms above. Breathe out and pivot forward at your hips, keeping a straight line from your hands to your heels. At the same time, lift one leg behind you while keeping your body lined up with the ground. Expand your arms and lifted legs to make a straight line. Connect with your center, glutes, and leg muscles to track down equilibrium and develop fortitude throughout your body.

Triangle Pose

Start by remaining with your feet wide separated. Turn one foot out and expand your arm over the drawn-out leg, coming towards your toes. Your other arm comes vertically. Connect with your leg muscles to maintain strength and support your body. This posture focuses on the legs, center, and back muscles, cultivating, by and large, resilience and adaptability.

Camel Pose

Bow on the ground with your knees hip-width separated. Put your hands on your lower back and tenderly curve in reverse, lifting your chest towards the roof. Connect with your back muscles to help the curve. This posture focuses on the muscles along the back, shoulders, and chest, cultivating strength and adaptability here.

Fixed Firm Pose

Bow on the ground and sit back between your feet. Gradually recline and carry your elbows to the ground. Expand your legs behind you, keeping your feet flexed. This posture challenges the quadriceps, hamstrings, and lower back muscles. Draw in your center and breathe consistently as you experience the isometric withdrawal that advances muscle perseverance and strength.

Don’t Miss to Read: Sweating for Strength: Does Hot Yoga Build Muscle?

Bikram yoga is one journey within the heat with astonishing benefits for the mind and body. One of these is muscle building, as we already know. The heated environment, the sequence of postures, the mental challenge, and the breathing process combined together lead to overall wellness and a toned body.

Don’t Miss to Read: Flow to Grow: Does Vinyasa Yoga Build Muscle?

So, can you build muscle with Bikram yoga? If you know how to properly incorporate the poses, how to engage your muscles, and how to optimize your journey, you will surely see the positive effects of this great practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Bikram yoga build muscle?

Yes, Bikram yoga does build muscle in its specific and unique way. It will never replace fitness or weightlifting but will surely tone your body and lead to muscle growth.

What are the best Bikram yoga poses to build muscles?

The best Bikram yoga poses to build muscle include Balancing Stick Pose, Triangle Pose, Camel Pose, Awkward Pose, and Fixed Firm Pose.

What makes Bikram yoga different from other types of yoga?

Bikram yoga is performed in a heated environment with 40% humidity. It includes 26 poses that are being performed within the class.

How can I enhance to process of muscle building when practicing Bikram yoga?

If you want to enhance the process of muscle building when practicing Bikram yoga, you should incorporate hydration and nutrition, always listen to your body, not go over your limits, and, of course – be consistent.

How often should I practice Bikram yoga to build muscle?

It would help if you consistently practice 2-4 sessions every week.

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Nora Yulieva

Young, but already found my passion - writing. I love to travel, I love animals, and most - I love having the freedom to work from anywhere around the world.
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