Bikram Yoga

I've recently stumbled across a depressing sensation: Bikram's Yoga: i.e. sweat box yoga. And so I'm going to capitalize on this exceedingly depressive mood to share with you a tid bit about this in hopes that its sensation status dies out quickly. Very quickly please please please. And in my sharings, everything in quotations comes directly to you word-for-word from Bikram himself.

The purpose: "Bikram's Yoga is designed to scientifically warm and stretch muscles, ligaments and tendons, in the order in which they should be stretched." This is curious considering there is no order. This is all make-believe. Ligaments aren't affected by each other. You could argue that two joint muscles can have the muscle and associated tendon stretched by the extension of either joint. But that's not order-based and according to actual physiology, nothing else is either. Being as that's the purpose of Bikram's yoga, directly quoted, and it makes no sense, there's really no further reason to continue discussing this. But we will anyway. Because it's hilarious.

The methodology: "Bikram Yoga's twenty-six posture exercises systematically move fresh, oxygenated blood to one hundred percent of your body, to each organ and fiber, restoring all systems to healthy working order, just as Nature intended." Okay, let's assess this. Regarding the delivery of fresh oxygenated blood to 100% of your body, A) this is false. There's areas of your body that don't use aerobic energy. B) the areas that do use aerobic energy, all get much less oxygen delivery during Bikram's yoga than virtually any other time in your entire life. I'll explain the physiology of this in a minute, so keep reading. But in the mean time, understand that this quote (which is his entire explanation for the methodology) is pure lie. Regardless of how you look at it, reality is exactly the opposite of what he is telling you. But despite the now-100%-disproven purpose and methodology, I do like how he capitalized "Nature" in the middle of his sentence. Bikram's sad. Okay, moving on...

The results: "Proper weight, muscle tone, vibrant good health, and a sense of well-being will automatically follow." We'll look at "proper weight" first via me addressing a short series of facts. 1. Your body cannot effectively use oxidative phosphorylation in extreme heat- instead using predominantly glycolysis. 2. Aerobic metabolism requires oxidative phosphorylation- not glycolysis. 3. Aerobic metabolism is the only method of utilizing fat as an energy source. Now, what these three facts tell you is this: if you're losing weight to attain this "proper weight," it's muscle, bone, and water. This will cause your body to have a higher bodyfat percent, being as you've lost almost strictly lean body mass and no bodyfat whatsoever. So if "proper weight" has anything to do with the composition of your body, this is a physiological impossibility (further physiological explanation coming soon). Next result: "muscle tone." We all know every human being is comprised of the same muscles, and whether they are toned or not is determined by how much fat is covering them. I just finished explaining how it's physiologically impossible to lose fat in this, so muscle tone, which is dependent on your fat loss, is also out of the question. The next two, "vibrant good health, and a sense of well-being" are totally meaningless. These things mean absolutely nothing. They're just words. Please read them again and giggle some. And if you do in fact understand exactly what these things are referring to, you've got mental disabilities, because I'm telling you it's nothing.

So we just finished assessing literally every single word in the introduction, and there was not one piece of legitimate information. The only thing we were able to do, was disprove the entire purpose, methodology, and every possible benefit. I'll keep writing, but don't feel you have to read it unless you're a huge moron and still wish to participate in Bikram's Yoga. Or if you find it as comical as I do that enough morons exist that I'm forced to write this and these morons are not you. This is a slightly more ideal scenario for you to be in. We continue...

If you're still reading, I'm going to give you a special bonus sentence: "how supple your muscles and joints have become in comparison to the point at which you began." I'm not going to comment on this, I just want you to read it some times with your suppleness.

