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Bikram’s Yoga Description

* This article is updated daily from Wikipedia. It may contain minor formatting errors.
For the original content and references, click here. Last update: 8/18/2013.

Bikram Yoga is a system of yoga that Bikram Choudhury synthesized from traditional hatha yoga* techniques and popularized beginning in the early 1970s.* All Bikram Yoga classes run for 90 minutes and consist of the same series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises.* Bikram Yoga is ideally practiced in a room heated to 105°F (˜ 40.6°C) with a humidity of 40%.*

Bikram Choudhury

Bikram Choudhury, founder of the Bikram Yoga system, is also the founder of the Yoga College of India. Born in Calcutta in 1946, Bikram began practicing yoga at age four. He practiced yoga 4–6 hours every day. At the age of thirteen, he won the National India Yoga Championship. He was undefeated for the following three years and retired as the undisputed All-India National Yoga Champion. Bikram later devised the 26 postures sequence and founded Bikram's Yoga College of India. He has also written books and sings.*In 2006, he had 1,650 yoga studios around the world (up from 1,200 the previous year).*

Notable practitioners

Notable practitioners of Bikram Yoga include Dan Hardy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,* Kobe Bryant,* David Beckham,* Lady Gaga,* Ashton Kutcher,* Robbie Williams,* Andy Murray,* Charles Barkley, Jennifer Farley,* Lacey Turner, Madonna (entertainer)|Madonna, Elton Brand, Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, Pippa Middleton, Daniel Craig, Brooke Shields, Bruce Bowen, John McEnroe, Beyoncé Knowles, Demi Moore, Tommy Smothers, George Clooney, David Robinson, Jennifer Aniston, Jeff Bridges, Lena Headey, Lola the Vamp, Toby Jones, Lea Michele, Kiran Chetry, Jesse Williams (actor)|Jesse Williams, Benedict Cumberbatch,* Richard Armitage (actor)|Richard Armitage.,* Juliet Simms,*

Controversy

Safety

Although many individuals enjoy practicing hot yoga, there are certain health risks involved and the main reason for this is the extreme heat. Some sportsmen and professional dancers claim to prefer Bikram Yoga, because proponents argue it has injury-healing, emotion-strengthening, toxin-flushing, weight-managing, and career-extending effects. However, no concrete peer reviewed evidence has arisen to back up these claims.* Excessive sweating can result in dehydration, but can be prevented by drinking water or sports drinks, particularly those that contain electrolytes. Some instructors encourage sipping water during the class; most recommend not eating heavy food 3 hours before doing hot yoga.*Also, there is a risk of hyperthermia, which is overheating of the body. Symptoms include nausea, dizziness, or fainting, which can lead to a heat stroke. People with heart problems and high blood pressure or those who can't bear high temperatures, should be especially careful with hot yoga.* People who take medications for depression, nervousness, insomnia, or high blood pressure should always check with a doctor to make sure the heat is safe for them. Bikram Yoga is often used by dancers to increase flexibility, however this is a debated point because forcing hypermobility on the hyperextended joints can result in their instability. However, some have argued that hot yoga can also be used to increase their sense of limb placement in space, though again these claims have yet to be tested.*

Competition

Another controversial component of Bikram Yoga pertains to the prevalence of Yoga Asana Championships, regionally and nationally. While practitioners of other forms of yoga maintain that competition contradicts the idea of peace and unity, Bikram contends, "Competition is the foundation for all democratic societies. For without 'Competition', there is no democracy."*

In India, where yoga originated, yoga competitions have been around for over a century.* Yoga Sports Federation which hosted The 9th Annual Bishnu Charan Ghosh Cup in June 2012 says that yoga competitions inspire both practicing yogis and newcomers to sharpen their skills. Another aim of the Federation is to turn Yoga Asana into a recognized Olympic sport.*

Legal issues

In the United States, Choudhury has claimed, and been aggressive in enforcing, broad copyrights in most aspects of the practice, teaching, and business of the system. While these claims are not definitively resolved (i.e., by any judicial ruling on the merits), Choudhury has extracted legal settlements from a number of yoga teachers and studios.* However, in a recently issued official statement, the US Copyright Office concluded that copyright for Bikram's sequence of 26 postures had been issued in error.*In Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class (First Edition), Choudhury claims he conducted "medical" studies at the Tokyo University Medical School validating the medical benefits of his 26 postures. During one of the lawsuits, defendants demanded copies of the "medical" studies and Choudhury claimed he could not find them. In Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class (Second Edition), Choudhury removed all references to "medical" studies.*Two lawsuits accusing Bikram Choudhury of rape were filed in May 2013 in which a Jane Doe alleges sexual battery, false imprisonment, discrimination, harassment, and other counts in addition to the rape allegation. It describes a cult-like atmosphere where Bikram's followers help him find young women to assault. “Other persons in defendant Bikram Choudhury's inner circle, were aware of defendant Bikram Choudhury's pattern and practice of causing, inducing or persuading young women to enroll in teacher training classes to become yoga instructors only so he can sexually assault and/or rape them,” the lawsuit claims. *

The suits paint a cult-like atmosphere at the training camps. Trainees were allegedly told that Choudhury is on the same level as Jesus Christ or Buddha, that Bikram yoga can cure cancer and that practitioners will be able to live to 100 years old. Trainees were bullied and humiliated as well as praised, the suits say, and Choudhury allegedly gave lectures in which he disparaged gays, Americans and made ethnic slurs. Jane Doe 2 claims that Choudhury recruits volunteers from overseas who are “so in fear of defendant Bikram Choudhury's wrath that they will travel to the US and risk violating immigration laws in order to serve him. Once in the US these volunteers work for little or zero pay. “Their duties include grooming him, massaging him, making his tea, bring[ing] him food and being forced to submit to sexual assaults and rapes against their will,” the suit alleges. *Minakshi “Micki”Jafa-Bodden served as Head of Legal and International Affairs from Spring 2011 to March 13, 2013 when she claims she was “abruptly and unlawfully terminated” according to the court documents filed on July 12, 2013 in the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles. But perhaps the more serious matters lie within the 2 years that Jafa-Bodden worked closely with Bikram, during which she claims she was victim and witness to Bikram's “severe, ongoing, pervasive and offensive conduct” especially to women, as well as homosexuals, African Americans and basically every other minority. The complaint is the fourth sex-based discrimination/sexual harassment/rape related suit filed this year against Bikram Choudhury. Bikram teacher Sarah Baughn filed a sexual harassment suit in March (just before Jafa-Bodden was fired), and two other unnamed women filed similar suits accusing Bikram of sexual harassment, intimidation and rape in May.*

The 26 Asanas (postures)

The following are the 26 postures of Bikram Yoga. These are taught in the Beginning Bikram Yoga Class. The sequence is taught by people who have been trained and certified by Bikram Choudhury.*

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* This article is updated daily from Wikipedia. It may contain minor formatting errors.
For the original content and references, click here. Last update: 8/18/2013.

 
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