Born in Calcutta in 1946, Bikram Choudhury started his apprenticeship in Hatha Yoga (« Physical ») at the age of 4 with his Guru Bishnu Ghosh, one of the most renowned bodybuilers in India at that time and the youngest brother of Paramahansa Yogananda, the Grand Master Yogi of the 20th century (author of “Autobiography of a Yogi”, a book considered to be a reference on Yoga). Bishnu Ghosh was known to be the first to scientfically document the ability of Yoga to cure the body and restore good health.
Yoga champion at the age of 13
Under the demanding and watchful eye of his Guru, Bikram practiced yoga during his entire childhood 4 to 6 hours a day in Ghosh’s College of Physical Education, in Calcutta; at the age of 13, of he became the youngest ever to win the National Yoga Championships, and remained undefeated during the next 3 years.
He became a high-level weightlfiter and seriously injured his knee at the age of 17. Doctors said he would never be able to walk or partake in normal physical activity again. He refused to accept that diagnosis, and being very strong and resolute thanks to his experience in Yoga during his childhood, Bikram decided to return to his Guru in Calcutta. Bikram was convinced that his Guru would cure him, thanks to Yoga and his iron discipline. After 6 months, his injured knee fully recovered.
An objective : to spread the word about Yoga and its benefits to as many people as posible
Bikram decided to dedicate his life to Yoga, and to share it with as many people as he could, especially in the West: it’s during that time that he developped, with the help of scientists of the University of Tokyo, a dynamic series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises.
He became a celebrity in India and Japan and in 1973, was invited to come to the United States by President Nixon whom he personally took care of and treated. Having rapidly developped a very influential clientele of artists and athletes who were all fervent believers in the method, Bikram founded his first “public” studio in 1980 in San Francisco before founding Bikram’s College of India in Los Angeles some time later.
An unprecedented success
Since then, he has continued to be very successful; today, he has over 700 Bikram Yoga studios in the world (of which 400 are in the US!) 8,000 Bikram Yoga teachers and millions who practice Bikram Yoga in the world. Bikram Choudhury is on of the most well-known master teachers of Hatha Yoga. His art of teaching, his personality, and his capacity to blend ancient science of the East with Western needs have allowed him for more than 40 years to help people of all ages and nationalities regain physical and mental health.