Fitness classes are becoming more popular these days, and not only do they offer an intense workout, but enjoyment as well. Fitness classes are a great way to exercise with friends without getting bored and are usually offered for free at your local health club. Most fitness classes are designed to target the cardiovascular aspect (getting the heart rate up) while only a few integrate the entire body into the workout. Below is a list of the most popular fitness classes.
Spinning is an aerobic exercise that takes place on a stationary bike. The class is designed to target the heart rate as well as the lower body (quads, hamstrings, and glutes). Each class typically consists of loud motivating music combined with varying speed and resistance levels to maximize the workout. Spinning is an intense workout that burns around 600-1000 calories per hour (depending on the person). This is a great class for those with knee/ankle problems and varying fitness levels due to the fact that you can exercise at your own pace. Give it a shot! Read Full Post >
Fall is a special time. Lots of great things occur. My kids go back to school. Football season starts again. I can finally stop wearing shorts and can (hopefully!) get back into my favorite jeans. But, even more important to an entire legion of my friends is the return of the StarbucksPumpkin Spice Latte. I have friends who wait all year long to be able to order this drink. It’s immensely popular and stores have a tough time keeping the syrup on the shelves. Have you ever wondered if this drink was worth it? Let’s take a look. Read Full Post >
If you think that yoga is just about becoming more flexible and chanting a few oms, think again. Created in India over 5,000 years ago, yoga is meant to bring union to the body, mind and spirit. Today, more than 20 million Americans roll out their mats and practice postures like triangle pose, headstands and warrior sequence.
So why are Americans who are eager to gobble up a fast-paced, calorie-torching workouts like Tae-bo and spinning, embracing yoga with such vigor?
Yoga is supposed to take away from the need of material things, but when it comes to your practice, there are a few essentials that even the most bendy and accomplished practitioners can’t down-dog without.
1). A solid yoga mat: You can get a yoga mat anywhere these days from Target to Walgreens to JCrew. But all mats are not created equal. If you’re an avid practitioner, invest in a good quality yoga mat. My favorite one is “Mercedes of all yoga mats,” or the premium black mat. Barefoot yoga sells it for about $80. (They also have more affordable, environmentally friendly mats.) It’s a bit pricey for a yoga mat but I guarantee, this one will last you for a lifetime! Read Full Post >
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be putting the spotlight on some of the most popular forms of yoga. Since there are so many different styles of yoga to choose from, educating yourself on what they are all about will help you make a decision in choosing which kind of yoga to practice.
One of the most well-known kinds of yoga is Bikram. If you’ve heard of people practicing yoga in a room that is heated to over 100 degrees, this is the type of yoga they were sweating through. Bikram yoga is also referred to as “Hot Yoga.”
What is Bikram Yoga?
Bikram yoga was founded by Bikram Choudhury, a teacher born in India and received his training in Calcutta. Choudhury currently lives in Beverly Hills, California where he first found his copyrighted style of yoga.
The intention behind having the room heated so high is to ensure the student will sweat profusely, thereby ridding the body of toxins. The intense heat also makes the muscles very supple and warm which enhances flexibility. The sequence of postures is also designed to relieve stress, reduce tension and prevent injury.
What is a Bikram yoga class like?
Bikram yoga involves doing a set sequence of 26 postures, or asanas, and two breathing exercises in a class that is heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Students are guided along the class by Bikram-certified teachers who instruct using a specific dialogue. Each class lasts approximately 90 minutes.
The authentic Bikram method recommends that you practice it every day.
Given the high heat and the length of time that each posture is held, Bikram yoga is very strenuous. Even though beginners are encouraged to sample a class, if you have a strong aversion to the heat or get faint quickly, you might want to think about first trying out another kind of yoga class that heats the room, but not as high as in a Bikram class.
Since you sweat so much, make sure that you bring your own yoga mat and towel, or two. Also, drink plenty of liquids after class. And just as with any yoga class, refrain from eating 2-3 hours before you roll out your mat.
Pregnant women should not practice Bikram Yoga because it raises the core body temperature.
Bikram Choudry holds a U.S. copyright on his yoga, and yoga instructors must undergo a paid training and certification process to teach it. This has been met with much resistance by some members of the yoga community who feel that placing a copyright on yoga postures that were not developed by Choudry is unjust and goes against the nature of yoga itself.
In addition, the high heat in Bikram classes has received criticism for its potential to promote injury because it gives the muscles a false sense of flexibility. Also, locking joints, like the knees, are a required adjustment. Many exercise experts feel that locking the joints shuts off the muscle and can lead to hyperpronation of the joint.
Here is a short video clip of Bikram yoga in action: