Do you pine for svelte lines on your inner thighs? Bikram yoga provides full-body toning, which certainly includes the thighs. Although Bikram doesn't focus specifically on this body part, you will enjoy sculpting as the poses build lean muscle mass. One thing Bikram will not do, however, is remove fatty deposits from the thighs or elsewhere. That fat won't budge unless you embark on an overall weight-loss plan, which means you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. A 1,200-calorie daily intake should do the trick.
Bikram is for serious yoga athletes. It takes place in rooms heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity adjusted to 40 percent. Each class lasts a full hour and a half, and includes 26 different postures. Be prepared to sweat -- a lot. Founder Bikram Choudhury has also developed very specific rules for his practice. No music is allowed during class, and only certified Bikram instructors are allowed to teach. Advanced classes are prohibited in all but the Los Angeles studio.
Bikram for Sculpting
One of the lures of Bikram is its body-sculpting power; the sustained postures force muscles to contract, developing shape and definition. To sculpt your inner thighs, exercise must engage your adductor muscles. There are several Bikram poses that do just that: Tree Pose, Awkward Pose and Eagle Pose are examples. In addition, Bikram tones the rest of your thighs, legs, hips, core and upper body for balanced sculpting. This is important for posture as well as aesthetics.
Bikram can be brutal. Minimize your chances of injury by avoiding any poses that push your limits to the point of discomfort. If Bikram is too tough, ease into yoga with a gentler Hatha class. Because the high heat induces sweating, fluid loss is a major concern with Bikram. Guard against dehydration by showing up to class well-hydrated, water bottle in hand. If you feel dizzy, confused or weak at any point, leave the room at once. If you feel like you might pass out, lie down on your yoga mat.
To continue the sculpting action outside of the Bikram studio, work on body-weight moves that fit nicely into your living room. Strength-training exercises that work your adductors include side lunges and lying hip abductions. If you'd rather hit the gym, try hip abductions on the selectorized machine or hip internal rotations using a cable. Perform 12 repetitions of each chosen exercise, then take a break and perform another set. Never work your adductors or any other muscle group two days in a row, as this can cause injury from overuse.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.