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Downward dog
April 4, 2003 10:24 AM   Subscribe

“You can't deny, even if you are a spiritual being, that you are living in a world organized by money." Bikram Choudhury, yoga’s bad boy and proponent of the intense, sweaty version that bears his name, has copyrighted his famous sequences and is suing schools that teach them without his permission. Many adherents of the ancient technique, whose name can be translated as “unity”, are outraged, and are starting to unite against him. The Beverly Hills resident, who calls his style “the only yoga”, says "I have balls like atom bombs, two of them, 100 megatons each. Nobody f*cks with me." (Click through for free Salon day pass)
posted by gottabefunky (28 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Want to read the rest of this article? You have two options: Subscribe now, or watch a brief ad and get a free day pass."

Salon's policy seems kind of ironic considering the subject of the article...

But about Bikram: I've done his 26 positions in a room heated to 105 degrees, and I think that if the yoga studio is going to call it Bikram Yoga, they should have to pay royalties. Anything further than that, and all the lawyers in the world can't enforce it. What are you going to do, send spies to every yoga studio in existence and make sure they're not imitating his routine? Will he have his legal team start spying on households suspected of performing his routine at home without paying royalties? It's not only silly, it's impossible.
posted by zekinskia at 10:33 AM on April 4, 2003


Trust me, this guy's completely wrong, I've seen spiritual people deny facts of reality day in and day out.
posted by xmutex at 10:38 AM on April 4, 2003


Well, this is the same as choreography it seems to me. So it can be covered by copyright. But I'm not sure about the teaching part. Is that really a copyright violation? I think not. If we sit down at the piano and I teach you to play a song, am I violating copyright? No. Not one bit. Aren't there specific exemptions for educational purposes anyway?
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:40 AM on April 4, 2003


Okay, I'll be changing the sequence of moves in the Wu form of Tai Chi I was taught, which I will then patent, charge $$ for, and instigate lawsuits against others.

Because that is just really in the spirit of these teachings.
posted by Shane at 10:41 AM on April 4, 2003


"I have balls like atom bombs, two of them, 100 megatons each. Nobody f*cks with me."

I can feel the transcedence and serenity from here.
posted by weston at 10:42 AM on April 4, 2003


My yoga style will defeat your yoga style.
posted by monkeyman at 10:49 AM on April 4, 2003


The new sequence requires that you move from downward dog to braying jackass.
posted by monkeyman at 10:50 AM on April 4, 2003


This guy is like the Maharishi. A friend-of-a-friend is a Bikram instructor, and wastes no opportunity to tell someone they're following the wrong path.

Give me Rodney Yee any day.
posted by padraigin at 10:51 AM on April 4, 2003


Frankly, the guy sounds like a prick to me and I hope this negative publicity wrecks his business.

Unfortunately, that's not likely.
posted by orange swan at 10:57 AM on April 4, 2003


Silly me, my memory isn't what it used to be....What kind of yoga was that? - was it the Yoga of aggression and money lust?
posted by troutfishing at 11:11 AM on April 4, 2003


there's a type of yoga for anything. But, of course, given the fact that yoga is fundamentally about flow, to be stuck in a state of walking around with "100 megaton balls" doesn't sound especially yogic to me. It sounds like the guy is stuck in one of the lower Chakras. Maybe he should deflate his giant balls a little and worry less about the money.
posted by troutfishing at 11:15 AM on April 4, 2003


Monk Gloats Over Yoga Championship
"I am the serenest!" he says

Hey, they even named him Bikram.
posted by lbergstr at 11:25 AM on April 4, 2003


Here's a good article on yoga in the West: From health clubs to corporations, yoga has entered the American mainstream. But is it becoming too popular for its own good?

BTW gottabefunky, they don't do Downward Dog in Bikram, or any other inversions for that matter, as per your YJ article.
posted by homunculus at 11:38 AM on April 4, 2003


After Bikram went insane and this disgusting article came out, I started to do yoga in secret. Between the capitalists and the flaked out zen freaks, who even wants to be associated with these people? It's like they smack you with the crazy stick in shivasana.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 11:56 AM on April 4, 2003


From health clubs to corporations, yoga has entered the American mainstream.

