Five ways that Bikram Yoga can prevent injuries

"I'm a runner/weight lifter/cross-fitter and I need some more flexibility so I stop getting hurt."

"My trainer told me I need to increase my flexibility so I don't have this pain."

"My chiroprator told me I need to start stretching to keep my adjustments better."

These are common reasons people tell us why they are trying yoga. They heard it was good for their flexibility and that flexibility will help them to prevent injury. But there are so many other reasons that yoga can help to prevent injury - and also aid in healing current injuries.

Bikram yoga specifically is designed to work every muscle, ligament, tendon, joint, gland, and internal organ system in the body and has incredibly therapeutic, healing benefits. By the end of the 90 minutes, you will have moved freshly, oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood to 100% of the body. Here are our top 5 reasons why practicing Bikram Yoga will help you to prevent injury:

1) Increased flexibility

- We know that yoga increases flexibility but why is flexibility even necessary and how does that help in injury prevention?

- Flexibility makes things easier!

- Flexibility is so much more than being able to do a pretty posture or bend into a pretzel; when the body is flexible, it requires less energy to move through your joints' full range of motion.

- This can help decrease resistance in muscle tissue when you move and reduce your risk of injury.

- Flexibility allows an increase in blood and nutrients to tissues and reduces stress and releases tension in the body which can also allow injuries to heal when they are sustained.

- This is one of the biggest reasons why the room is heated - it helps warm the body up and loosens the muscles so the body can stretch safely.


2) Increased strength

- Don't discount the power of yoga to build muscle! While flexibility is important for movement, so is strength.

- Strength in yoga doesn't mean muscle bulk, but rather a balance of strength throughout the body. Think about postures like Standing-Head-to-Knee-Pose that require you to call upon strength in some areas and relaxation in others.

- When you do certain movements in your life over and over again (think typing, swinging a golf club, running, weight lifting reps), the body is prone to overuse as certain areas do the same job and others atrophy.

- Yoga helps to wake up sleepy areas of the body to make sure they are doing their jobs and are supporting you.

- This is a big part of improved posture and correct spinal alignment which has a huge overall effect on how you feel and move.


3) Better overall balance

- With the combination of increased strength and flexibility, the body becomes more balanced overall.

- In another sense of the word balance, we do postures where you are standing on one leg and even standing with your feet all the way together which requires balance.

- Practicing keeping certain muscles engaged and others relaxed will help your balance outside the hot room, too.

- Think about a dancer, ballerina, skater, weight lifter, cyclist, even a mom carrying a child on each hip -- balance is crucial to keep you upright and injury free. We practice balance in each and every Bikram Yoga class.

- We are used to moving the joints through a small range of motion and using certain muscles in certain ways but Bikram Yoga expands this range of motion.

- Bikram yoga asks you to move your spine forward, backward, sideways and twisting. It asks for shoulder movement in all different directions. It asks your hips to rotate through a greater range of motion than they usually do.  

- All in all, Bikram Yoga creates better harmony throughout all of your body parts so you improve muscle balance overall which will translate into better form in your other activities and fewer injuries.


4) Improved breathing

- Starting with Pranayama breathing Bikram Yoga asks you to use the upper, middle and lower parts of your lungs - full lungs!

- In other physical activities, and in our everyday life in general, we don't breathe fully. It is normal to spend the whole day taking very shallow breaths that utilize only the top portion of the lungs.

- Pranayama breathing increases lung capacity which circulates more oxygen through the system.

- This increases endurance, improves overall athletic performance, and helps the body to handle increased demands.

- When you're breathing fully, you can stay better in control of your mind and body

- Better breathing = less chance of injury!


5) Increased focus and concentration

- What happens when the body gets tired and your mind wanders? You have a higher likelihood of injury.

- When your mind is sharp, your concentration is honed, and you are fully present, you will move your body in an aware way, even when it is physically fatigued.

- One of the most overlooked benefits of yoga is the ability to focus for sustained periods of time on the task at hand. When you build up this skill, you will also improve the other 4 skills listed above.


These five aspects of Bikram Yoga are so powerful! How have you used your yoga to help prevent injury outside of the hot room?