“I was dead wrong,” says a weeping Choudhury.
An anonymous Bikram Yoga instructor leaked the following story to elephant journal:
In a recent press release by yoga mogul Bikram Choudhury, he makes an unprecedented apologetic confession, regarding his attempted patent on the 26 Bikram Yoga Postures, that he claims to have invented.
Bikram recently made a surprise visit to a closed meeting held during a Bikram Yoga conference, for top tier Bikram instructors, at The Marriott in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 1500 sweating instructors were seated on the floor in a circle, voraciously taking notes as one of the upper level teachers spoke into a microphone, from a makeshift altar at the center. The altar consisted of an ornate vase filled with a dozen red roses and three framed photographs of Mr. Choudhury looking fit and tan, placed around the vase and for all to see.
The instructor (who was also sweating) spoke the following words:
“Namaste, my friends. Put down your notebooks and please take your hands to your heart as we welcome a very special and unexpected visit from someone who is beloved to us all.”
There was an audible hum of confusion in the room as people proceeded to put down their pens and papers. And then a sudden interruption by what sounded like a live marching band, but was actually recorded music being pumped through a P.A. system. It began with a drum roll, then trumpets, saxophones and clarinets being played over the steady beat of the snare drum.
The instructor continued to speak. “Everyone please rise and make way for our visitor to come to the center of the circle.”
A door opened on one side of the conference room and all heads turned to see Mr. Choudhury, dressed in a stylish black unitard which showcased his muscular physique. His shiny hair was slicked back and impeccably styled and on his face was a beaming ear to ear grin and a gleam in his eye, which immediately lit up the room.
A path was quickly cleared for Mr. Choudhury to make his entrance to the center of the circle. As Bikram took the microphone from the instructor, everyone began applauding and the room was filled with a deafening roar.
Bikram began to speak.
“Namaste, my friends. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Please be seated.”
The students resumed sitting cross legged on the floor and many touched their foreheads to the earth in a reverential bow to their fearless leader. This was followed by what seemed like an interminable moment of silence.
“I come here today . . . . ” Bikram paused, uncharacteristically hesitant and every trace of the smile, gone from his face. “I come here today, my friends with a personal confession—something I must get off my chest or I fear I will perish with the burden of my secret.”
“You are the top tier teachers who are out there giving your blood sweat and tears on a daily basis in an effort to teach and spread the Bikram method, which I invented some years ago.”
“My friends, I have had a revelation of sorts. I am no longer as young a man, as I was, when I first came to America to seek my fortune. My hair is thinning and there are lines in my face. I can no longer bench press twice my body weight with one hand. These changes that come with old age, have caused me to spend some time in deep meditation and introspection.”
“During these meditations, I began to question everything . . . the 10 Rolexes, the 30 chauffeur driven Rolls Royces, the countless face lifts and manicures and the harem of mistresses that follow me to every city. As I looked at my life from the viewpoint of the detached observer, I had a revelation. I realized that something was missing from my life. Deep within my core, in spite of my beautiful wife and adoring mistresses, something felt wrong. There was a deep emptiness within my soul. In spite of the great material wealth I had accumulated my life essentially felt meaningless.”
“After weeks of performing these daily sitting meditations I became profoundly depressed, and so I sought counsel from a trusted advisor, my good friend Deepak Chopra.”
“Deepak, bless his heart, suggested that I make a pilgrimage and go visit the world renowned hugging saint known as Amma. Deepak felt strongly that there was nothing wrong with me that a good hug could not cure. So I arranged for a trip on my private jet to Amma’s ashram in India. After settling in and being given a rejuvenating cup of chai, I was told by an aid that Amma would be receiving me momentarily.”
“This news brought tears of joy to my eyes. The aid took me by the hand and led me to a sparsely furnished room, lit only by a single candle. There was a wooden chair in the center of the room and I was told to have a seat and close my eyes.”
“I did as instructed and the tears continued to fall from my eyes. I began to wonder if these were tears of joy or sadness. Suddenly I was jolted from my reverie, as I felt a strong presence in the room, a sense of luminosity and love.”
“At that same moment I could hear the crackly sound of what sounded like snake charmer’s music being played on an old victrola. Someone took my hand and a female voice said: ‘Do not cry my son. The Mother is here. I am Amma. Please rise from the chair so that I may embrace you as my own son.’ Once again I did as instructed.”
“Upon opening my eyes a radiant light filled the room and I felt as if my heart was on fire. Before me stood this beautiful saint of a woman, dressed simply in a sari and wearing a beaded necklace. Amma smiled and looked deeply into my eyes for 30 seconds. My heart began to melt. Then she wrapped her grandmotherly arms around my rock hard body and I felt my body go limp as if Amma and I had become one in that moment.”
“The hug lasted only five seconds. Amma bowed and left the room. The aid returned and led me to a dining area filled with other pilgrims from around the world who had come to see Amma. Luckily no one recognized me as I was purposely dressed like a commoner, so as not to draw attention to myself. I dined alone, seated at a small table in a corner of the room and after lingering for a few minutes over a cup of chai, I called for a servant to take me to my lodgings.”
“The revelation that I share with you now came to me in a dream that I had that night, while sleeping on a simple plywood cot at the Amritapuri Ashram.”
“In the dream I was back at my mansion in the states, deep in meditation when I heard the beautiful voice of Amma as if speaking to me in a dream.”
“Bikram, my son. Those 26 postures don’t belong to you and they never will. Yoga has a long history going back at least 5000 years. These postures were first practiced by the rishis (seers) and ascetics who spontaneously moved their bodies into these postures during deep states of meditation. It is said that these rishis absorbed their knowledge of yoga from the great Lord Shiva, the original yogi who gained knowledge of yoga after being given the key to the Universe. To attempt to put your stamp on these postures by claiming ownership, is an abomination and considered a deep assault on yoga’s divine history.”
“Upon awakening from this dream I immediately called my marketing director and together we issued a press release that will be made public in the near future. In the press release, I confessed to having been led astray by the lure of the almighty dollar and the American Dream. I admitted that the overly heated studio of the Bikram practice was just a marketing ploy to make people believe, that they could lose weight with the Bikram method. In reality they are only losing water weight which they immediately gain back after hydration.”
“I also confessed that those 26 postures are not mine and that the reality is that yoga belongs to everyone and was given to us by the grace of the Lord Shiva and therefore no one can claim ownership to any yoga posture or yoga routine.”
“As a result of this revelation, I am planning to downsize my life by donating all the extra watches and sports cars to charity. I will then commission my pilot to take me on a hiatus to the Himalayas where I plan to live in a cave for a period of not less than 6 months, and where I will spend my days living amongst the snakes and the tigers, and surviving on berries and shrubs.”
Here Bikram paused and the room was so still, you could hear a pin drop. Students began sniffling and gulping to hold back tears. And then with an ear to ear smile, and a twinkle in his eye that could light up a room, Bikram softly whispered into the microphone . . .
Editor: Kate Bartolotta