The modern umbrella of yoga is an overall combination of ancient practices and the new world westernized culture. Under this umbrella is the holy grail of sweating it out—Bikram. Bikram is the baby of Indian-born American yoga sensation, Bikram Choudhury.
What is Bikram?
Not to be confused with hot yoga or warm vinyasa, Bikram is on another level when it comes to heating things up. Hot yoga tends to be conducted in rooms with an average temperature of around 90 degrees. It might not seem like much of a jump, but in person, Bikram trumps in extreme heat, ranging to 105 degrees.
A typical yoga class is about an hour to an hour and a half long, while Bikram classes will set you back three hours of your day. Talk about practice. Class time consists of a sequence of 26 hatha yoga postures performed in the trying heat. These poses were derived from existing practices to address all sorts of common physical ailments from an injured shoulder to a tight back.
Celebs Buy into Bikram
Choudury first introduced Bikram to 1970’s San Francisco, followed by an expansion to Beverly Hills. The new fitness craze gained speedy traction and earned the attention and endorsement of celebrity fitness enthusiasts alike.
Madonna, George Clooney, Jennifer Anniston, and Ashton Kutcher are just a few celebs that have sung its praises.
With echoing demands to be at a consistent level of exceptional physical shape in Hollywood and the entertainment industry, Bikram provided an avenue for cutting fat and building muscle while feeling exotic and trendy promoting it.
Jennifer Anniston even reported that she suspects it may have even contributed to a slight increase in height due to the effects on her spine that lead to realignment and straightening. David Beckham stated that he used Bikram yoga to extend his career so that he could continue playing in his 40’s.
Bikram: A Downward Dog?
What followed the enormous outbreak and succession of Bikram and its place in the yoga community, was a rapid decline and complete reversal of attitudes toward founder Bikram Choudhury. Various allegations berating Bikram’s credibility and overall character began to surface.
A flood of accusations attacking the formation of Bikram yoga, sexual harassment claims, racist comments, and reports of Choudhury’s misconduct shattered his reputation.
Previous students who paid steep amounts of cash to become Bikram certified described dark corners of his teachings, where he took advantage of his authority and engaged in outright offensive behavior. Events transpired into a $6.4 million sexual harassment suit, and a 2016 HBO documentary combing through the claims in question.
A Note from GR8NESS: Namaste in Peace
While Bikram yoga now carries the weight of negative association, it’s important to note that the misdoings of one person cannot and will not deplete the necessity and overall benefit of yoga. If you’re inclined to stay away, there’s always hot yoga.
If you or anyone you know has experienced any sexual harassment or discomfort, please feel encouraged to come forward to a mental health professional or law enforcement. You are not alone, GR8R days await.