Quick History of Bikram Yoga
Bikram Yoga is a style of hot yoga that was developed by Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s. This yoga practice involves a series of 26 postures performed in a heated room, typically set at 105 degrees Fahrenheit and 40% humidity. The practice has gained immense popularity in recent years, but its history dates back nearly a century.
The story of Bikram Yoga began in India, where Choudhury was a dedicated student of yoga from a young age, and he trained under the guidance of his guru, Bishnu Ghosh. Ghosh was a well-known yoga teacher who had developed his own system of yoga, which he called “Ghosh Yoga.” Choudhury became Ghosh’s star pupil, and he quickly gained a reputation for his dedication to developing yoga. In the 1970s, Choudhury moved to the United States and began teaching yoga in Los Angeles. He started out teaching in a small studio, but his classes quickly became popular, and he soon opened his own yoga school.
Choudhury’s teaching style was unique, and he attracted students from all over the world. He combined the postures from Ghosh Yoga with his own innovations to create a sequence of 26 poses that he believed would have the greatest health benefits. He also added the element of heat, believing that it would increase flexibility and help students to detoxify their bodies. Choudhury named his style of yoga “Bikram Yoga,” after himself but these days it is often referred to as just “Hot Yoga.” Choudhury’s unique teaching style and the challenging nature of his yoga practice drew a diverse group of students to his classes.
Celebrities, athletes, and health enthusiasts all flocked to Choudhury’s studio to learn his signature style of yoga. The practice gained even more exposure in the early 2000s when several high-profile athletes and actors credited Bikram Yoga with helping them to improve their performance and body. This endorsement from elite A-listers helped to solidify Bikram Yoga’s reputation as a challenging and effective form of exercise. Choudhury also began to travel across the country, teaching workshops.
Over the years, Bikram Yoga has gone through many changes. As the practice grew in popularity, Bikram began to train other teachers to teach his style of yoga. Today, there are thousands of certified Bikram Yoga teachers all over the world. Bikram Yoga has also faced its share of controversies over the years. In 2013, Choudhury was sued by several former students who accused him of sexual harassment and assault. Despite these challenges, Bikram Yoga continues to be popular with many people due to numerous health benefits, including improved flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular health. Others have discontinued their Bikram practice due to Bikram Choudhury’s history and some argue that the practice is too intense and that the heat can be dangerous for some people.
Hot Yoga Chelsea NYC is one of the few studios in the New York City that continues to teach the original form of Bikram Yoga. We offer Bikram Hot Yoga classes daily in our studio located in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. New Students who are local can take 3 classes for only $29. In addition to its physical benefits mentioned, our Bikram Yoga classes are also a great form of meditation and stress relief. The intense heat and challenging poses of the practice force students to focus on their breath and stay present in the moment, which many New Yorkers find to be a calming experience.