Friday, April 9, 2010


ok, so i love love love going to bikram yoga. i think that has been clear this past week, if you have been reading along. and i have been doing some reading about the yoga, and the man that started it...Bikram Choudhury. at first, i just read a little...i think because i was afraid it would taint my actual experience in the yoga room. and this morning when i read this article from mother Jones magazine from 2005 (, my apprehension was confirmed. i found what it said about Bikram to be disturbing. i can't imagine taking a class from someone talking about women's breasts and how women walk after having intercourse with him. seriously? is this really going on? and how does that translate into my experience here in seattle with teachers that have learned from Bikram, I assume. Do i continue to enjoy my own personal experience, and how i feel and the benefits i have already enjoyed? or do i let this one article about the man associated with the yoga i am performing disturb my path? my possible passion?
jamie is reading a book, total freedom, by J. Krishnamurti. great stuff, inspiring. and then i was reading another book, after the ecstasy the laundry, by Jack Kornfield. in the laundry book, he tells the story of a woman that grew up with her parents being very close to Krishnamurti...her father was his business partner, she described Krishnamurti as her second father. later in life she learned of the affair Krishnamurti had with her mother. and of the many other affairs he had, children he had fathered, and other scandals. a whole chapter in Kornfield's book is dedicated to this phenomenon...of guru's falling from grace.
I am not sure what i really think of all this. processing it all. i have noticed, however, this as a theme in people i have admired, or wanted to learn from. they are not perfect. there is always something that disturbs me. something that seems so "bad" that i decide they cannot be my teacher. does this have to be the case? can we still take what is good for us, and leave their personal drama to them? can the two be separated?
I will read more. i will think on this. i will go to bikram yoga this evening.
more to come....


laksmi said...

Well, this is what is so interesting about a 'guru'. They are all human. When you are at Bikram yoga, does it really matter what Bikram Choudry thinks, or that he is totally materialistic, or that there are tons of pics of him with his female students on the web that look 'wrong'? Probably not. If you were going to follow his teachings, then you might want to be concerned. But asana is one thing, and yoga is another. This is probably obvious to you, so I'm sorry. The former leader of Kripalu retreat center in NY had a huge scandal in the 90's that forced him out of the ashram. Oops! It's usually misconduct of the sexual kind which, if you continue yoga studies, you'll see is a violation of 'brahmacharya'.

I think it's good to look at the teacher and how they conduct themselves. What they DO is meaningful! Anyway, I'm enjoying your yoga experience a lot. Do you think you will stick with this form for the entire month?

melissa Baumgart said...

thanks for commenting. i do think i will do bikram the entire month. it really feels so great, and i notice it on a deeper level than when i have done other yoga in the past. deeper meaning, more than just physical, to me. i can see this being a lifestyle change. and that has always been something i have attempted, yet never attained.
i am also gaining an appreciation for some of Bikram's teachings. taking what makes sense for me and leaving the parts of his lifestyle choices that don't. what kind of yoga do you practice?

Jen Diamond said...


You know I was thinking about this and I struggle with the same thing for myself. What I mean is that I promise something or I know of a higher route for myself and then I find myself choosing the lower one. Then I have a thought like "how can I trust myself." Now I am not a guru and I am not sleeping with my students but I think the breaking of a promise is still the same.

I recently had a break through and saw that I have been trying to avoid and overcome my humanity. It is my humanity that has me choose the lower path at times than the higher one. Like today I said I would go to yoga and I did not. The bummer is that as soon as I do not my head starts berating me as if I have slept with my students.

What I know is that I am my own teacher and I am able to separate out the wheat from the chafe and the pearls of wisdom from the humane yogi. I think that even though we make a huge promise with our life it doesn't mean that we won't fail, it just means that we are making our life about doing something bigger. What do you think about that?

Thank you for inviting me to yoga. I loved going with you.