Looking like a human being only counts for five percent of actually being one, Bikram Choudhury, the founder of the Bikram Yoga series, told his audience last month at Bellevue College. To be human, we must have compassion for others and respect for ourselves, Choudhury emphasized in his three-hour lecture on humanity and his yoga series. Choudhury copyrighted a series of 26 yoga postures that are thousands of years old along with two breathing exercises.
He said his method of Hatha Yoga has healed people of illnesses and saved people’s lives worldwide. “Yoga helps you levitate yourself,” Chouhury said. “We create walls between ourselves and the world. The yogi philosophy teaches you to break down those walls to reach self-realization — the ultimate destination in life.”
Choudhury was greeted with a standing ovation as he walked across the college’s gym dressed in a black suit. Yoga is much deeper than 26 postures, he said. He said yoga means marriage or union, but to only define it as that is not enough. Yoga can also mean the connection between the mind, body and soul. “Everything is yoga,” he said.
Like cars, people need to restore their bodies, Choudhury said. People abuse their bodies with the daily stresses of life, he said. Choudhury’s yoga series helps the body flush itself of those toxins, he said. No one is too old to try yoga, and it is never too late, he said.
Among celebrities, Chouhury said he has healed Quincy Jones, Kobe Bryant and Shirley MacClaine. President Richard Nixon offered Chouhury a United States citizenship after he treated his leg and saved it from amputation, he said.
Chouhury insisted his “Torture Chamber,” which is a hot yoga room, is both his temple and his hospital. He said the healing effects of yoga cleanse his spirit and improve his health. The most important thing in life is for a person to learn to like, love and take care of themselves, he said.
He gave the audience an anecdote of a man who never married because he was in search of the perfect woman. By the time the man was 90 years old, his friend asked him if he had found the woman he wanted to marry, to which he replied that he had, but he was not the perfect man for her. Choudhury said the point of the story was that a person must want to become a better person themselves, and everything else will fall into place.
Choudhury said people should not blame others, and instead should learn to control how they themselves react to and handle certain situations. “There’s no excuse why you can’t live your life with humanity,” he said. “There’s no excuse for why you can’t have a good life.”
The way people live their lives is affected by their personal outlook on life, he said. It is easier to pay attention to the negative aspects in life, but it is up to the individual how to deal with it, he said. “You can do anything in life, if you know how to control your mind,” he said. “Mind is everything.”
He ended the night by taking photographs and signing his books. Choudhury said his franchise is so popular, he lost track of how many studios are opening across the world.