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Bikram Yoga: The Guru Behind Hot Yoga Shows the Way to Radiant Health and Personal Fulfillment Hardcover – April 3, 2007


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Bikram Yoga: The Guru Behind Hot Yoga Shows the Way to Radiant Health and Personal Fulfillment + Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class (Second Edtion) + The Barkan Method: Hot Yoga
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (April 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060568089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060568085
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Choudhury (Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class) has been called the "Bill Gates of Yoga," but readers may detect a bit of P.T. Barnum in this "hot yoga" showman. Born in India, Choudhury has lived in Hollywood since the early 1970s, when he founded his Yoga College of India. His brash style and personal wealth have drawn fire from the media and American yogis. His somewhat militant, "no pain, no gain" rhetoric and franchised, one-size-fits-all approach may seem contrary to the principles of yoga; Bikram claims his system is the most authentic yoga taught in the U.S. The Bikram Yoga sequence consists of 26 postures, two breathing exercises and brief resting periods performed in a room heated above 100 degrees. This method, Choudhury claims, can cure everything from physical injuries and serious illnesses to troubled relationships and spiritual poverty. Some readers may be put off by frequent name-dropping of famous students (Shirley MacLaine) and those who have received miraculous cures (former President Nixon). (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Bikram Choudhury, who won the prestigious National India Yoga Competition at the age of thirteen, is the founder of the Yoga College of India, which has its headquarters in Beverly Hills. There are more than 1700 Bikram Yoga studios worldwide that teach his exclusive style of Hatha Yoga.


More About the Author

Bikram Choudhury, who was already a yoga champion in his teens, developed Bikram Yoga in the 1970s after being left wheelchair-bound from a crippling accident. He managed to make a complete recovery thanks to heat and yoga and his guru Bishnu Ghosh, who then sent Bikram to Bombay to help heal sick people with yoga. Bikram found that he did not have enough time to help everyone individually and over the years developed the particular sequence of yoga moves and breathing exercises that he still uses today with remarkable results.

Customer Reviews

I think it is much better than Bikram's previous book.
Elizabeth Barry
The book is free of jargon and written in simple, plain language with instructions that are easy to follow for the practice of each pose.
Bertha Paulse
They ALL insist, just like Bikram, that only THEIR personal way is the universal right way.
Scott Meredith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

219 of 224 people found the following review helpful By Scott Meredith on April 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is incredibly readable and fun. Bikram's breezy tone and brash opinions grab your eyes and hold your brain, whether or not you think you have any interest in yoga. Actually this book seems particularly geared to non-practitioners.

The earlier chapters give historical background on yoga and Bikram's autobiography. The yoga history is highly slanted to Bikram's narrow view. Hey it is his book (and he won't let you forget that, believe me) - he can analyze the murky and heavily disputed history of yoga entirely as he pleases. The autobiographical material is very interesting, both for light on Bikram himself and also his excellent multi-cultural contextual scene-painting. We are learning about India as we go. And we are seeing our own culture strangely refracted, through Bikram's very perceptive lens. He has a sharp tongue though.

His basic message is that American culture is great in some ways but that individual Americans are mostly unhappy and messed up, mentally and physically. Fortunately there is a one-size-fits-all cure, a true panacea - Bikram Yoga.

Things Bikram Dislikes:

Tatoos

Exercise (running, tennis, aerobics, weights, team sports, ... fill-in-the-blank!)

Other styles and schools of yoga

Drugs - medical and recreational

Western medicine in general

Actually it is strange that he dumps on weight training, because he points out pridefully in another section that his own beloved guru was some kind of weight champion and pioneering promoter of the practice. Whatever.

He trashes the popular Iyengar style of yoga by sneering at the many mechanical props they use to control or achieve difficult postures.
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92 of 98 people found the following review helpful By louienapoli on May 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is not as useful as Bikram's first book, which goes through all the poses, the breathing, etc. What this book offers is more lore about the poses and about Bikram. If you are a Bikram yoga aficionado, by all means get this book. If not, the first one will do if you're curious about the sequence of poses, the breathing, and the philosophy.

Caveat: Bikram asserts that his style of yoga is the only authentic yoga being taught in the west. A casual look at teachers like Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, Desikachar, Swami Sivananda, etc. and, perhaps more importantly, their students, calls Bikram's assertion into question. Also keep in mind that he has tried to patent and copyright his poses and threatened to sue teachers who tried to teach his sequence without his permission. (See The New York Times, 5-7-07 pg. A21 ("A Big Stretch")).

The notion of claiming yoga as one's property, or of asserting that all other styles are spurious, is inconsistent with the fundamental principles of yoga.

So--take Bikram with a grain of salt. He's a good practitioner. His teaching can be beneficial. He's also a fairly ruthless businessman and self-promoter, and some of what he says is colored by self-interest.

Bottom line: Bikram's yoga is worth checking out. Take a class. If you like it, get his first book. Or get the first book and try the poses. Keep what works, and view the spiel with the skepticism it warrants.
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77 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Glutton for books on January 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I wanted to like this book. I've been practicing Bikram yoga for six years, and am a fan of the physical benefits. When I read the reviews, before reading the book, I didn't understand why people were commenting on the lack of guidance (particularly in photographs) for the beginning series. Bikram already wrote a book (in 2000) on the beginning series, with excellent instructive photographs. This was not meant to be that story. But after reading the book, I understand their confusion. Despite the book advertising to be the story behind Bikram's creation of his series, more than one-third of the book is a repeat of information from his earlier book, with less clear instructions, accompanied by artistic rather than illustrative photographs of the poses. What information is new to this book, isn't very helpful for living a yoga life. I thought the book would reveal Bikram'spiritual journey, but the story does not resonate as spiritual. Instead it is very self-centered with a lower-case "s."

Supposedly, Bikram designed his series to remedy the sedentary life style in which most Americans are trapped. I confess that I am one of those "most Americans," from whom a 40-hour week at my desk would be a week with greatly reduced hours. The series of poses does remedy my main kinks, and when I am able to attend classes regularly, I can discern an enhancement to my well being. I believe that there is much truth in Bikram's statement that yoga repairs the body, whereas other types of exercises age it.

Unlike teachers graduating from the many fly-by-night yoga certification programs, Bikram instructors can't give you a bad combination of postures, but I question their education about anatomy.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Barry on May 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book. I think it is much better than Bikram's previous book. The section on how to do the poses is not cluttered with chit-chat, but gets straight to the heart of the issue. EAch pose has a paragraph called "Bikram's tips" that really have helped me to do the poses better.

I found the sections about Bikram's history and how he became a yoga teacher interesting and inspiring. Bikram makes a lot of claims about the benefits of his yoga and how it is better for you than other styles of yoga, and at first I was very skeptical. I thought this was just marketing. But after practicing for two years and going to a Bikram yoga studio for a while, I have found that most of his claims turn out to be true. Doing his sequence faithfully and regularly, every day, really does heal the body AND the mind. Bikram yoga has healed several injuries that I had, and it makes living in a stressful environment less crazy-making.

Practicing in a hot room is great, if you can. But I find the sequence to be beneficial even if you can't get to a hot yoga studio or heat your own home up to 100 degrees. I just wear a fleece jacket if it is cool and go slowly.
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