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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Bikram Yoga in the Olympics

Sep 01, 2011 12:44PM ● By By Jessica Gardner

Bikram Choudhury, India’s national yoga champion designed Bikram Yoga after using it to heal a knee-shattering injury. After he regained movement in his knee and walked again, Bikram and his guru, Bisnu Gosh (brother of famous yogi, Yogananda) realized that their sequence of 26 Hatha Yoga postures needed to be shared with the world.

In bringing this style of yoga to the Western World, the heat, a tool to thin the blood, release toxins and promote circulatory health, was first used to mimic climate conditions in Calcutta, India. The series of postures was designed to systematically move blood throughout the body as well as to create a series of compressions to the organs and glands, flushing them of toxins, enzymes, and free radicals that the body either creates or absorbs throughout its lifetime. After a Bikram Yoga class, students leave feeling refreshed, clean, and energized. It is as essential to drink a lot of water before class, as it is to first check with a medical professional regarding your physical condition prior to beginning Bikram Yoga. However, this yoga was designed for any person, no matter your age, body type or level of fitness.

Bikram and his wife, Rajashree, recently brought their competition lineage to America with the creation of USA Yoga and the goal bringing yoga to the 2016 Summer Olympics as a sport. Yoga means the union between mind and body. Control over the mind facilitates the control over the body, creating union. What better way to show total control over the mind and body than performing yoga asana on stage in front of a crowd? Judging criteria is similar to that of diving or figure skating, in which yogis are judged on control of breath, stillness within the posture, and level of difficulty, taking body proportions into consideration.

Jessica Gardner and Courtney Hurley of Bikram Yoga Voorhees represented New Jersey at the national 2010 Gosh Cup in Los Angeles.

Bikram Yoga Voorhees, 250 Haddonfield-Berlin Road in Gibbsboro, is part of a national committee to integrate yoga into the Olympics. Visit and become a member to create a following for yoga as a sport. For more information, contact [email protected].

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