For some reason, I had the time to sit down and watch a little television, and as luck would have it, Bikram Choudhury was being interviewed on 60 Minutes Wednesday. My wife, Marie and I don't often get home at that time of the night, as we are usually closing up the wellness center, so this was fate and a bit of luck. Our center does not have 105 degree Bikram classes or hot Yoga classes, but we are familiar with Bikram's style and his wife's many accomplishments.
Rajashree Choudhury is a five-time winner of the All-India Yoga Championship competition. I am not a Bikram fan, but I am not swayed by some of the anti-Bikram articles that work their way into the world of Yoga. Before I touch some of the finer points of his interview, I must concede that he snatched the lime light with exuberance and now I know why some love him, while others don't feel so warm and furry about him. I laughed at his rhetoric, equally, as much as watching Jerry Seinfeld or Ray Ramano, do a stand up comedy routine. The man is pure entertainment and he has a point. In reference to his style of yoga, he said " I don't sell cheesecake, you know that.
" The fact is anyone who visits a Bikram style Yoga class knows what they are getting into. How could you miss 105 degrees Fahrenheit? More to the point, America is a country of extremes and there are estimates that only 10% of the population exercises regularly. While another 35% of the population drift in and out of exercise depending upon the season, a fad, or a whim.
The remaining 55%, of America's population, have taken a pledge to avoid exercise at all costs. Maybe the "couch potatoes" can only grasp the concept of a "kick in the pants." Some people need a drill instructor personality and as Bikram would say, "torture chamber" to understand Yoga. America made him the "Guru of the Stars," and he understands public relations. Let's give credit, where credit is due.
If you love Yoga and missed this interview, see if you can catch the re-run. There is a strange need, on a massive scale, for "stern but loving parent" type teachers in Yoga classes. Now if you'll excuse me, I am about to organize the Extremely Hot Navy Seals Power Yoga Boot Camp.
Paul Jerard, is a co-owner/director of Yoga teacher training at Aura Wellness Center. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. He is a master instructor of martial arts. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness to children, adults, and seniors. Recently he wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students, who may be considering a new career as a Yoga teacher. http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org