Bikram Choudhury was born in Calcutta in 1946. He began learning yoga at age 4 from his guru Bishnu Ghosh, India’s most renowned physical culturalist at that time. Bishnu Ghosh is the younger brother of Paramahansa Yogananda (the author of The Autobiography of a Yogi and founder of the Self Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles).
Bikram would practice at least four to six hours per day at Ghosh’s College of Physical Education in Calcutta. At age 13, Bikram won the National India Yoga Championship and was undefeated for three years.
At the age of 17, Bikram injured his knee in a weight-lifting accident and was told by European doctors that he would never walk again. He refused to accept this as his fate and was carried back to Bishnu Ghosh’s school to be helped by his teacher. Within six months he fully recovered. Ghosh was the first to scientifically document yoga’s ability to be used as preventive medicine, cure chronic physical ailments, and heal the body.
Ghosh asked Bikram to start several yoga schools throughout India. They became so successful that Ghosh requested Bikram to travel to Japan and open two more schools.
While in Bombay, Bikram found that there were more sick people in need of help than he could possibly treat in the traditional single teacher/single student method. At times there would be a hundred people waiting to see him with a variety of medical problems. Bikram then decided he would develop the sequence of 26 postures so he could teach everyone the right postures in the correct order, no matter what their disease or condition. As a result, he would be able to teach in groups, and therefore help more people. Since then, his scientifically-proven yoga sequence has been used worldwide to help over 3 million students.
Bikram’s Yoga class is a series of 26 asanas (postures) that is designed to scientifically warm and stretch muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Bikram’s sequence is in a specific order for a reason. Each posture prepares your body for the next posture allowing the body to work every muscle, organ, gland and cell in a safe manner. The 26 posture series allows fresh, oxygenated blood to move throughout the entire body, restoring all of the body’s systems to a healthy working order. Bikram Yoga is practiced in a heated room to allow you to warm your muscles, to prevent injury, and to cleanse the body by flushing out toxins through sweating.
Yoga changes the body from inside out, from bones to skin and from fingertips to toes. Bikram’s series is suitable for all ages and all levels of ability. “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”.