Since the recent NYTimes article about Bikram Choudhury, my friends keep asking me, “Isn’t that the yoga that you do? Are you going to stop now because of what he did?” A fair question, so I have given it some thought. And what I have decided is to not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
People are innocent until proven guilty, however, there is so much smoke in this situation that there is likely to be fire; meaning Bikram, the man, probably did some pretty bad stuff. And I think that is disgusting and vile. But is this a reason to stop practicing the yoga that I love, the yoga that has changed my life for the better? It is a tough question.
Others may disagree, but what I have decided to do is to separate the man from his magic. I did check with my studio to make sure that Bikram does not receive any revenue through royalties, or what have you, so I feel ok there. But even if he did, I’m not sure that would stop me from going to class. I have never felt healthier or calmer or stronger in my life, and that is worth a lot. In fact, my most recent physical at the doctor proved the case – higher bone density, off the chart good cholesterol levels and all other blood work normal. It would be foolish to give that up.
If Bikram Choudhury did these horrible things, I hope he is severely punished and goes to jail. There is no excuse for his behavior, particularly given his role as a teacher. But I hope the Bikram Yoga series lives on forever.
Fellow yogis, is it ok to hate the man, but love his yoga?