You would think that Yoga would be a topic free of controversy and buzz, but that is not the case when it comes to Bikram Yoga. The man behind this popular Yoga method is known to be a controversial figure that just can’t seem to stay out of the headlines. The copyrights behind the Bikram Yoga poses are what breed most of the controversy surrounding this Yoga method.
26 Copyrighted Poses
Bikram Choudhury is the founder of Bikram Yoga and he made this possible by copyrighting the 26 different Bikram Yoga positions. This means that performing or teaching Bikram Yoga requires you to abide by outlined restrictions. When Bikram Choudhury first founded Bikram Yoga he sought out to create the McDonald’s of Yoga. This means that he wants every person to have the same experience at every Bikram Yoga studio. There are no exceptions and many of his stipulations have garnered a lot of controversy and attention.
Much of the controversy surrounding Bikram Yoga is associated with the instructor fees. All studio classes teaching Bikram Yoga must be overseen by a certified Bikram Yoga teacher. However, becoming an instructor is not cheap and costs around $5,000.00. This means that owning a studio and becoming a certified instructor is not a cheap proposition. You have to pay an additional franchise fee before you can even open your doors to the public.
Many people against Bikram Yoga copyrighted methods state that yoga practices have been around of more than 5,000 years. This means that proponents of Bikram Yoga feel that Bikram Choudhury has no real basis to copyright the 26 positions that are connected to Bikram Yoga. Many people feel that these positions were not developed by Choudhury and he is simply making money off of yoga practices that have been around for centuries.
Not only is Bikram Yoga known to have notoriously strict regulations including class length, room temperature, studio outlay and in class dialogue, but Choudhury is also a very controversial figure. Choudhury has been accused by numerous female instructors of allegedly using his hot Bikram Yoga studios to solicit sex from female yoga instructors. When they refuse his efforts, a female instructor alleges that Choudhury will resort to force in order to obtain the sexual favors that he desires. Yoga might be a form of meditation, but Bikram Yoga is anything but quiet.