Welcome to SPN

Register and Join the most happening forum of Sikh community & intellectuals from around the world.

Sign Up Now!

Yogism Yoga's 'bad boy' Bikram Choudhury makes no apologies

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by spnadmin, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    Celebrity guru Bikram Choudhury, the self-described "busiest man in the world," said he always makes time to shop Robson Street.

    "It takes six hours," the L.A.-based yoga mogul said, before laughing: "And I buy all the junk. I love it, you know?"

    So in-between giving a sold-out lecture to more than 400 people at the Edgewater Casino tonight - and judging the Western Canadian Hatha Yoga Championships Sunday - Choudhury says he'll find time for some retail release.

    It's his "disease," he chuckled, describing his love of shopping.

    Speaking with Choudhury, founder of the hot and sweaty Bikram Yoga empire, including more than 350 affiliated studios around the world, is an entertaining and slightly dizzying experience.

    The 63-year-old charmer easily hops from topic to topic. And he's especially effusive about the benefits of his trademarked Bikram Yoga, a 90-minute class distinguished from other yoga styles by a series of 26 postures practiced in a set order, in a hot room of about 37 degrees C.

    "I offer longest life - not life in a wheelchair," he said. "Life. Quality life. The best life possible [that] any human being can offer you. That, I do my job."

    It's a job he's been doing for more than five decades.

    Choudhury first began his yoga journey when he was three years old. Two years later, he said, he met his guru, Bishnu Ghosh and began doing yoga for "at least" four to six hours daily at Ghosh's College of Physical Education in Calcutta, winning the National India Yoga Championship when he was 13.

    During this time, he said, he first began to notice the impact of heat on his body.

    "When room is more hot then I can sweat more, I can stretch more, I can push more, I can go more deeper and deeper and inside the body, it hurts less and you never get injury," he said, recalling early days in India when he'd shut doors to keep in the heat.

    "So I developed this with my own practice," he said. "Years and years and years and years."

    From the beginning, he said, his style of yoga has appealed to celebrities, from film stars to politicians.

    "I always teach celebrities, all my life," he said, recalling a class he taught in the early 1970s that was packed with "superstars" gathered together by his famous student Shirley MacLaine.

    "That's the way it started. So they called me 'guru of the stars,' from day one," he said, casually mentioning other famous Bikram students such as Tiger [Woods] by first name only. "Now, it's not a big deal." Other famous hardbodies reported to be fans of Bikram's include the likes of Madonna, Elle Macpherson and George Clooney.

    Choudhury says he has little time for anyone who expects special treatment.

    "This is the way I run my kingdom: my way or the highway," he said, in a tone that leaves little room for dispute.

    "I don't listen to anybody. You need my help: come to me, shut up, forget who you are. I will take care of you. And I do my job."

    This means following instructions as he leads a group through exercises, from breathing techniques to more challenging balancing postures.

    He likens the focused group dynamic of a Bikram class to the military: "All the bad boys in the marine corp army, the commander beats the s--t out of them together - one, it's not possible," he says, adding the rules apply to everyone in the group.

    "They have to listen to the dialogue. So 90 minutes, first time in your life, your brain is free from the rest of the world. You relax. That is not possible privately."

    He said he loves teaching people his system, even if his schedule can be grueling.

    "Oh my god. It's more than love. It's my life," he said. He keeps a book of testimonials.

    "Millions of people told me, 'Bikram, I was a vegetable, couldn't walk, your yoga saved my life, changed my life.' . . I get so many compliments every single day."

    But the outspoken teacher also attracts a good deal of controversy.

    Critics question everything from the benefits of a heated space to the competitions associated with Bikram Yoga, such as Sunday's championship in Vancouver, to Choudhury's copyrighting of his Bikram Yoga set. (Only those certified and licensed by Choudhury can teach Bikram Yoga. And franchisees, or owners of Bikram Yoga studios, pay a $10,000 "initial franchise fee" as well as monthly fees, outlined on bikramyoga.com.)