Okay, now we'll get crackin' again with the content- and first things first: "How does Bikram Yoga work? By the tourniquet effect." Wow. Wow this is so meaningless it's mind-numbing. Luckily, a little more information is provided afterwards, mentioning balancing and stretching, then going into length about pressure. But the balancing and stretching part is what yoga is. This has nothing to do with Bikram yoga specifically. Just keeping you posted. But regarding pressure, it says this: "The blood supply in arteries and veins is being cut off, creating pressure. When released, a lock gate effect is created, causing blood to rush through veins and arteries, flushing them out. Also, pressure is applied to the heart by its relative position to the rest of the body." Okay, flex your arm for a second. Seriously do it, don't keep reading until you've done it. Done? Perfect. You just experienced the "lock gate effect." Note that "lock gate effect" is a made up term that's actually called ischemia and reperfusion. I can understand what he's trying to say, and I'll forgive him for his made up expression on grounds that he probably doesn't know the real words. Anyway, what happens is this: you occlude blood flow, then it is returned upon the relaxation of the muscle. It happens every time you flex a muscle all day long. Hold a bag of groceries, pull the recliner lever, shake somebody's hand, you're going through this process- and aside from the fact that Bikram is taking credit for the most routine thing in your physical existence, claiming that it's being harnessed to benefit your veins and arteries is a colossal exaggeration. Lastly, "pressure applied to the heart by its relative position to the rest of the body" tries to sound good, but what little sense it does make is not really a benefit in any way.

Next section: "What is happening in my body?" "Muscles are contracted and stretched at a cellular, biochemical level." I swear to you, you've never done anything in life that has refrained from flexing and stretching muscles at a cellular, biochemical level. There's no other level they can contract or be stretched on. Nonstop 24-hours per day this is taking place. "Lipids and proteins reorganize optimally in such stretching, allowing for better circulation." Aside from the fact that I'm not certain what he's trying to get at with 'reorganizing energy compounds', it wouldn't influence circulation anyway. "The lymph nodes are massaged" What? This makes no sense at all. None. "There is compression and extension to the thymus, spleen, appendix and intestines; lungs are stretched and flushed out by increased blood circulation." The very little amount of this that makes sense is hysterically inaccurate. If you take into consideration that anatomy exists, this seems like a joke. But it's not, so it's just sad. Anyway, moving along: "The endocrine glands are encouraged to secrete appropriate hormones, and the communication between hormones and various glands and systems of the body is perfected." This is actually vastly untrue to the extent of being almost exactly opposite of what really happens. "Bikram's Yoga is actually very good for toning the reproductive system." The word "toning" has no purpose being in that sentence. If you removed the word toning, it would actually make sense. Then the only problem would be that it had no truth to it- but that's still a step in the right direction. "Toxins and waste are eliminated through the organs of elimination." Honestly, if you don't understand the material, don't write it. "Waste" from "the organs of elimination." Please. "The nerves are stimulated by compression and extension, improving communication within the systems of the body and  supplying fresh blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout." Again, the parts that do mean something simply aren't true on any level whatsoever. "The brain is stimulated by improved circulation and by varying blood pressure." First off you're not going to improve circulation to the brain. If it can be improved, you're having a permanent stroke. Second, varying blood pressure to your brain will cause one thing: syncope. This is you passing out.

And then that's it. That's the methodology on the larger, drawn-out scale. That's everything. And I promise, everything accounts to nothing. It's a complete waste of time. I hope you realize this. There's no benefit you can attain from it unless it's making you feel better about yourself as a person. But I feel better as a person too, as I have come to the realization that countless morons have subscribed to this hilariousness, and I haven't. So in comparison, I appear fantastic. This makes me feel good about being me.

The problem with being you though, is not the shear stupidity in falling for a horrendous fitness scheme, it's your now likely failing health. "It is not unusual to feel nauseous or dizzy during your first class." Although this seems obvious, I feel I still need to mention it: this is bad. And not only that, it goes on. "If you feel disoriented or like you need a good nap after your first few classes, this is likely because your body has begun to cleanse itself as a result of the yoga practice." Wow. No it hasn't. You're hurting your body really bad, so it's trying to shut down. That's what's happening on the macro-level. However, " In the beginning, do the Full Class religiously each day for two months." The bold is theirs, not mine. Additionally, "If you are restricted by any medical condition or have any chronic disease, you should continue daily until your condition is resolved." I don't know what to say to this. I feel you should already be offended without me chiming in.

