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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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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.
Top customer reviews
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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.
So why did I buy the book? I flipped through a copy at my local bookstore and read a few excerpt that made me think I would hate this book. But as I became more and more hooked on hot yoga, I wanted to learn more "keys" or "secrets" to achieving the various poses. So based on the reviews here, I purchased it as an accompanyment to the first Bikram book.
Although I wanted to dislike the book for the reason stated above, when I read through it, I actually enjoyed learning a bit more about his philosophy... and realized that the portions that I read were taken out of context.
I think the gem of this book lies not in the poses/or photos... but rather in the back where he discusses the thoughts behind "mind yoga."
So, buy the book if you are an avid reader and are interested in the man who "invented" hot yoga. But don't buy the book if you are a beginning student and want to learn more of the technical aspects of the poses.
Bikram explains how the body is affected, both appearance-wise, internally and spiritually. This type of yoga, as all other forms, is a moving meditation. Highly recommended for anyone who is a practitioner or just someone who wants to inform themselves about Bikram. Will dispel any concerns re this particular form of yoga generated by The New York Times article. In fact, you will come away informed and convinced, as am I that this particular form of yoga is the real deal.
From former Hatha Yoga practitioner and present Bikram Yoga practitioner.
I have practiced yoga for 16 years and have tried many different types of yoga including Bikram, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Kundalini, Forrest, Kripalu and others. My conclusion is that there are so many different types of yoga because there are so many different types of people - physically, mentally, and spirtitually.
Where does Bikram fit in? It is best for people who are already in good physical condition and want to gain the physical benefits of yoga, especially increased flexibility. Here are some tips:
1. I would highly recommend learning the poses from the book prior to going to a class. It is much easier to learn the poses in 75 degree heat rather than 105 degrees.
2. Listen to the instructors and try to do the poses the Bikram way. They will be very impolite if you try to modify the poses according to another style of yoga.
3. Listen to your body if it is telling you something different than the instructors. Contrary to what Bikram claims, his instructors are not very well trained. Their training primarily consists of doing the poses and memorizing and practicing the script. From my experience most have very limited knowledge in dealing with physical conditions that may be aggravated during certain poses.
4. The heat will affect people differently. I know some who can do Bikram in 105 degree heat 6 days a week for months or years with no problem. When I did Bikram 6 days a week after a few weeks I found I couldn't fully replenish fluids and minerals lost during the classes. My observation is that people who are more muscular and less flexible will generate more internal heat and therefore sweat more. Basically if you're a male athlete in good shape you can expect to lose 6 - 10 pounds of sweat each class. I used to weigh my towel when I got home and it was usually 7 - 8 pounds soaking wet with sweat.
5. The instructors monologue can be aggravating. There is way too much attitude in the dialogue. As an experienced yogi I just tune it out. A beginner will need to pay attention for a few months at least.
6. In my opinion Bikram isn't true yoga. There is far less mind- body connection than other forms of yoga. The feeling after class is distinctly different from other forms. Ashtanga works the body at least as hard as Bikram if not more so. After an Ashtanga class I feel a calm, powerful energy. After a Bikram class I feel worked - but I do sleep like a rock afterwards.
7. Bikram poses have a fairly low level of difficulty. Certainly much less diffcult than Ashtanga. That does not mean that they don't work you hard, only that you don't have to be Gumby to do them without modification. That is one reason I like Bikram yoga. I can get a great work out without modifying the poses.
8. I also like Bikram because, like Ashtanga, you do the same poses in the same order each time. It's great to make sure the full body gets worked and it's easy to measure progress.