Hot Yoga Busted!
Not all hot yoga is Bikram Yoga! This is a common misconception among the public and leads to confusion when other styles adopt the heated room method. Among the sweat and toxin eliminating heated methods is the Barkan style!
Created by Jimmy Barkan, this style of yoga came first to the United States in 2002. Barkan introduced his set of hot yoga poses to the Fort Lauderdale community in south Florida. Now he also owns and works at a second studio a little further north in Boca Raton. Despite his location in Florida, the Barkan method of yoga has spread in a short period of time and is now taught by Barkan-certified teachers in many parts of the world.
What does it take to have a yoga method named after you, like Barkan and Bikram? For one, well rounded education and certification. Jimmy Barkan was certified at a world renowned school in Calcutta India in 1981. Years later he trained with one of the original masters of hot yoga, Bikram Choudhury, and escalated as Choudhury’s senior student. It was from Choudhury that Barkan learned and detailed his practice after.
Barkan yoga marries the 26 poses from Bikram Yoga with a few additional poses that help ease the student through the exercise in an easier and safer way. The original 26 poses used, in conjunction with the room heated to around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, helps muscles and joints move more fluidly and stretch deeper into positions. They help oxygen and blood flow around the body, so each muscle and each organ is incorporated in a healthy way. It helps promote weight loss (through fat blasting, muscle building and water loss), eases anxiety and depression, and helps create a more tone physique. The 26 Bikram asanas (positions) are as follows:
1. Pranayama: Standing Deep Breathing
2. Ardha-Chandrasana: Half Moon Pose
3. Utkatasana: Awkward Pose
4. Garurasana: Eagle Pose
5. Dandayamana-Janushirasana: Standing Head to Knee
6. Dandayamana-Dhanurasana: Standing Bow Pose
7. Tuladandasana: Balancing Stick
8. Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasana: Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose
9. Tirkanasana: Triangle Pose
10. Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana: Standing Separate Leg Head to Kneww Pose
11. Tadasana: Tree Pose
12. Padangustasana: Toe Stand
13. Prada-Hasthasana: Sit up
14. Janushirasana and Paschimotthanasana: Head to Knee Pose and Stretching Pose
15. Arda-Matsyendrasana: Spine-Twisting Pose
Laying on back poses
16. Savasana: Dead Body Pose
17. Pavanamuktasana: Wind-Removing Pose
Laying on belly poses
18. Bhujangasana: Cobra Pose
19. Salabhasana: Locust Pose
20. Poorna-Salabhasana: Full Locust Pose
21. Dhanurasana: Bow Pose
Sitting on shins poses
22. Supta-Vajrasana: Fixed Firm Pose
23. Ardha-Kurmasana: Half Tortoise Pose
24. Ustrasana: Camel Pose
25. Sasangasana: Rabbit Pose
26. Kapalbhati in Vajrasana: Blowing in Firm Pose
Unlike Bikram yoga, Barkan is more relaxed, tapered to the individuals needs, and less stressful on the body. The temperature of the room is lower than Bikram yoga (which keeps the room to about 104 degrees Fahrenheit). Students still say they must bring water with them to each lesson as it is still a sauna style environment, but the reduced heat is a welcomed difference.
The postures practiced are not always the exact same 26 asanas and a few additions that are not included in Bikram yoga are incorporated in Barkan style. This is a great alternative in flexibility and attitude, and I don’t just mean in the poses. When you walk into this type of yoga studio your initial inclination may be to dance but this is not a dance school! Barkan yoga adds light effects to enhance different positions and the entire workout is done with music playing in the background. Each instructor also has the freedom and flexibility to teach every session as they please, choosing different sequences and teaching each methods in their own voice. You will learn from seeing each poses, hearing verbal instructions, and physically having instructors help you move and bend your body into the proper position.
Flow and fluidity is not the focus here. The style is a form of Hatha Yoga, which means forceful. While each position is performed slowly and gently, they are also abrupt and do not flow from or to other positions. It is a calmly paced class where breathing and stretching is more important than form and students are encouraged to do what feels good rather than what looks right.
As always with yoga, there are a few tips that students need to heed to ensure a fun, clean and safe lesson. First, bring a large bottle of water. This is a heated exercise and you will sweat! The last thing anyone needs is a fainting spell in the middle of tadasana! Second, while many yoga studios have mats on hand for students, it is recommended to bring your own. The question is purely a hygienic one – would you like to work out on a mat that someone else sweat all over? In addition to your own mat, some people suggest covering the mat with a slip-free towel to absorb moisture.
The work exercise is key here and means that you will burn calories! So make sure to eat a healthy and well balanced diet when practicing Barkan yoga. It is recommended however to refrain from eating up to two hour prior to your lesson. This exercise will twist your body in positions you may not know it can do, therefore do what you can to prevent employing these exercises while the stomach is busy digesting food.
Will you be traveling to the Fort Lauderdale area? If so, make a pit stop and try Barkan yoga at it’s original location at: 2370 North Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale FL. 33305. The studio and instructors have received a wide and positive range of praise from fun environment to offering a great workout. It is a location where anyone can learn heated yoga and even students with health, bone and joint problems encouraged others to visit and try the location out.
click here if you still are unsure of hot yoga.