Hi everyone! Are you as passionate as I am to know more about the yoga history and philosophy?
I guess if you are here today, the answer is yes so we are definitely on the same vibe! Because why do we love yoga in the first place? Because it makes us feel good and because we know there is something deeper about this practice. We know it is not only a practice that is going to make us focus on sweating and forget about our day. We love yoga because we know there is more than that. There is a storytelling going on with it. That is what led me to watch this documentary on Netflix: ‘Bikram: yogi, guru, predator’. I had been advertised about it by Netflix because I guess it know my tastes of yoga very well! I wanted to learn more this person as its type of yoga is very well known in the field. And since them I am in shock. Let me tell you why.
The way he shows up in front of his students
Choudhury also known as Bikram, usually teaches his class only wearing a Speedo. I don’t even know in what world this would be ok as if women were teaching while wearing panties, it would such an enormous debate where everyone would certainly talk about the sexualization of the practice and so on. This guy taught in front of thousands of people in a Speedo for years and it apparently felt normal. At some point in the documentary of director Eva Orner, we can see him adjusting a student in a pose with his blob super close to the girl’s face and if you had see me in front of the screen my face I was like…
The man is also seating on a throne to give his instructions…yep. He clearly had a guru and charismatic vibe that made everyone want to follow him. I think no one can really get how that felt unless you have been around the man. But from an observer of the situation watching this documentary, you really can’t get how he would get so much power.
The way he talks to his students
In the documentary, we can often see him humiliate people because they can’t do the pose ‘perfectly’ whatever that means in yoga, as everyone have different bodies. At some point in the movie, he calls a person ‘chickenshit’ which is very vulgar. I even can’t believe how people were and still are (!!!) doing his training as he can talk like that to other people. There is no excuse to talk to people like that EVER. My feelings when looking at this was that he needs to humiliate in order to dominate, which is like the worst thing you can do to anyone in this world.
The duration of the yoga teacher training
I did my Yoga Teacher Training in Australia and Bali over the course of 4 months and I have already find it very challenging. I can’t even believe how it would have been if it was this intensive over the course of 9 weeks as they talk about it in the documentary, especially with the heat and locked all this time during the same hotel. I can only imagine how hard physically and emotionally it must have been for the people doing the training.
And that was how his strategy worked out. He pushed people to a physical and emotional vulnerability then allowing him to take advantage over women. And the women didn’t say a thing because they needed their certificate to teach the Bikram way and I also imagine because they didn’t know if they had the power to bring them down and if there were other women like them.
Manipulating and raping women
The man also asked regularly to the people at the end of the class to massage his feet and with free will and pure fascination for the character they did it. Then, he would ask women to massage more stuff and the women would do it or not, but he would still try to get what he wanted. And his wife knew it, telling people to let him play with ‘his girls’.
Because in the negative, I like seeing the positive, I believe that the women who finally talked, even if they didn’t bring him down, were so courageous to do it for themselves and for others who could suffer like they had. In the #Metoo vibe that we had recently, we can only agree to bring those kinds of men down. No one should be taken advantage of without full authorization from the other human being.
Although, the guy is still doing yoga teacher training around the world (and I still can’t get how people can do trainings with the guy!), the fact that this documentary came to the world is a way to tell more people about this horrible man.
And although, I haven’t talked about everything that put me in shock while watching the documentary, clearly some people (the one who were fortunate to not be his targets) have taken the best out of him. When they say, he changed people’s lives, I believe that he did. At least, that is a mini win + he allowed more people to discover and transmit their passion for yoga.
Conclusion: the worst yoga teacher ever but that shouldn’t affect the practice he created
I believe that if I had one of Bikram’s class in LA back in the days, I would have never be into yoga like I am today. The way yoga teachers have spread these days is wonderful but I am especially happy as for most of them, a great and positive vibe is coming out from them. We are all about being one, we are equal, to be happy as we are, to be living in the moment. That is completely the message I want to spread as a yoga teacher but definitely not as a guru!
Nobody should be pushed that much and be placed in such a vulnerable place.
Although, I had great yoga experiences so far, this documentary is a great reminder that not everyone in this world has great intentions, even yogis. I see multiple times on yoga teachers related groups that women can still suffer from abusive behaviors (like Bikram) and spreading the message and fighting back to these people is the best thing we can do to one day I hope eradicate it.