Sunday, August 3, 2008

Bikram: Yoga Is "Brainwashing" (Hold Still For It)

This is no place for independent thinkers.

"The whole class is one big brainwashing session—washing out bad habits and old patterns that keep you from experiencing mental peace, happiness and a satisfaction in living," [Bikram] Choudhury wrote in his latest book, "Bikram Yoga" (Collins, $24.95).

Choices, are, after all, what get us in trouble, Choudhury often says. When people have choices, they get spoiled or take the wrong road. When you have no choice—like when your Bikram instructor tells you to do something—the only way is obviously the right way.

"America's biggest problem is too much freedom,” he said, said during a brief stop last week at one of his franchised studios in Chicago, Bikram Yoga in the City. “It’s like putting a loaded gun in a child’s hand. Yoga only works one way."

-- Julie Deardorff, being told - to her face - a broad outline of yoga as a very-un-American mind control cult ("When you have no choice"?) and ignoring it because of the positive "spin" he surrounds it with, for the Chicago Tribune.


  1. This is interesting thanks for the post. I think that anything can be brainwashing if you cling to superstition. But when you are a free thinker you are not going to be influenced because you know your own truth and all that silly comments will do is test you. I personally like BIkram yoga because of the consistency (every class the same) exposes my habits. I feel strongly that my own liberation is intertwined with overcoming limited beliefs of the self. That means untying the knots that I've held for years (in my body) about who I am and what I am capable of. Unfortunately it is easy (for me) to squirm away from what I might need to be seeing about myself. Having a system that exposes everything and is confrontational has proved to be beneficial. It is not the only way, but it is one way and it works. Bikram yoga is a tool, it can take you to a certain point. There's no doubt it's good for your body. What I like is that no one is asking you to convert to hinduism or believe in anything but yourself in a moment. Bikram is there to show you where your buttons are. He is doing his karma yoga- spreading yoga to the mainstream and to the world. He has done very well and will continue to even if his business decisions are limiting. He has already created the ripple effect. People know that there is potency in asana. I personally think that he would be DANGEROUS if people liked his personality. It's good that you're not going to agree with everything thing he says. That's having discernment!

  2. Jesus, Maggie, you are such a tool. Nobody asks anyone, "Do you want to join a cult?" People like you just talk yourselves in circles to avoid admitting the truth - and even after spitting all these words, you admit it yourself:

    "Unfortunately it is easy (for me) to squirm away from what I might need to be seeing about myself."

    It's just talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, all to avoid admitting the truth:

    You've lost your mind, any sense of your own identity, and any sense of what it means to be an individual. I suggest you read this blog - all of it - and be sure to click the links and everything. You may not like it's tone sometimes, but you are a prime example of why it's this way. What they've done to you, made you into someone who can say all that and, still, expose your inability to express a real thought or hide your subjugation to it, pisses me off. But, as you said, being "confrontational" can "be beneficial." The question is, about what?

    You're not free. Not in any way. I knew you were going to endorse this nonsense from the first word. You say, "What I like is that no one is asking you to convert to hinduism or believe in anything but yourself in a moment." They don't have to, Maggie, because you've already served yourself up on a silver platter. You speak their language ("asana") and probably eat what they tell you. You spread their faith and do what they tell you to do. You're (for lack of a better phrase) their "useful idiot".

    Like I said, you should read this blog, and start with the posts on Yoga, and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The rest are on all aspects of cultism and how they warp the thinking process. You need to stop this, for your own sake.

    You're a robot.

  3. yo crack emcee - stop brainwashing me with your links and maharishi commentary. let me think for myself you wannabe cult leader

  4. TGD,

    Ha! Who are you trying to fool? You've never thought for yourself a day in your life! You were born to be told what to do!

    Now follow like a good puppy and shut-the-fuck-up.

  5. To be a yogi, you must be a free thinker. The only Yogi's that every created true harmonium with themselves and others were free thinkers. It takes honest investigation with yourself into your own shit, and it must be done diligently. Ken Wilbur calls it Shadow work. Making efforts to bring up your own shit so that you can understand what its causes were, investigating it deeper, giving you ammunition and mental training the next time it arises. This gives you the opportunity to not have the same shit come up again. Leading a pathway to more freedom. Yoga opens up your body and creates a freedom where that exploration into yourself and who you think the individual is is the purpose of yoga. Besides which this posting sucked ass, was limited, and was certainly not thoroughly delivered by a "free thinker". You should of spent more time free thinking independently about your motivation so that your posting matched up with your goal.

    Anything that is done habitually with a group of people could be called a cult. In fact blogging is a cult. Your religion is your daily behavior. If your angry all the time always trying to show how you know more than other people than your religion is Arrogance, Anger, and Self absorption.

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  7. There's nothing spiritual about bikram's yoga -- there's no chanting, it's exercise, it's tortuous (42C for 90 minutes) and the instructors are like drill sergeants... but it's not a lot different than most fitness bootcamps... the 'message' is, stick to it, finish (the class, without walking out if you can), try to breathe through the panic, lie down if you need to. There are cultish aspects to his training of his (paid) instructors -- keepig them up late, making them do 2 classes a day (1 saturday, none sunday_ for two months and the intent, he says, is to convince instructors thatthey can do anything even when they want to quit. but there's no real philosophy. it's a (lucrative) business.

  8. As a bikram widower, and a psychologist, I can tell you it has many, many aspects of a cult. The training process (at about $25-30K for 9 weeks) is designed to remove and isolate you from your family and relationships, keep you malnourished and exhausted, exposed to no alternative world views or concepts and inculcate a slavish adherence to the doctrine of "the dialog". It was reported to me that the dialog was dashed of by the "guru" and he himself does not stick to it. All of this is wrapped up in pseudoscience with rented "experts" joining the training to add a veneer of scientific legitimacy. At one level I have no issue with the man himself, he has found a way to relieve lots of bored middle class people with too much time on their hands of significant amounts of money each month, the real problem is the mindset that emerges of the indoctrinated that is is a cure for all ills, spiritual and physical. All this without a real communication of the true spiritual place of yoga within the original philosophical context. As with anything those who have mental resilience and the ability to implement critical thinking will take from it the few benefits it really offers. Those with any latent psychological issues run the risk of repressing them with the fake belief they are learning something about themselves and developing their psyche.

  9. Anonymous,

    I've made a post from your comment here.

    And, I don't mean to pry, but "a bikram widower"?