Bikram Practice vs. BIkram Chowdhury

Can I call myself a staunch feminist and still practice Bikram yoga?

This is but one of many articles that describe the offensive things that Bikram Chowdhury is accused of doing. It’s a tough read – especially if you are a pretty committed Bikram practitioner as I am. He is sexist, racist, homophobic, has an issue with interracial marriage (and as such, would have an issue with me as I am the direct product of an interracial marriage). He has been accused of sexual harassment and rape. He is a mysogonist of the highest degree and the only people who disagree with this assessment seem to be completely brainwashed by him.

But I LOVE LOVE LOVE the practice. I love that it is the same wherever I go. I love that it is familiar and still challenging. Because I know each pose so well, I can really lose myself in the practice and get deeper in to the postures. I love that I can go to class in East Harlem or by work or on a trip to LA or Hawaii and walk in to a new studio and have the same practice. It is comforting. It honestly brings me joy.

In 2015, I would like to go to teacher training – not to necessarily become a teacher (I am terrified by public speaking) but because I would like to deepen my practice. And if I find the courage to share my love of yoga with others, that would be nice too. Originally I thought I would got o Bikram teacher training. However, it is INSANELY expensive and takes two months. If you read the article, you’ll see that many people take out a loan for the teacher training and then another to open a studio. With all this debt, women often feel trapped – they have made such an investment, they feel they have to continue forward even if Bikram himself has treated them poorly or even harassed them, or worse case scenario raped them. My teacher told me that she just turned a blind eye to him personally and took from the training what she needed. But I don’t think I could do that. If I saw him doing half of what is described in the article, and in law suits, I would have to say something. I also don’t have $11K to drop nor can I take two months off from my life (work, kids, husband).

I am looking at other studios that provide teacher training – studios in NYC that cost a third of what Bikram asks. And I am continuing my practice as I love the studios I frequent and especially enjoy supporting a black, female owned business. I will continue practicing Bikram Yoga and I will continue to dislike the man himself. I will disconnect one from the other. But if Yoga to the People ever opens a location in Harlem, I may have to give it a go.

Namaste.

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10 thoughts on “Bikram Practice vs. BIkram Chowdhury

  1. Nice post – I appreciate what you wrote. I have never taken a Bikram or other hot vinyasa-style class, but I am currently a teacher trainee (not affiliated with any particular school of yoga, although one of teachers is of the sivananda tradition). The average teacher training program in the Chicago Area seems to run around $3k. I know that Mr. Choudhury has tried to patent his series, but to my knowledge he has yet to be successful (https://www.yogaalliance.org/Learn/Article_Archive/bikram_lawsuits_4_18_2013). You clearly are very knowledgeable and could certainly lead a Bikram sequence under the title of a hot yoga class. Yoga teacher training programs are great at deepening your practice, and the RYT-200 certification will give you the credentials needed to teach in most studios without forcing you to spend $11k and disappear from life for 2 months. I’m sure you already know all of this, but wanted to mention it in the event you didn’t. Looking forward to learning if you decide to enroll in a program somewhere!

    Om Shanti,

    Kristi

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my post. And this information, while not completely new to me, is super supportive and helpful. Nice to have someone confirm what I have been researching. It’s just me and my computer, and my two kids – but they aren’t all that knowledgable on the subject of teacher training.

      Best of luck with your own program!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, finally I found any that formed my thoughts into Words when it comes to bikram yoga teacher training. I hate bikram but I love the Bikram yoga and I really would love to become a teacher, as you I was considering going now 2015… Maybe we can support each other? πŸ˜‰

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    1. I can’t bring myself to give that man 11K but fully understand the dilema. Have you thought about Yoga to the People or another hot yoga program? YTTP has a similar cadence to BIkram without the nastiness.

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  3. It also seems that you are a very bright woman. I just read an email about how there are no coach/players that win superbowls or other championships. It’s not necessarily good for the team for the coach to also be a player. What I am getting at here is that perhaps you could start a yoga studio and not be the yoga teacher. If you are running the studio it might be best to manage the ins and outs of running the business and hire the ‘public speaker’ (yoga instructor) to do that portion. Perhaps Elin, commenter above, becomes the instructor and you can invest in the studio. She seems willing to collaborate … Just thinking! Sorry to be so presumptious. I appreciate your post, it was very informativie.

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    1. You are very kind to think that I have the capital available to start my own yoga studio. Wouldn’t that be nice. Hope you are having a lovely day and thanks so much for the comments. Namaste.

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