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Bikram Yoga

This is not the type of yoga that will chill you out. The hottest holistic craze to leave the States is now well ensconced in North London at its own centre in Chalk Farm. Get ready for serious sweating - Bikram Yoga is here to stay.

In the 1960s Bikram Choudhury, a holistic guru and some-time yoga expert, suffered a debilitating knee injury while weightlifting. However, after six months intensive yoga practice, he was cured. Spurred on by this ancient art of breathing and strange postures, he devised his very own system to reach ultimate health.

This yoga involves a fairly fast-moving sequence of 26 postures (hand-picked from the thousands in the yogic repertoire) which, when practiced together, make up a 90-minute schedule. But here's the catch. The practice takes place in a room heated to (upwards of) 100 degrees Farenheit....we're talking very hot (just as it is in India, where yoga originated). Not only are you sure to sweat, but your muscles are also sure to warm up and get bendy: just like molten metal - as Bikram likes to think.

The net result of Bikram's method is a very challenging session - almost more of a workout than a chill-out. Yet, as with all types of yoga, the beneficial effects seep into the mind as well as the body. There's no need to be an expert in any type of yoga to attend classes. In fact, Bikram goes so far as to say that his system, if practiced at least three times a week, can have an enormously beneficial effect on some chronic illnesses - such as arthritis and thyroid problems.

Whatever you may think about the "cure all" claims, one thing for sure is that this yoga makes you sweat, and when you sweat: out pour toxins. That's got to be good.

Bikram and his wife Rajashree - Copyright Bikram

Bikram Yoga Information

When: Daily

Where: London

Cost: Drop in £12; other rates for special passes

Opening Hours: Various

Address: 173-175 Queens Crescent, London, NW5 4DS

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