Willi Schooley

Written by Willi Schooley

Modified & Updated: 28 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

Source: Newyorker.com

Bikram Choudhury is a renowned figure in the world of yoga, known for popularizing hot yoga and creating the Bikram Yoga style. His life and teachings have captivated the attention of millions of yoga enthusiasts worldwide. From his unique personality to his controversial career, there are many fascinating aspects to know about Bikram Choudhury. In this article, we will delve into 22 intriguing facts that shed light on the life and impact of this influential yoga guru. So, get ready to dive into the world of Bikram Choudhury and uncover some lesser-known details about his journey, teachings, and the controversies surrounding him.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram Yoga, faced controversy and legal battles, but his creation continues to be practiced and enjoyed worldwide.
  • Bikram Yoga, also known as “hot yoga,” consists of 26 challenging poses performed in a heated room, offering therapeutic benefits for practitioners of all fitness levels.
Table of Contents

Bikram Choudhury is the founder of Bikram Yoga.

Bikram Choudhury, an Indian yoga guru, introduced the world to Bikram Yoga in the early 1970s. His unique style of yoga quickly gained popularity due to its challenging and intense nature.

Bikram Yoga consists of a series of 26 poses.

The Bikram Yoga sequence includes 26 asanas or poses, each performed twice in a heated room. The room is typically heated to around 105 degrees Fahrenheit, providing a challenging and detoxifying experience.

Bikram Choudhury was born in Calcutta, India.

Born on February 10, 1944, Bikram Choudhury hails from Calcutta, India. He began practicing yoga at a young age and eventually developed his own style, now known as Bikram Yoga.

The copyright for Bikram Yoga was a subject of controversy.

In 2015, an intense legal battle ensued over the copyright of Bikram Yoga. Choudhury claimed that the sequence of poses was a form of intellectual property, while others argued that yoga cannot be copyrighted.

Bikram Choudhury created a series of instructional videos.

To make Bikram Yoga accessible to a wider audience, Choudhury released a series of instructional videos. These videos allowed individuals to practice the sequence of poses from the comfort of their own homes.

Bikram Choudhury faced multiple allegations of misconduct.

Over the years, Bikram Choudhury has been accused of various instances of sexual harassment and misconduct by several women. These allegations have brought significant controversy to the Bikram Yoga community.

Bikram Choudhury has trained numerous celebrity clients.

Due to the popularity and effectiveness of Bikram Yoga, Choudhury has trained several high-profile clients, including celebrities such as Madonna, George Clooney, and Jennifer Aniston.

The Bikram Yoga Teacher Training program is rigorous.

To become a certified Bikram Yoga instructor, individuals must undergo a rigorous nine-week training program. This program includes intense physical practice, lectures, and exams.

Bikram Yoga is known for its therapeutic benefits.

Practitioners of Bikram Yoga often report various therapeutic benefits, including improved flexibility, increased strength, reduced stress, enhanced mental focus, and better overall well-being.

Bikram Choudhury has been involved in legal battles.

Bikram Choudhury has faced several legal issues over the years. From copyright disputes to allegations of sexual misconduct, his name has been associated with numerous legal battles.

The Bikram Yoga series is performed in a specific order.

Each Bikram Yoga class follows a specific sequence of poses. This precise order is designed to target different muscle groups and maximize the benefits of the practice.

Bikram Choudhury claims that Bikram Yoga can heal injuries.

Choudhury has often stated that Bikram Yoga has the power to heal various physical ailments and injuries. However, it is important to note that individual results may vary.

Bikram Choudhury has written books on yoga.

Besides his instructional videos, Choudhury has authored books on Bikram Yoga, including “Bikram Yoga: The Guru Behind Hot Yoga Shows the Way to Radiant Health and Personal Fulfillment.”

Bikram Choudhury’s teaching style is known for its discipline.

Choudhury’s teaching style is often characterized as strict and disciplined. His classes follow a specific set of guidelines to ensure the integrity and authenticity of the practice.

