The origins and founders of bikram hot yoga.
Bikram Choudhury is an Indian Yoga Guru; he is the mastermind and creator of this style of yoga. Born and bred in Kolkata, Bikram began yoga at the age of four under the acute guidance of his Guru Bishnu Ghosh. By the age of 13, Bikram won the National India Yoga Championship and was undefeated for the following three years. Unbeatable, he retired as the undisputed All-India National Yoga champion.
At seventeen Bikram severely injured his knee during a weight lifting accident. Top Western doctors advised amputation. Despite their claims that he would never walk again, Bikram had himself carried back to Bishnu Ghosh’s school – because he knew that if anyone could heal him it was his teacher. Bishnu was the first man to scientifically document yoga’s ability to cure chronic physical ailments and heal the body. Bikram became his walking example; in six months his knee was healed.
To prove the power and healing properties of yoga, Bishnu told Bikram to start several yoga schools in India. The schools were so successful that Bikram travelled to Japan and opened two more. Introducing heaters to his cold studios to combat the cold climate, he soon discovered that it improved flexibility, and students experienced more benefits after class. So in 1972, when he launched Bikram's Yoga College of India in San Francisco, the heaters came with him. He has since brought his curative methods of yoga therapy to the world.
Born in Kolkata, India in 1965, Rajashree Choudhury started her yoga training at the urging of her parents at age four. She was a five-time winner of the All-India Yoga Championship from 1979 to 1983. After studying at Mahila Yoga Byam Kendra, Gosh’s College of Physical Education and Yoga Training Institute, she received her Certification in Hatha Yoga Therapy for chronic diseases and disorders.
With over 15 years in the East and 25 years in the West, Rajashree’s special focus has been on the emotional side of yoga and how yoga balances the energy of the human body and impacts not only disease, but also affects the body/mind/soul connection which constitutes vibrant health.
She also helped her husband create the highly successful Teacher Training program after more than ten years of teaching yoga in the United States. Rajashree conducts seminars on yoga and personal development worldwide and also teaches her highly acclaimed Pregnancy Yoga classes.
Rajashree has appeared on many national television programs in the United States and abroad doing seminars worldwide promoting the countless benefits of yoga. Among her many pet projects are Karma Is Action (Formerly KarmaforKids), a yoga-based fundraiser devoted to alleviating the suffering of children with life-threatening illnesses and to cleaning up environmental causes that may lead to these diseases, and the annual International Yoga Asana Championships. In conjunction with the championships she has founded the USA Yoga Federation, a non-profit organisation formed to facilitate her goal of yoga ultimately being accepted as an Olympic Sport.
Most recently her mission is to help women in crisis of all ages and nationalities. She has created Labanya Foundation: a World Wide Women’s Welfare charity organisation.