Yoga is derived from the root of the word yuj, according to hinduwisdom.com, meaning to join together. Yoga is believed to unify the human with the divine.
Yoga is believed to go hand in hand with Hinduism. According to hinduwisdom.com, there is a saying that goes as follows: ““there is no Yoga without Hinduism and no Hinduism without Yoga.”
There are four different types of yoga that stem from Hindu yoga: Karma, Raja, Bhakti and Jnana, according to livestrong.com. In the United States, the most popular and well known form is Hatha yoga, which is a stem from Raja yoga. According to livestrong.com, “Hatha yoga include Bikram yoga, Ashtanga yoga and Vinyasa/power yoga.”
Raja yoga is the respelendent yoga of spiritual kings, according to hinduwisdom.com. Hatha yoga is a stem of raja yoga and is believed to, “destroy or transform all that which, in man, interferes with his union with the universal Being,” according to hinduwisdom.com. It is believed to be the “Yoga of strength.”
Bikram Yoga was created by Bikram Choudhury, and it is a stem of Hatha yoga. Bikram consists of 26 poses that are performed over 90 minutes and in a room that is heated to approximately 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
Here in London, I signed up for a two week membership at a local Bikram Yoga studio called So Hot Bikram. So far I have taken two classes and plan to take many more when our program concludes and I am still in London until August 4.
My first experience, I was very nervous. Both of my parents have done Bikram yoga and have explained how strenuous and difficult it is. They say the heat is at times unbearable and minimal clothing is a must in order to stay remotely cool.
The moment I walked into the room I was hit with a wave of heat. I became immediately concerned for the next 90 minutes I was going to endure. I laid my yoga mat onto the floor and laid flat on the ground and begin to “meditate,” which is recommended to do before class.
I stayed still and tried to control my breath because the heat made it hard to breath at a normal pace, large breaths were difficult.
The instructor entered the room and we began our class. One thing I noticed was all the poses were about aligning the body and using resistance and reliance on other body parts to remained balance. Also, the most crucial part is to be unified with ones breath and to continue steady breaths throughout the time.
What I noticed after the session was how peaceful I felt. That was when I understood why it is something used to become unified with oneself in the Hindu culture. Despite putting my body through an intense workout, I didn’t leave panting or feeling heavy, but light, relaxed, calm and almost pure.
It was a great experience and I enjoy the calmness yoga brings my mind and the peace it brings to me. I actually do feel more connected and calm and it is something I plan to continue in America.