Bikram Yoga key to Andy Murray's success against Federer    2008-03-05 01:31:12    

Edinburgh, Mar.5 : British tennis player Andy Murray has credited his defeat of Roger Federer in Dubai to an unorthodox yoga technique.
British tennis player Andy Murray has credited his defeat of Roger Federer in Dubai to an unorthodox yoga technique.

Conscious of a "mental weakness" which has afflicted him in the past, Murray has taken up Bikram Yoga, a particularly testing and extreme variant of the ancient spiritual practice.

The 20-year-old believes it has instilled him a stronger resolve to win.

His iron-willed defeat of Federer, the world No1, over three sets in the Barclays Dubai Open, saw Murray remain calm and composed - traits that he puts down to Bikram Yoga, or "Hot Yoga" as it is also known, reports The Scotsman.

Murry was introduced to the technique by his two new fitness trainers, Jez Green and Matt Little.

Bikram Yoga involves eye-watering stretches and complex poses. Carried out in a windowless room at temperatures in excess of 40C, with the company of around 20 others, few would deem it relaxing.

Indeed, Murray claimed it had been among the most testing experiences of his life and, since adopting the exercises in December, he has been keen to stress it is not a gentle pursuit.

He said: "It's a little bit ugly. I started in December to try to improve my flexibility in preparation for the Australian Open. It has helped me with my fitness and mental strength - it's tough being in that kind of heat for that length of time."

"The most important thing is to believe you can win the match. Too many times on the tour some guys try to play almost too well, and it's important to stay patient and not make rash decisions early in the match. I didn't do that - that's one of the keys. I stayed calm the whole way through the match," he added.

Bikram Choudhury, 61, devised Bikram Yoga. It offers a twist on the 5,000-year-old Indian practice of yoga, at which Choudhury was four times the Indian champion.

Rather than taking place in a sedate atmosphere, Bikram Yoga is carried out in temperatures of around 40C and humidity of at least 40 per cent, conditions designed to loosen muscles and help participants sweat out toxins.

It involves some 26 postures and two breathing exercises, which must be performed in a specific order.

A session normally lasts around 90 minutes, and costs from as little as 10 pounds at a growing number of centres around the UK. Talks are ongoing to bring it to Scotland.

Celebrity fans of Bikram Yoga include Madonna, George Clooney, Elle Macpherson and Robert Downey Junior. (ANI)
© 2007 ANI

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