Bikram Yoga has studios all around the world.

The popularity of Bikram Yoga has led to the establishment of studios worldwide. Practitioners can find Bikram Yoga classes in major cities across the globe.

Bikram Choudhury declared bankruptcy in 2017.

Following the numerous legal battles and financial challenges, Choudhury filed for bankruptcy in This marked a significant turn in his personal and professional life.

Bikram Yoga is suitable for individuals of all fitness levels.

While Bikram Yoga can be physically demanding, practitioners can modify the poses to suit their fitness levels and avoid overexertion. It is essential to listen to your body and practice safely.

Bikram Choudhury has trained many certified instructors.

Throughout his career, Choudhury has trained and certified numerous instructors in the art of Bikram Yoga. These instructors go on to teach classes and spread the benefits of the practice.

Bikram Choudhury started practicing yoga at the age of four.

Bikram Choudhury’s journey with yoga began at a young age. He started practicing and learning the techniques of yoga from his guru at the tender age of four.

Bikram Yoga is often referred to as “hot yoga.”

Due to the heated environment in which the practice takes place, Bikram Yoga is commonly known as “hot yoga.” This heat helps to loosen the muscles and increase flexibility.

Bikram Choudhury’s wealth has significantly declined over the years.

Once considered a wealthy and influential figure in the yoga world, Choudhury’s financial status has suffered due to legal proceedings and the decline in popularity of Bikram Yoga.

Bikram Choudhury’s influence on the yoga community remains controversial.

While Bikram Yoga has influenced and inspired many individuals, Choudhury himself has become a controversial figure due to the legal troubles and allegations surrounding him.


In conclusion, Bikram Choudhury is a fascinating figure in the world of yoga and fitness. As the creator of Bikram Yoga, he gained immense popularity and has left a lasting impact on the industry. Despite controversies surrounding him, the practice he developed continues to be practiced by millions of people worldwide.

Through his unique teaching style and determination, Bikram Choudhury has revolutionized the way people approach yoga and fitness. His larger-than-life personality and unconventional methods have garnered attention and made him a prominent figure in the celebrity yoga world.

As with any controversial figure, it is important to separate Bikram Choudhury’s contributions to the yoga community from his personal controversies. Regardless of personal beliefs, there is no denying the impact he has made on the world of yoga.


Q: What is Bikram Yoga?

A: Bikram Yoga is a style of yoga developed by Bikram Choudhury that consists of a series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises. It is practiced in a heated room to enhance flexibility and encourage detoxification of the body.

Q: How did Bikram Choudhury become famous?

A: Bikram Choudhury gained fame through his creation of Bikram Yoga and his charismatic personality. He attracted attention with his controversial teaching methods and claims of the healing benefits of his practice.

Q: What controversies surround Bikram Choudhury?

A: Bikram Choudhury faced numerous controversies, including allegations of sexual misconduct and lawsuits. These controversies have led to a tarnished reputation and legal battles that have impacted his career.

Q: Is Bikram Yoga still popular?

A: Despite the controversies surrounding Bikram Choudhury, Bikram Yoga remains popular worldwide. Many practitioners are drawn to the physical and mental benefits of the practice, while separating it from the personal actions of its creator.

Q: Are there other styles of hot yoga apart from Bikram Yoga?

A: Yes, there are several other styles of hot yoga, such as Power Yoga, Inferno Hot Pilates, and Hot Vinyasa. These styles incorporate the heat element but may have different postures and sequences compared to Bikram Yoga.

Bikram Choudhury's controversial journey in yoga has been a rollercoaster ride. While his story raises important questions about power dynamics and misconduct, other fascinating tales await your discovery. Delve into the gripping legal battles depicted in "North Country," which shed light on workplace sexual harassment. Explore the captivating facts surrounding Jeffrey Toobin's legal controversies. Lastly, uncover the intriguing world of personal trainers and their impact on the fitness industry. Each narrative offers unique insights that will keep you engaged and informed.

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