But to come back to less offensive stuff, read this, it's funny: "How good is this Yoga habit? Look at someone who has been doing this yoga for over twenty or thirty years. Don't ask their ages. They have become timeless." I swear to you my literary talent exceeded this when I was six and two thirds years old. I'm sorry, I have to make these comments.

We'll get back to the more necessary information now. Earlier I made a couple "I'll explain the physiology in a minute" promises- so here goes... The scientific disproof works like this: heat and the hypothalamus are both things that exist. If those two things didn't exist, Bikram's yoga might stand a chance with science, but that's not worth discussing considering those two things do unquestionably exist. Your body's temperature regulation system is essentially what's key here. It is controlled by the hypothalamus, whereby thermal sensors detect your temperature, and activate effector mechanisms to increase or decrease the body's ability to dissipate heat according to the need. In Bikram's Yoga, the need is obviously to dissipate heat, as your body will otherwise suffer functional loss, considering homeostasis is both real and highly important. And further consideration that excessive body temperature is probably the most obvious way to force your body out of homeostasis, the ability to dissipate heat is on the top of your body's agenda.

There's a problem however. Due to the fact that the yoga being practiced is "Bikram's" the environment you're in does not allow for heat dissipation to occur at a rate fast enough to match the increasing metabolic heat production. Basically that means this: you using calories creates heat. At the onset of exercise, this rate can increase to about 20 times the resting rate, linearly increasing your internal body temperature by a margin of about 6 degrees. This amount vastly exceeds the amount of cooling your body can experience due to sweating, as the sweat must be evaporated to dissipate any heat at all. And in your little Bikram room, the environment is not suited for evaporation, so sweat collects on the surface of your skin. Guess what positive outcome this produces? It increases your internal body temperature even further. Yay for a hot, hot you.

And when you reach this level of body heat with no mechanism to cool yourself, legitimate science continues to happen. And legitimate science is bad for Bikram fans. It looks something like this: exercising muscle cells require more oxygen to be delivered while producing more carbon dioxide. Cellular metabolism to meet their energy demands must be maintained, and maintaining it requires the use of the circulatory system for blood transport. However, when the internal body temperature rises, as Bikram is hugely responsible for, the circulatory system begins moving fluids to the periphery in hopes for a cooling effect. The greater the heat, the greater the amount of cutaneous blood flow to counteract it.

Part of this is attributed to vasodilation, and when the cutaneous blood vessels are affected, the venus return declines. So the heart essentially receives less blood, and therefore the stroke volume experiences a parallel decline. Through all of this (lower stroke volume in addition to blood being detracted to the surface), the working tissues are being delivered less oxygen and energy substrates. This causes a decrease in the partial pressure of oxygen, increasing the reliance for your body to use the anaerobic energy cycle, glycolysis, whereby the partial pressure of carbon dioxide is then increased. Chemoreceptors in the carotid and aortic arteries sense these partial pressure differences and send nerve impulses to the brain to increase your ventilation, i.e. your breathing frequency.

This is important. This means, that you can know first hand the exact moment that the side effects will begin to take place due to this sweet, sweet exercise regimen. All you have to do is keep a close check on your breathing. The second the pace quickens, you know without a doubt that your body is experiencing all sorts of functional loss and that there's no way in Hades any negligible amount of body fat will be utilized. Phewf...

That said, I feel you should now know enough about our little Bikram phenom. Personally, I really don't understand how this has caught on. It's seriously popular. Bikram Yoga is. Do we have to be this ridiculous? This practice is huge in New York. And it has been now for several years. That means we've been this ridiculous for at least that long. This depresses me to the deepest extent a human can ever experience. People in New York are usually regarded as educated. How did this happen? You guys are the ones doing this little trend- please tell me.