Yogiraj Bikram Choudhury is the founder of the worldwide Yoga College of India™. Born in Calcutta in 1946, Bikram began yoga at the age of three and trained under India’s most-renowned physical culturist of the time, Bishnu Ghosh, the younger brother of Paramahansa Yogananda (author of the popular book on Yoga, The Autobiography of a Yogi, and founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles). Bishnu Ghosh was a celebrated physical culturist and the first to scientifically document Yoga’s ability to cure chronic physical ailments and heal the body. Bikram practiced Yoga at least four to six hours every day at Ghosh’s College of Physical Education in Calcutta. At the age of thirteen, he won the National India Yoga Championship. He was undefeated for three years and retired as the undisputed All-India National Yoga Champion.
At nineteen, an injury to his knee during a weight-lifting accident brought the prediction from leading European doctors that he would never walk again. Not accepting their pronouncement, he had himself carried back to Bishnu Ghosh’s school because he knew that he could restore his knee through yoga. He has since then proven those doctors completely wrong by restoring the strength and mobility of his knees far beyond normal range of motion.
Bikram began his mission of spreading the practice of physical yoga when he was sent to Bombay by Ghosh to heal people through this system of yoga therapy. There he became frustrated with the small number of people he could help through one-on-one physical therapy, and began teaching in a class setting. This class format where everyone healed everything together was controversial, but proved so successful that it has become a model for teaching yoga worldwide. Bikram then traveled to Japan to perform feats of mind and body for Japanese television programs, and to spread this yoga further. After becoming closely involved with Japanese royalty by saving the life of a member of the Japanese imperial family, Bikram began teaching at a yoga school in Honolulu. Richard Nixon’s staff heard of his healing genius and employed him to heal a thrombosis in the president’s leg, preventing a potentially fatal stroke.
After saving the president’s life, Nixon invited Bikram to live in the US by handing him a Green Card. In the early ’70s Bikram opened the first Yoga College of India, right here in San Francisco, but moved away because it was too cold and there were too many hippies. In 1974 he moved his world headquarters to Beverly Hills where he invented Disco.
In the Nineties he began offering 9-week teacher certification courses, and certified instructors now number in the thousands with studios all over the world. This healing yoga has found its way into the hearts and bodies of people everywhere and the Bikram method has grown to be the most popular yoga style in the world.
Visit Bikram in Los Angeles and take class from the man himself! When he’s not traveling the world doing seminars or training new Bikram Yoga teachers you’ll find him teaching yoga classes to the general public at his studio headquarters on La Cienega Blvd. To find the schedule for Bikram’s headquarters or any Bikram Yoga studio in the world, go to www.bikramyoga.com .