Former Associate editor Margret Aldrich on the hunt for happiness, community, and how humans thrive
A man, naked except for a tiny black Speedo, is shouting at his followers: “You, Miss Teeny-Weeny Bikini! Spread your legs! You, Mr. Masturbation! Until I say ‘Change,’ you do not move a muscle!”
This is Bikram Choudhury, 64-year-old founder of Bikram Yoga, an intense, heated version of the ancient practice. Choudhury is in high demand in the United States, leading rigorous, 105-degree classes packed wall-to-wall with sweaty women and men hoping to become certified Bikram instructors, reports Clancy Martin in Details.
Choudhury claims to have crafted a perfect workout, healed professional athletes and celebrities, and enlivened the sex lives of countless disciples (“For good sex you want eagle pose! With this one you are fucking until you are 90!”). He has also managed to rake in $5 million a year since legally patenting his sequence of 26 yoga postures and two breathing exercises. But is there any spiritual component in Choudhury’s program? Martin writes:
Even Choudhury himself doesn’t claim to take Americans on a sacred journey, Martin finds: