Bikram Yoga Origins
Article by Yun Ji
Bikram Yoga is a system of yoga that Bikram Choudhury synthesized from traditional yoga techniques. Bikram’s classes run exactly 90 minutes and consist of a set series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises.
Each pose is a challenge based on one’s personal abilities. The postures are done in the safe environment of a heated room so that deep penetration can relieve one’s body resistance without risking injury.
By the end of a class session, each individual will have worked every muscle, tendon, joint, ligament, internal organ, and gland while systematically moving fresh, oxygenated blood to 100% of the body. The result is restoration of health to all systems.
Bikram Choudhury is the yoga guru who started teaching this method in the early 70’s. Here is his story:
At age eleven, Bikram Choudhury was the youngest contestant to win the national India Yoga Competition. At age 20, a weightlifting accident crippled Bikram. He retired from the sport and began practicing yoga professionally. Six months later, with the guidance of his internationally renowned teacher, Bishnu Ghosh, Bikram came to realize that yoga can cure chronic physical ailments.
Bikram decided to teach his curative methods of yoga to other enthusiasts, and thus, Bikram yoga began. Bikram arrived in the United States in 1973 and quickly became the foremost yoga teacher in the West as celebrities, athletes and others began to flock to him. Since that time he has been healing thousands of students at his school in Los Angeles and traveling the world extensively, bringing the benefits of Bikram yoga to millions of students worldwide.
Bikram started opening yoga schools, firstly in India and around the world. In Japan working alongside doctors at the Tokyo University Hospital, Bikram was able to prove the medical benefits of his yoga system. These findings were presented in 1972 at the International Medical Conference in Kyoto.
In addition to anecdotal evidence regarding the benefits of a regular practice, Bikram has engaged in research with some leading research hospitals. In a medical research project at Tokyo University, Bikram helped doctors prove that yoga practice helps regenerate tissues and alleviates chronic ailments. There are currently several exciting studies being done to confirm the medical benefits of Bikram yoga, including one by University of Southern California and one at the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center testing bone density improvement through Bikram Yoga.
This sentence from Bikram became famous:”It’s never too late, it’s never too bad, and you’re never too old or too sick to start from scratch once again…”
About the Author
Yun Ji, certified Bikram Yoga teacher.General manager of the Bikram Yoga Shanghai studio in Shanghai, China.
Check out the website: Bikram Yoga Shanghai