    Not to mention the minimalist attire favoured by the oft shirtless and micro-shorted Choudhury - and many of his students.

    "I know people judge him and he can maybe say some controversial things," said Lisa Pelzer, owner of two Bikram Yoga studios in Vancouver which attract hundreds of students every day.

    But she said this is part of his teaching: "From what I've seen in over the last 13 years that I've been practicing is that he kind of says things to people that they need to hear."

    Truth isn't easy to swallow, said Choudhury, who doesn't seem to mind causing a stir or being tagged "Yoga's bad boy" by Yoga Journal.

    "I have the biggest and the longest mouth in the world," he said. "Everybody's scared of my mouth. You know why? I speak the truth."
    This is tough for people, he said.

    "Truth is the most bitter to accept, swallow and digest it. The moment you speak truth, you lose your popularity. But I don't care," he said.
    "I yell, scream, fight with my truth."

    Forwarded by forum member Tejwant Singh ji Malik
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Loading...

    Similar Threads Forum Date
    USA Indian-Americans Hindu group stirs a debate over yoga's soul Breaking News Nov 28, 2010

  3. Sarangi

    Sarangi
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    12
    Unfortunately, he's a sell out and what does his 'yoga' yoga with, if you get my drift?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    Well, he would drive me crazy. In fact he gives me the creeps. Too much "personal magnetism" and enthusiasm if you get my drift. ;) And I really wish these people would wear more clothes.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    #3 spnadmin, Dec 9, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2009
  5. AusDesi

    AusDesi
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2009
    Messages:
    347
    Likes Received:
    211
    If Paul Mcartney started a business selling rock and threatened anyone who used it with his techniques, there would be an uproar about it. However, that is not the case with Bikram Chaudhary and Hot Yoga. You cannot say a thing about it because the number of lawsuits you will get on you is too many to count.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Sarangi

    Sarangi
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    12
    There is a massive wider issue with copyright hidden here.

    I've heard of them trying to copyright living organisms in the biotech industry, and even genes.Only in the US can you breathe and then attempt try to copyright such a thing!

    I've not surprised by such a culture, when they practically destroyed the Native American way of live by serial land treaties, essentially 'lawful' acquisition of land.

    Lastly, I am not surprised most Americans will love this 'yoga' - it comes with none of the true meaning of yoga (as I eluded to in my first post on this thread), they have to pay for it and it's sanitized, yet appeals to the exotic the mystic east and fits their idea of perfect body. In other words, they don't have to change anything in their mind set to accept it, it fits them perfectly, so is perfectly acceptable to do. Even if it doesn't they'll make it fit their mindset, by imposing their value sets upon it , to make it 'theirs'. And when someone challenges them on it, they'll say that they are right - totally negating that fact that their cultural upbringing has completely tainted their perspective of things. One cannot reason with such people as they are already convinced they are right. Such is the way of the world.

    Check out the steps india is doing in response to such copyrighters:

    Yoga copyright raises questions of ownership - USATODAY.com
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    sarangi ji

    Your comment: I am not surprised most Americans will love this 'yoga' - it comes with none of the true meaning of yoga (as I eluded to in my first post on this thread), they have to pay for it and it's sanitized, yet appeals to the exotic the mystic east and fits their idea of perfect body. In other words, they don't have to change anything in their mind set to accept it, it fits them perfectly, so is perfectly acceptable to do. Even if it doesn't they'll make it fit their mindset, by imposing their value sets upon it , to make it 'theirs'. And when someone challenges them on it, they'll say that they are right - totally negating that fact that their cultural upbringing has completely tainted their perspective of things.

    I agree 100 percent with this. It is a form of cultish thinking without having to join a "cult." The ashram is sprinkled here and there wherever a practitioner and his/her associates can be found. The talk is light and breezy, but definitely sends the message that some are in the "know" and others -- well they cannot be expected to shape up mentally and physically unless they buy in too. Lots and lots of money is handed over. "Belong and do it right" but at a cost.
     

Share This Page