Bikram Choudhury is the founder of Bikram Yoga and of the worldwide Yoga College of India. He was born in 1946 in the city of Calcutta India (now Kolkata). He was introduced to yoga at the the early age of four. Bikram underwent yoga training under Bishnu Ghosh, one of the most popular physical culturists of that time, at his ‘College of Physical Education’. Ghosh was one of the first modern yoga gurus to scientifically document yoga’s ability to cure chronic physical ailments and heal the body from the inside out. His College of Physical Education in Calcutta had six thousand students in attendance. Bishnu Ghosh is the younger brother of Paramahansa Yogananda (Author of ‘The Autobiography of a Yogi’ and founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles).
Bikram won the National India Yoga Contest at the age of thirteen, the youngest contestant ever to do so. He remained undefeated for three years, developed an interest in weight-lifting as his body matured, and eventually became an Olympic-caliber weight-lifter. At seventeen, an accident during a weight-lifting session seriously injured his knee. His prognosis was dire. According to several leading European physicians, he would never walk normally again. Six months later Bishnu Ghosh had the young man back on his feet, his knee in good working condition again.
Recognizing Bikram’s enthusiasm for the yoga, and magnetic ability to engage students, Bishnu Ghosh asked Bikram to start several yoga schools in Bombay and other parts of India. His schools were very successful, and so Ghosh sent Bikram to Japan to open more schools there. At Tokyo University Hospital Bikram began to combine western medical science with traditional eastern doctrine. He designed a comprehensive series of twenty-six postures or asanas based on the ancient Hatha Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The postures create a 90-minute routine which is to be practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees. It is this last requirement that most distinguishes Bikram Yoga from most other forms and it is truly the “original hot yoga”.
In 1974, Bikram founded the Yoga College of India in California. His earliest students were celebrities, most famously Raquel Welch, Quincy Jones, Shirley Maclaine and Michael Jackson.
Bikram’s Beginning Yoga studios now exist all over the world. He promotes his therapeutic techniques of Yoga therapy around the world with his fiery and spirited style. He is married and has two children. His wife, Rajashree Choudhury is a well known yoga therapist and teacher. Both Bikram and Rajashree are active in the development of yoga, giving seminars and teaching yoga and the philosophy of yoga around the world.