I’d have cranked the heat… but it is Canada, after all!
In our neck o’ the woods we’ve seen celebrities of all stripes, most notably the whole Twi-hard phenomenon as they make their homes locally (roughly) to film the monster vampire franchise.
Anywho… a celebrity nearly as big, at least in his own mind, and certainly more interesting, recently graced our northern shores. With mouth, cocked and loaded, attitude and cash in abundance, the ‘bad boy’ founder of Bikram, Bikram Choudhury, did Vancouver.
“It takes six hours,” the Los Angeles-based yoga mogul said, before laughing: “And I buy all the junk. I love it, you know?”
Here to conduct a lecture as well as judge the Western Canadian Hatha Yoga Championships- who knew?!- Master Bikram, whose efforts and commitment have manifested in a veritable empire founded on heat, sweat and just plain balls(!), boasts more than 350 affiliated studios around the world and the devotion of millions. Without doubt, were it available to me and given my penchant for celebrity yogis, I’d probably be sitting sweaty and happy on the Bikram train as well.
The roots of Bikram’s methodology lie in a childhood devoted to hours of practice, where he became more and more aware of the positive effects of heat on his body and it’s response to yoga.
“When room is more hot, then I can sweat more, I can stretch more, I can push more, I can go more deeper and deeper and inside the body, it hurts less and you never get injury,” he said, recalling early days in India when he’d shut doors to keep in the heat.
“So I developed this with my own practice,” he said. “Years and years and years and years.”
Guru to any number of celebrities, Shirley McLain chief among them… oh, and Tiger Woods as well, along with the likes of Madonna, Elle Macpherson and the lovely George Clooney. Despite his roster of notable clientele, when it comes to giving them the celebrity treatment, Bikram states emphatically,
“This is the way I run my kingdom: my way or the highway,” he said in a tone that leaves little room for dispute. “I don’t listen to anybody. You need my help: Come to me, shut up, forget who you are. I will take care of you. And I do my job.”
For anyone perhaps considering taking Bikram to a more competetive level, take a peek… Here’s Mari Dickey, number one woman at the competition. A little inspiration: