Bikram yoga and Vinyasa yoga are very different styles of yoga. Bikram yoga is derived from Hatha yoga, which consists of 26 postures. Vinyasa yoga is derived from Ashtanga yoga, and can consist of a number of different postures depending on the instructor.
Bikram yoga was founded by Bikram Choudhury during the 1970s; it is a form of "hot" yoga, meaning it takes place in a heated studio at a minimum temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Classes are typically 90 minutes long and consist of a set sequence of 26 poses and two breathing exercises.
Vinyasa means "flow" or "breath-synchronized movement" in Sanskrit, and Vinyasa yoga poses are designed to flow seamlessly into each other. The poses are performed in a rapid sequence without pausing or resting in between, and each pose is linked to either an inhalation or exhalation. The pace and sequence can vary greatly from class to class, but most typically begin with Sun Salutation.
Because of the high temperature, Bikram yoga might not be appropriate for those who are just beginning to practice yoga. People with heart conditions or low or high blood pressure should avoid Bikram yoga. Vinyasa yoga can also be physically challenging, so it is best to find an introductory class to learn what to expect.
Though Bikram and Vinyasa are very different styles of yoga, they have similar benefits. The heat from a Bikram yoga studio and the body heat generated during a Vinyasa yoga class cause students to sweat, ridding the body of toxins. Both styles also help improve flexibility, endurance and strength.
Tayla Holman started writing in 2006, specializing in technology, health and wellness, and diet and nutrition. She is a graduate of Hofstra University, earning her B.A. in print journalism and English.