Yoga, Tai Chi, fencing and Pilates have long been popular amongst actors. But I blame yoga's mainstream western breakthrough on Sting (who still looks like his head has been grafted onto a 16-yr-old's body.)
posted by Shane at 11:56 AM on April 4, 2003


>Give me Rodney Yee any day.

Rodney might not be too different. I think he is being sued by a female student for sexual harassment.

My wife is a yoga teacher. She decided that she would never follow any one teacher or style and has always stayed away from Bikram. Anyone who limits his yoga practice to the same 26 poses (out of thousands) over and over is missing the point of yoga.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:09 PM on April 4, 2003


I used to go to the official Bikram studio in CT but have stopped going. After reading that, I'll never go back. (well, that and the fact that I was constantly getting sick from the class. Put 40 people in a hot room and make them sweat profusely and do this 5 times a day and only clean the rugs once a month. You do the math)

His statements could not be any further from the true purpose of yoga. The physical poses are only one stage in the multi-staged yoga path to enlightenment . The yoga poses, asanas, are the third (?) stage in the chain. I am pretty sure doing good works is stage 1, which means Bikram needs a crash course in yoga 101.

I find this article so disturbing because of his own words, not that he is suing. The man is a giant prick to go along with his giant cojones.

Yogic traditions have been around for centuries. The man is clearly insane.

So if I call my yoga class "Hot yoga" and only do 25 of the poses, then there is no legal problem? The man cannot even see the foolishness of his own argument.

As Strange said, why limit yourself to 26 out of hundreds of poses.
posted by archimago at 12:55 PM on April 4, 2003


She was also the unbeaten five-time winner of the All India Yoga Championship Competition

Holy shit, it's real.
posted by lbergstr at 1:05 PM on April 4, 2003


I do Bikram Yoga at a studio in Seattle. Maybe it's not the way it's supposed to be taught according to the most holy one's precepts, but my intructors make it clear that they are attacking the physical realm first, last, and foremost. There is only the briefest of brief meditations between poses, and none of the touchy-feely yoga stuff that probably prevents lots of people (men, mainly) from ever trying it.

As my instructor once said, "The only time you talk to God in Bikram yoga is when you're praying for the class to end."

Incidentally, Bikram Yoga is the most intense workout I have ever done. I wouldn't stop doing it just because the founder is a chump, because most of the money I spend to do it goes to a little locally owned studio and neighborhood yoga teachers.
posted by vito90 at 1:13 PM on April 4, 2003


Karma.
posted by ilsa at 1:18 PM on April 4, 2003


because most of the money I spend to do it goes to a little locally owned studio and neighborhood yoga teachers.


At least until the lawsuits starts.

But I agree that it is the most challenging workout i have ever endured.
posted by archimago at 1:20 PM on April 4, 2003


mnytiu ... I can't wait
posted by Fezboy! at 2:47 PM on April 4, 2003


"...and this disgusting article came out..." – RJ Reynolds

I tried really hard to read the entire article, but I finally couldn't fight the gag reflex anymore, and I puked up all the psuedo-everything I had just forced myself to swallow. Wow. Truly disgusting.
posted by letitrain at 3:12 PM on April 4, 2003


"You can't deny, even if you are a spiritual being, that you are living in a world organized by money."

How about: BECAUSE I am a spiritual being, I live in a world organized by money.

SEE ALSO: Francisco D'Anconia's "Money" speech.

It pisses me off to no end that some (many?) people assume that "spirituality" somehow requires a vow of poverty, or that having more than a few $$$ in your pocket automatically disqualifies a person from having a spiritual side.
posted by davidmsc at 5:30 PM on April 4, 2003


Are you a shill for Salon?
posted by nyxxxx at 6:06 PM on April 4, 2003


We are materialists in the spiritual world?
posted by crunchburger at 7:09 PM on April 4, 2003


My new yoga technique is unpatentable!

oh, god, someone shoot me :D
posted by notsnot at 8:33 PM on April 4, 2003


Bikram's an idiot. The only people who will win are the lawyers, who get paid by plaintiff and defendant.
posted by atuafiu at 8:51 AM on April 5, 2003


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