The History of Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga pic
Bikram Yoga
Image: yogajournal.com

Lee Hnetinka, a successful San Francisco-based entrepreneur, founded the e-commerce logistics company Darkstore in early 2016. When not handling the day-to-day operations of the innovative company, Lee Hnetinka practices Bikram yoga.

Bikram yoga is based on poses from the much older tradition of Hatha yoga, which traces back thousands of years. The founder of Bikram yoga, Bikram Choudhury, merged 26 Hatha poses into a standardized routine that he believed promoted physical health. This routine is usually performed for an hour and a half in a humid room with a temperature between 90 and 95 degrees.

Mr. Choudhury began to teach his system to students at the Bikram’s Yoga College of India, which grew in popularity. Today, there are over 300 Bikram yoga studios in the United States alone. Each course is led by an instructor who has passed a rigorous, specialized training program.

Though Bikram yoga hasn’t been studied intensively, the yoga poses it incorporates have been shown to reduce blood pressure, lower stress levels, and increase flexibility. Additionally, the higher temperatures may improve blood flow and help oxygen reach muscle tissue, making practitioners more flexible.

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An Overview of Bikram Yoga Conditions

Lee Hnetinka
Lee Hnetinka and friends | Mr. Hnetinka previously served three years as the chief executive officer of the one-hour delivery digital application WunWun. 

For the last two years, Lee Hnetinka has managed operations at Darkstore in New York City as chief executive officer. When he is not engaging with e-commerce brands and overseeing Darkstore’s operations and expansion throughout the country, Lee Hnetinka stays physically fit by practicing Bikram yoga.

Bikram yoga, alternatively known as hot yoga, is one of the more popular forms of yoga in the United States. Bikram yoga sessions typically last 90 minutes and take place in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit at 40 percent humidity. The relatively extreme conditions provide yogis with a number of full body benefits. That said, individuals who have never tried Bikram yoga before should discuss the concept with more experienced practitioners and, ideally, a trusted physician.

Bikram Yogapic
Bikram Yoga
Image: livestrong.com

Studies have shown that an individual’s core temperature can exceed 100 degrees during a Bikram yoga session, putting certain individuals at risk for heat intolerance and similar conditions. While Bikram yoga is still considered safe and both physically and mentally beneficial, it is important to remain properly hydrated over the course of sessions and to understand and respond to one’s physical limitations. Individuals should be particularly alert with regard to their physical well being during their first few sessions, as it may take time for the body to acclimate to the heat and humidity.

About the author
Lee Hnetinka
Lee Hnetinka

A graduate of the University at Buffalo with a bachelor of science in marketing, Lee Hnetinka serves as chief executive officer of Darkstore, which he cofounded in 2016. In his leadership role, Lee Hnetinka heads a company that provides e-commerce brands with space to store inventory at delivery fulfillment centers, or Darkstores, in New York, San Francisco, and Phoenix. From these centers, Darkstore offers same-day shipping and even one-hour shipping for these e-commerce brands, which include Tuft & Needle and Luma.

What Is Bikram Yoga?

Lee Hnetinka
Lee Hnetinka | Darkstore sets itself apart from its closest competitors by working with both new on-demand couriers, such as UberRUSH, and traditional shipping organizations, such as FedEx and UPS

Darkstore, a company offering an incredible delivery experience to e-commerce brands around the globe, was co-created by its CEO, Lee Hnetinka. Lee Hnetinka practices Bikram yoga in his free time.

Bikram Yoga pic
Bikram Yoga
Image: bikramyoga.com

Bikram yoga pushes the body to the limit, but also helps to send blood to the muscles, eliminate pain, and sharpen the mind. First gaining popularity in the 1970s, Bikram yoga is practiced by repeating the same 26 poses during a 90-minute class in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The humidity is kept high, and practitioners claim that as a result, many toxins are ejected from the body. Weight loss, improved blood flow, and more flexibility are also reported benefits. Drinking plenty of water before a class is vital, with eight to nine glasses on the day of class recommended.

Practicing Bikram yoga on a full stomach is not ideal, with a simple banana or cup of applesauce considered enough to energize a person for the hour and a half class. When assuming the poses, a specific type of breathing is used, which can be difficult for beginners. However, after a bit of practice, Bikram yoga can be a positive and healthy routine.

The Benefits of Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga pic
Bikram Yoga
Image: breakingmuscle.com

As CEO of Darkstore in New York City, Lee Hnetinka dedicates his time to creating the best possible delivery experience for ecommerce customers. To stay healthy both physically and mentally, Lee Hnetinka practices Bikram yoga, a specialized type of hot yoga meant to detoxify the body while healing many types of chronic pain.

Consisting of a sequence of 26 precise postures and two breathing exercises completed over 90 minutes in a room heated to around 100 degrees, Bikram Yoga is a demanding yet highly beneficial practice, gaining popularity worldwide.

Physically, it greatly improves flexibility, and the heat of the room causes the body to sweat out toxins. Further, according to a 2014 study, 94 percent of participants said their sleep had gotten better after a year of regular Bikram yoga practice. Other benefits range from improved balance and mobility to better-quality blood flow. This, in turn, improves the immune system, protecting the body from illnesses. This type of yoga also helps with metabolic and digestive functions, making it easier to lose weight outside of class.