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Bikram yoga can be intense because of high temperatures.
Bikram yoga is a type of hot yoga built around 26 basic poses. You'll be in a room with 40 percent humidity heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Yoga practice can help improve muscle flexibility and strength, according to a 2013 study published in the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research." To maximize the benefits to your hips, you'll need to specifically target them, focusing on poses that increase flexibility and strength. In a Bikram yoga class, you'll hold poses for one minute for the first set and 30 seconds for the second set. If you're practicing poses on your own, aim for at least 10 seconds, and work up to 60 seconds per pose.
Yoga and Hips
According to "Yoga Journal," tension in the hips -- particularly the hip flexors -- is a major contributor to back pain. This tension is common among people who live sedentary lives or who spend long periods of time sitting. Your hip flexors help lift your legs when you're standing and can lift your torso when you're lying down. Consequently, many Bikram yoga poses indirectly work the hip flexors as you transition into them.
The toe stand opens up your hips, stretching and strengthening your hips and legs. Beginning in the Tree pose, bend your left knee and position your foot in front of your right thigh, while balancing your weight on your right leg. Then bend forward, using your hands on the floor for support. Get into an upright position with your rear close to the ground, balancing on the ball of your right foot. Switch sides -- this time balancing on your left foot -- to get an even workout for both hips.
Wind Removing Pose
The Wind Removing pose directly targets and strengthens your hip flexors, and can improve their range of motion. Lie on your back with your spine straight and legs extended out in front of you. Bend your left knee and draw your leg up to your chest, while keeping your spine straight. Put your hands around your left knee, then pull your head up toward your knee. Repeat the process with the right knee.
Half Tortoise Poses
The Half Tortoise pose stretches and strengthens your hips, thighs and back. To adopt this pose, sit on your knees, then bend your torso forward until your face is close to the ground. Extend your arms out above your head, and focus on straightening your spine to get the fullest stretch possible.