On Bikram Yoga & Vegetarianism

Yogiraj Bikram Choudhury founder of the worldwide Yoga College of India's visit in Manila back in February 2011

26 postures sequence selected and developed by Bikram Choudhury in a 40 degrees hot room, it has been proved and experienced by millions that these asanas (postures) systematically work every part of the body, to give all the internal organs and vains including all the muscles they need to maintain optimum health and maximum function.

In a 60-90 minutes class “ If you come here [Bikram Yoga] early in the morning, you burn 1500 calories in a class before you eat. Since the body has no source of fuel but fat, your body changes from sugar burning to fat burning and then you get to lose that fat you’re aiming to get rid of in a healthy way while helping your entire body harmonize its system” says Vegan instructor Omar of Bikram Yoga Alabang.

When food is cooked above 118 degrees for 3 minutes or longer, it’s protein has become coagulated. It’s natural sugar caramelize, it’s actual fibers have broken down, which means it will take longer for our intestines to tract. ” [The Philippines] There’s an abundance [of] whole foods, there’s a huge section of greens,red, and orange; everything is great and vibrant” shares Omar who’s been vegan for 15 years;  “Organics aren’t hard to find, they’re so colorful to miss.” as we exchanged views on our dietary preference.

Although many yoga practitioners are strict vegans, this does not require to those who want to practice Bikram Yoga. What’s good about being Vegan or Vegetarian? “ With the Vegan diet: we eat whole foods, we eat lots of raw foods, we eat lots of food. period.  With the Vegetarian per se,  that’s also a really great diet but they want to stir clear of dairy stuff before you come into this room because when come to think about it, we’re heating the body from inside-out, we’re going to raise your internal core temperature upwards to 40 degrees”

30% to 50% of our foods vitamins and minerals have been destroyed and 10% of what’s left on it’s enzymes have been decomposed. Cooked food deplete our body’s enzyme potential and drains the energy we need to maintain and repair from toxins. ” with all that available food, I also find that Philippine cuisine is [that it’s] been cooked, and cooked some more then [being] fried; and so those among whole foods are deteriorated into this substance that isn’t necessarily nutritious, and so when you want to start yoga, you may want to evaluate your diet”

There’s no golden rule that when you practice Bikram Yoga (or any Yoga) you’d have to transform yourself less of the carnivore. “Those who are still eating animals: chicken is great, fish is great, even beef is great but you may want to look for high grade meats; meats that aren’t overly saturated on a fatty sauce, does not have marbling. you may want to go as lean as possible”  He advised.

Keeping in tune with the spirit of Yoga, ensuring that all the food you eat is as close as to its original form as possible.  In terms of  helping your body to normalize for your weight, aiming for weight loss and better health, devoting a regular practice, at least, but preferably 3 or more times per week is suggested to harmonize the digestion and respiration, as well as endocrine, lymphatic and elimination systems.

“Just like in running [or in any sport], you want to have a sustaining source of fuel. you may want to eat all throughout the course of the day, 6 meals a day. If you have a desk job, have some soaked nuts or something, you can snack on some raisins, carrots, peanut butter or whatever but eat consistently and drink a lot of water – feed it, water it, just like a plant, it’ll grow“ As he explain why Bikram Yoga is just like how you feed your body in whichever activity we choose to practice.

As you progress in your practice in yoga, you will begin to understand your body better and are able to differentiate between hunger pangs and food cravings. “[as you evaluate your diet] you don’t necessarily need radical change but definitely see if there’s something you can do better. [we] all know to eat more greens, eat more fruits, drink more water. Those things, we know that, but it’s just a matter of doing it.”

When you turn vegan or vegetarian, the misconception that you’ll feel weak and malnourished is not exactly true. “Most of the time, the vegan diet is inundated by enhanced foods” pertaining to the enhanced food such as gluten as meat substitutes which causes weight gain. “ you May want to go for the dense whole foods for the functional benefits alone. There’s a direct correlation- what you feed your body is how your body is going to fuel itself. Feed it with garbage, your body has to spend energy to retried your energy – an added deficit. The Vegan diet to your body is easy to tear apart – detox.”

Practicing yoga not only helps you towards the food you eat  but more importantly it also increases supply of oxygen in your body but also it teaches us how to use our oxygen properly, through learning the control of breath — pranayama.

It’s not too late to hop into yoga and for those who aim to succeed and are up for change, a 30-days challenge has just started and everyone is welcome to catch up and join.

Bikram Yoga Alabang is located at 2nd Floor Commerce Center Commerce Ave., Filinvest Muntinlupa City and contact them through 8426-5496 for more details and class schedules.

Published: July 7, 2011

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