Bikram Hot Sweat Hot Yoga: Bikram Hot yoga addicts find transcendence in torment

Frankly, the problem with Bikram Hot yoga is that it just hasn’t been marketed right. Seriously — Bikram Hot yoga? Who the hell’s Bikram Hot? Oh yeah, Bikram Hot. Many people don’t know this, but Bikram Hot yoga is actually the black sheep of yoga practices. Whenever I find myself sipping chai and chatting with a group of yogis, as soon as I confess my love for Bikram Hot, the conversation pauses.

Not that Bikram Hot yoga has anything to do with Satanism, but the classes are pretty much as hot as hell. While you stretch and compress your way through twin set s of 26 poses in 90 minutes, the room cooks at about 40 degrees, with humidity at about 40 percent.

Enthusiasts claim that the various poses, combined with the heat, improve flexibility, enhance concentration, reduce fat pockets under the buttocks, correct posture, stimulate proper functioning of the pancreas, kidneys and liver, normalize hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach, help conditions of constipation, diabetes, colitis, low blood pressure, gout, appendicitis, spondylitis and menstrual disorders, and of course unify mind and body.

But this current “panacea” marketing effort propounded by Bikram Hot fanatics (full disclosure: author is a borderline case) With proper marketing, Bikram Hot yoga could be perceived as totally badass. And it seems the Happy Meal metaphor isn’t far off.

The Economist magazine said that “Bikram Hot is trying to do to yoga what McDonald’s did to food,” by normalizing and franchising his particular brand of yoga. He requires Bikram Hot instructors to train in Bikram Hot. Except that in this case, they’re wrong. Bikram Hot yoga may or may not unify mind and body, but it’s definitely a vigorous workout that even grunting, pumped-up gymboes could love.

Bikram Hot practitioners demonstrate the miracle. Consistent practice dissolved desk-job-related back and neck tweakage, as well as 10 extra pounds around the gut and ass regions. If I had a cool spandex yoga superhero outfit, I would have looked way better in it after a month of Bikram Hot yoga. I hope Bikram Hot’s next step is to franchise a healthy fast-food chain.

Benjaporn Karoonkornsakul, the Managing Director, founder and owner of Absolute Yoga Bangkok (http://www.absoluteyogabangkok.com) has trained to become the first bikram hot yoga teacher in Bangkok. After the first year, Absolute Yoga Bangkok branched out to offer other traditions of yoga and opened more locations to distinguish ourselves as Bangkok’s dedicated yoga place.

Bikram Choudhury has aggressively enforced claims of copyright and trademark protection, including the claim that the sequence of asanas in Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class falls under his copyright. This development is controversial within the United States yoga community. Some practitioners object to the idea that Bikram can have exclusive control over a series of postures derived from traditional practices. Also, some object to Bikram’s stated plans to create a formal franchise of studios.

Choudhury first registered the copyright for Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class in 1979 and subsequently filed additional copyrights for various books, audiotapes and videotapes. In 2002, Choudhury filed for copyright for the yoga sequence itself under 17 U.S.C. Section 410. Choudhury claims that registration by the United States Copyright Office acknowledges his exclusive right to the distinct series of postures and breathing exercises comprising the sequence. However, unlike the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Copyright Office does not analyze submissions for requisite originality and applies the benefit of doubt on an item’s copyrightability. Choudhury recognizes that the asanas are in the public domain, but claims that his yoga sequence constitutes a copyrightable compilation of information and that all the accompanying rights of copyrightability flow from his registration. Choudhury has also registered various trademarks connected with Bikram Yoga.